It has been suggested that Uluru, amongst other things, is a symbol of reconciliation in Australia. It is certainly a cherished and revered place for Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike. When I was there, watching visitors time and again read the sign at the base of the rock and then continue across the threshold, it felt like a symbol of something else: of our historic and continuing disrespect for the first peoples of this country, of a shoddy version of reconciliation.
The power of the debate – as an illustration of gender politics in 1971 – is patent, a more than ample foundation on its own, with Mailer looking more of a fool as time goes on in his attempts to rein the women in, belittle their arguments and remain on top. Its fascination for us today lies also in the language and manners, striking in their formality, even in Johnston’s experimental prose and radical politics; Greer and Trilling are just as prolix, speaking in paragraphs we no longer hear in these contexts, worn down as we are by decades of festivals, talk fests and technology.
In solidarity, so long, proshchay, take care, wadaeaan, all the best, adiaŭo, shalom, see you next year!
Overland is seeking fiction from new and emerging writers for a special online edition to be guest edited by Linda Godfrey.
In the centre, I was confronted by Australia’s past and current crimes. Viewing Australia’s designed cruelty first-hand left me both sorrowful and angry. Manus is a festering wound. Australians can ignore the sickness, but slowly, surely, it is poisoning our country. This is a sickness that was contracted during our violent invasion of Aboriginal land and it surfaces every time we condone state cruelty against a person.