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My Journey

In: Historical Events

Submitted By linaalzabin
Words 1026
Pages 5
On February 7, 1967 my journey started on the freedom ride. The events which took place in the past week were the worst experiences of my life. Until now I have not realized how unworthy my existence is to this world. I actually feel like I am nothing, I feel like a nobody I feel so worthless, actually who am I? I just sitting here right now and thinking to myself what has this country changed to. I am basically being treated in the non-human category. I have been discriminated against, been hurt physically, mentally and emotionally for being in my own country and practising my own religion, traditions and beliefs.
On the first day on the freedom ride we headed off to Moree, In Moree we decided to address the segregation of the local swimming pool. Firstly we protested out the front of the council chambers. We then to took the Aboriginal children to the pool. The white people were angry and furious they had thought that we would bring diseases and infections by swimming in the same pool as them, but we insisted and we didn’t leave until we fulfilled our satisfactions.
But obviously we didn’t enjoy the stay at the pools the white people were calling out offensive names to us and throwing pebbles at us and swearing at us but we had no choice. From my own memory I can just recall the white Australians saying “we don’t want these scary looking animal like creatures around us” I wanted to cry but I had to man up. Such humans like us aboriginals are being compared to animals. This is racial discrimination and I will not put up with this. And I don’t think that I will have the energy or strength to keep putting up with this. Rocks were thrown at me and my fellow freedom rides we had the remaining scarps of their food thrown at us, scraps of paper was thrown around at us it was awful. I don’t want any of the remaining family members that I have to go through all this.
On the 9th of February, this happened to be the following day after our visit at the Moree bath we visited the inner town where we entered a nice looking café. And just when I thought that things can’t get any worse it did. We stood in line for about 15 minutes in regards to order our meal. When he got to our turn the manager of the café came to us and said ‘if you don’t leave this café I will not hesitate to call the police” I felt so embarrassed as all the people who were eating there food just dropped their food just left their food and started staring at us, The leader of the group Amaroo ordered us to stay and not leave this café until we get served. I stood there looking around at all the white people digging into their meals and I stood before them with an empty stomach waiting to be served, we had the money we were going to pay for our food we didn’t expect free service, am I asking for too much? They have colonised my own home and land they have taken away our language they have made us loose our traditional customs and beliefs and for me to walk into one of their cafes and just order for my food and leave is too much for them to handle? The police then got called In and they were surrounding us in a circle and kicking and punching whoever they could get a hold of, I remember having a punch thrown across my eyes, eventually we just left we gave up we had no hope that we would be served and we knew that nothing will change. I remember eating the first meal that day out of the bin outside the café

On the 15 February we pulled up in Walgett. We had decided that to confront the racism they would picket the Walgett RSL. The RSL was symbolic. It was in the memory of the past wars, and the ANZAC, that Australia found the deepest sense of ‘mateship’ and nationhood. It was high in the Australian culture and psyche. Unfortunately this comradeship did not extend to Aboriginal ex-servicemen. They were only allowed to use the RSL facilities on ANZAC day, if at all.

The Walgett RSL protest which I played a major role in went extremely well. A cadet reporter for the Herald was in Walgett at the time and took some photos of the protest. We finally got hold of the media coverage which gave us a greater audience which was just what we were hoping for. We had many students coming in and visiting us and reaching out to the children was easier than reaching out to the older people, we had some sort of connection with them, they felt really upset and ashamed when we would explain our stories to them. They were then asked to leave before anyone got hurt and we stayed there overnight. As they were leaving the town a grazier’s son rammed the bus off the road. Luckily no one was injured, and coincidently there was a journalist on board, making the incident headlines in the Sydney Morning Herald.
This was such a traumatic experience, and there was more devastating incidents which occurred but these incidents are the ones that I will never forget. I don’t think that I will be able to sleep properly after this. It just really gets to me, and I cannot comprehend why us aboriginals are being treated unfairly. We have accepted the fact that it is no longer our land and there is nothing left that we can do but all we ask for now is to be treated normally, to walk into a café and not have people telling you to leave or having the police force you to get out. I want to be able to work get money so I can feed my family occupy myself with something. Is this really too much Australia?

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