Aboriginal
Reconciliation
   
PRIEST SAYS TALK-BACK GURUS DON'T UNDERSTAND 'POETRY' OF ABORIGINAL DESPAIR
A veteran pastor to Sydney's aboriginal community has spoken out against community hostility which he believes has been artificially created by radio 'talkback gurus' not interested in understanding the continuing pain of aboriginal people.
   Defending the angry response of aboriginal leader Charles Perkins to the Federal Government's denial of the 'Stolen Generation' phenomenon, Fr Frank Fletcher MSC said: "There's been a lot of dumping upon Charles Perkins as over-reacting to the Government's demeaning of the Stolen Generations. It has been sport for the talk-back gurus who cannot recognise violent images as the poetry of rage and despair."
   Fr Fletcher, a long-time chaplain to Sydney's aboriginal Catholic community, testified to hearing emotive expressions of the pain of aboriginal people, which he believes were not intended to be taken literally.
   Speaking of reactionary Euro-Australians, he said: "They have no empathy for where Charlie (and others) are coming from and why this violent poetry has been needed. It is not just his own memories of being taken away that exploded in Charlie, not just his personal knowledge of families traumatised by this policy. This man has spent much of his life carrying the pain and hope of his people through a succession of disappointments and betrayals."
   Fr Fletcher believes this most recent action of the Government has taken Perkins to the brink of despair.
   He said: "Will mainstream Australia ever understand what Kooris have suffered? This touched off a rage to cry out to whoever in the world would listen. If the true history of this time is ever written Charlie Perkins' 'poetry' will express a people's rage against their tragedy.'
   
Cath Comm (Syd)
7/4/00

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