The Shakespeare Hotel in Devonshire Street Surry Hills was the venue again. Simon H (who turned 50 a week ago!) was meant to join us, but was delayed; he did arrive in time for drinks.
Looking back I note the equivalent Sunday last year:
This very informative documentary was made for PBS in America and there is an equally informative website; Part 2 is on SBS next Sunday night.
Lord Malcolm recommended it to Sirdan and I as we pushed him in his wheelchair from the hospice to the fish restaurant, where we had an excellent lunch.
There will probably not be many more such excellent lunches.
That story continued until the beginning of June this year. Right now another friend is facing a rather ominous diagnosis, but I am not free to say more about that. And M has had a bad experience in South America; again I can’t go into it, but at least it was not life-threatening and isn’t a health issue. It may cut his trip short though.
Looking back too I note that last November was a difficult period in relations with Daniel’s blog, which has had its vicissitudes since. That is much better now, but he really does lead with his chin at times as this comment on Jim Belshaw’s post NSW – Problems in Child Welfare indicates:
…The main problem is human nature. Dealing with that at source requires either stronger laws with ever more severe punishments or genetic engineering. I see no other solution!
Um, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World? You had severe punishments and genetic engineering there. But wasn’t that a dystopia? Look, I can see where Daniel is coming from at an emotional level, as a vent, but such (frustrated?) suggestions don’t really offer much, do they? And before anyone jumps in and says Oh, don’t you care about kids suffering? obviously I do, and so, probably, do the people at DoCS — in fact, just about everyone cares. But as Jim says:
None of what I have written should be construed as a criticism of DoCS or its staff. Yes, there are specific DoCs weaknesses. Yes, mistakes happen. Yes, things can be improved.
But as we move into yet another inquiry into DoCs and its operations, I would make the simple point that the system itself is broken and that we, collectively, have broken it.
Can we fix things? Yes, within limits we can. Do I think that we will fix things? At the moment, no. I see very little evidence that we are prepared to discuss the fundamental under-pinnings, including our own attitudes. So, for the present, things will continue as they are.
That is probably right, and isn’t good news. On the other hand Jim does concede that improvement is certainly possible. Globally and historically, though, the suffering of innocent children is not news. In a way we are lucky that such problems, bad as they are, are nothing compared to what faces kids in Palestine, much of Africa, Iraq… One could go on. And that’s just now.
I might add my own sister died in horrible agony at the age of 11. Strangulation of the bowel, gangrene, and septicaemia are pretty bloody horrific, and it is amazing how much of this I remember. It wasn’t the fault of my parents; it was in large measure the fault of the then hospital system, who were very careful when I myself presented a year later with almost the same problem… The fact is my sister should be alive today because even allowing for the state of medicine in 1952 she died needlessly. I have known the sadness of kids dying. My parents never got over it, not really, and in some ways neither did my brother and I. And there were some, not many, but some, who pointed the finger at my parents at that time… But shit happens, doesn’t it?
And yesterday at church was an Aboriginal family — it is Redfern after all — who have had their issues, who are poor, who have “bred like rabbits”… But there was obviously a lot of love there, and decency despite the circumstances. I gather they came along because there had been hopeful events for them lately, some of them possibly connected to what the church has been doing.
People do what they can.
And M spent his childhood in China in a time of famine and then the Cultural Revolution…
And the woman you see in the background of the church photo in the previous entry spent her childhood and young womanhood in Iraq and Syria and Lebanon, and has seen a lot…
Interesting comments*, I thought. Thomas can have the last words; though his post is not directly related, the comments are.
Concerned about kids?
We all are: teachers, parents, citizens. Go to counselling support for children and parents. Don’t just fulminate via the keyboard. Go to The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. Find out what you might be able to do. I am happy to support the work of Uniting Care Australia, just one of many agencies seeking to make a difference: …providing community services to over 800,000 Australians each year. Services are provided in the areas of aged and community care, children, youth and family, disability, employment, and rural and remote communities. In addition to direct service delivery, UnitingCare agencies are committed to justice, equity and participation for all people. The UnitingCare ethos is one of honouring the dignity of all people, working toward the social good, and advocating for those most disadvantaged in society.