My country

I was first drawn to the rock as a 20 year old man. I some how knew that I would always go there. That I would go to the highest point of it. That I would lie face down on it and feel the heartbeat of my mother, my country, my people. It was the most significant spiritual moment of my life.

I am returning now, 20 years later with my family so that they may have the same experience.

I despise the arrogance and racism of the aboriginal argument that they somehow have a better capacity to love this land because of their Aboriginality.

It is not possible to love this land and its people any more than I do - only as much. To any one who does, I embrace you as my brother. We are on the same team.

I am of English, Irish, German, Aboriginal heritage - a pure Oz snapshot of evolution how it actually is.
The rock and freedom to walk this land on my own spritual journey is my birthright because I am Australian not because I am part Aboriginal.

Comments for My country

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National parks belong to the nation
by: Berroff

Well done Mark!

I totally agree with you - national parks belong to all of us and shall not be ruled by over-bureaucratic, neo-racist or prehistoric ideas.
For more see "Uluru - frequently unanswered questions"

Wise up young man
by: gagil mari

How disappointing that you felt your personal spiritual experience is more important than 1300 years of ancestral LORE.

Wise up young man you don't understand your culture one bit. When you truly grow to be a man you will understand the serious consequences of your youthful ignorance. When you laid on the so called highest point the sound you heard was not your ancestors, you don't belong. Until you truly feel and listen to your culture only then will you be accepted by your ancestors.

I was saddened for you, I truly hope you go back home and talk to your people about your culture to find some way of understanding who you really are.

RESPECT is what you do not have RESPECT simple really isn't it.

Thank you
by: Berroff

Dear Gagil

Thank you for your compliments? I'm so bitterly disappointed that nobody else calls me "young man" ever since I turned 30 about quarter of a century ago... I do apologize for my "youthful ignorance" and my failure to understand "my" (your?) culture.

I assume that aboriginal culture is just a tiny part of the world culture and think that I've studied it much more than many others (including many indigenous people). During the past decades I read hundreds of books and visited many museums, places, countries, national parks, etc., but have to admit that I still have just over a billion left (... hope that I'll live long enough to see them all).

Since I'm of non-indigenous background I've never had a chance to see real aboriginal culture? Racial segregation is a sad fact of our bitterly divided country. If aboriginal culture is so great why are we ashamed to show it (not in the museum but in reality)? Why all settlements are prohibited territory for most of us? Why aboriginal culture never left the stone age? Why?

I do have respect for all cultures and seriously believe in multiculturalism. The only thing I can't agree with is mono-culturalism & chauvinism. Isn't it time to open our doors and become one nation?

To leave the spirits of our ancestors alone and look together towards a brighter future?

Is Knowledge found in books?
by: Gagil Maru

Interesting interpretation of my comments. I would have expected a far more intellectually stimulating response from one so cultured and well read.

For the record "young man" was my reference to comments by Mark Freir not you. It would be quite easy to tear strips off your lazy response to my comments. But you would still not understand what it is that I have to say.

Grab a copy of the documentary DVD "Kanyini" by Uncle Bob Randall and watch it. Then maybe come back here and we can start. At the moment you really are not that interesting to talk too.I expected more from one so traveled.

'Oh, Great Spirit, keep me from ever judging a man (culture) until I've walked a mile in his shoes.'- Sioux Indian prayer

Why chase a billion when only one could make you understand.

Walking another mile
by: Berroff

Dear Gagil

Thank you for your compliments. I apologize for being so dumb, lazy and unable to understand (/find) your #1 in a billion knowledge source. According to Google the site has been taken down. My local library also didn't have a clue... If you have it I'd like to borrow it (I'll pay all P&H) and walk another mile in your shoes?. As far as I know native North American Indians really had shoes (moccasins) but I'm not sure what is the local indigenous shoe alternative I have to wear?


My Country II
by: Mark


Do you not see that your response in fact confirms the very points made in the article you seek to criticize. Your response is both arrogant and racist.

You assume I am a young man. By implication that means you consider yourself an older man and therefore my opinion of lesser importance. Yet, you have no idea how old, wise or educated I am. That is both presumptuous and arrogant.

You believe that you are able to tell me what I did or didn't feel when I lay on the rock. You think you are in a better position than me to know what was in my heart. The reason you think you are better qualified to know me (than me) is because of your aboriginality. Again, that is both arrogance and racist, which is the very point of the article you criticize.

The article was not just about my own spiritual journey. Only the narrowest mind could have misconstrued my words this way. It is about everyone's right to a spiritual journey. Try having a look at the thousands of other Australians all perched around the perimeter of the Rock at any given time. It is the heart of their country too.

Who are you to decide whether I or anyone else "belongs" or not? That is the very definition of racist based arrogance.

You say I don't understand my culture. Again, how can you possibly know anything about me or my understanding of my culture? We have never even met. Yet, you clearly think you have a greater claim to cultural understanding because of your aboriginality. Mine, at best, can only be a somehow more diluted form of capacity to understand culture because my aboriginality has been diluted by the culturally and spiritually ignorant ancestry of the Celts, the Gauls, the Anglo-Saxons, the Romans, the Greeks and the Prussians. I celebrate all of my ancestors - not just the ones that suit me.

You say you feel sorry for me. I doubt you are able to feel anything but the bitterness you carry around in your belly to counter-balance that chip on your shoulder. The "us & them" of continued division is what you stand for. I wouldn't presume to know these things, but that's my guess.

The future is in front of us. The best way forward is together. All of the land belongs to all of the people who love it. All of the people who love it belong to all of the land. This is fundamental lore.

So Gagil, which of us really needs to "wise up"?


Planet Earth is for everyone
by: Hamish

This is why I so often like earth and wildlife far more than I do some people. I consider myself an aborigine of planet earth, and I humbly and reponsibly assume the freedom to explore and enjoy all physical aspects of it.

The spirituality of my experiences is personal to me and I neither consider those interpretations superior, nor exclusionary. Sometimes a bird comes squaking at me for invading what it thinks of as its territory, and I have to chuckle at its temerity. Of course I know it is wrong in its assumptions, and although I have been here on earth a lot longer than it has, I do not assume that it's more mine than the birds, and I carry on exploring.

It's unfortunate that some people want to exclude everyone outside their small group - it's not very friendly, and in a crowded wordl it's not very reasonable.

I believe everyone should enjoy access to all the physical earth, should view themselves as caretakers of it, and be free to have ther own cultural beliefs about ancient geology, but not to exclude or patronise the rest of humanity because of them.

Redneck alert
by: Anonymous

What a redneck you seem to be Mark.....

by: Anonymous

I just stumbled on this discussion while researching a trip to Australia. I'm frustrated to see some of the same specious logic among Australians I see amongst fellow white Americans.

No, it is not unreasonable to exclude someone from a holy site. If I'm thirsty when I walk into a Catholic cathedral, is it okay for me to drink the holy water? No, that would be offensive. Just because you feel spiritual and want to climb Uluru doesn't mean you have a god given right.

Also: I'm dismayed at the accusations all over this website of reverse racism.

Prejudice is "an irrational feeling of dislike for a person or group of persons, usually based on stereotype." It's certainly possible that some of "those" park rangers feel prejudice toward white tourists.

But racism is a system of disadvantage based on race. If a grouchy park ranger yells at you, you might feel hurt or annoyed that you can't trample wherever you want to, but you are not being systematically deprived of your rights and freedoms.

Jeez. The comments here are really something. I feel I've now got a pretty good idea of the types of entitled people I can expect to meet if I visit Ayers Rock. I might not go.

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