Healing History?

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the Sydney City Council voting to change official wording in order to acknowledge that Europeans didn’t “settle” in Australia – they invaded an occupied land. It bothers me that so much of the Western world is still richer than the rest because of similar acts that took place (and in some cases are still taking place – eg the steep interest on third world debt) around the world.

Which begs two questions: Are we eventually going to pay for what our ancestors did? And – is there any way we can avoid paying that price?

I think that history tends to even itself out, and no-one stays on top forever. As someone who is definitely living at the sharp end of the wealth pyramid (not me personally but certainly my lifestyle, city and country), this is a worry.

I think it’s often justice that arises to topple the unfairly rich – so I have a theory that if the rich turn around and start actively seeking real justice themselves then maybe they won’t get brought down after all.

It starts with honesty – which can cost a great deal. When I heard (several years ago now) that the Timor Timur government was offering amnesty for the crimes committed during twenty-five years of violence, I was so impressed I wrote a story about it, which is available on a podcast here. It is M-rated, and thus goes under the name Felicity Bloomfield. (I visited Timor Timur briefly when it was under transitional UN administration.)

I also admire Germany for hating Nazism more than any other place on Earth. And I admire Japan for not hating the West for dropping two nuclear bombs.

After honesty comes active compassion and the restoration of justice. But that’s the point where my imagination shorts out.

Do you think the West is doomed to fall? If so, do you think it can be saved?

Published by Felicity Banks

I write books (mainly adventure fantasy for kids and young adults), real-time twittertales, and a blog of Daily Awesomeness. @Louise_Curtis_ and http://twittertales.wordpress.com. My fantasy ebook is on sale at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/278981.

4 thoughts on “Healing History?

  1. The other difficult questions are:

    How do you ‘pay’? – You can’t return what was taken, you can’t fix broken cultures, and you can’t place a real monetary value on their worth.

    How do you redistribute the resources? How do you provide recompense in a way that doesn’t facilitate the problems that native communities and cultures are already experiencing (alcohol and drug abuse, violence, health problems etc)? I don’t think that there are many people who would disagree that the plight of native communities and cultures around the world needs to be addressed, and individuals and groups around the globe try and redress in many different ways. But very few of them seem to be working very well.

    Observation suggests that where native communities actively engage at a local level with groups trying to address the issues, great strides are made. Broad policy initiatives and indiscriminate cash handouts just don’t work. Sadly the ‘think local’ approach doesn’t play well in the political sphere, and detractors are quick to point out its failures, but the real point is – it has successes. I can’t remember ever hearing about real, long term success from the global/national approach.

  2. I think Ann has the basic thing there – local solutions with local people at an individual level. It seems very likely that there will always be people who resent us for invading (not too surprising), and there will always be people who think that we did the right thing and that we should go back to the old ways. However, lots of people as individuals working with those around them will eventually make a difference, even though it won’t be politically useful (and therefore not supported).

    1. W: Some things do need to be done at a national or international level, such as taking responsibility for refugees, and not charging massive interest on third world debt.

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