Wednesday, August 1, 2018

August 1. Day 214. Sorry has to be the hardest word

I was seven when conscription ended in Australia. In 1975, when Gough Whitlam was dismissed I was 10 and living in England. I mention these two events because according to many they are two of the issues that most strongly divided Australians. I'm not old enough to fully remember the divisiveness of either. But the third one - that is still etched firmly in my brain. In 1980, Lindy Chamberlain told campers at Ayres Rock that a dingo had taken her baby Azaria. I didn't believe her. A jury of her peers didn't believe her. Half of Australia convicted her in their minds. Lindy was not only a victim of a horrible tragedy and the court of public opinion her life became a soap opera. In the years since about 30,000 letters have been written by ordinary Australians to Lindy. She's filed every one. She cataloged them and highlighted them and rated them. Those letters are now in the national library and their contents have been used to create a new stage show Letters to Lindy. I saw the show tonight. There was a Q&A afterwards. I went to leave and then found out that sitting in the darkened seats of the Brisbane Powerhouse watching with us was Lindy Chamberlain-Crieghton. She was extraordinary: Funny, warm and honest. She has every right to be bitter and angry at people just like me who decided at age 15 that I "knew" what a mother would do if her baby was lost. She says it is God's job to forgive not hers but she refuses to allow the haters to rent out space in her head. Thought all she's been through she has managed to retain a faith in God and humanity. I find that remarkable. It's too little, too late but I want to say sorry. It's all I've got. You can listen to us discuss the production here.

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