Sunday Territorian 6 Oct 2019
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SUNDAY OCTOBER 6 2019 OPINION 13 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA The Anangu feel a duty of care to their visitors. But you can climb to the dome of St Peters Basilica. Great. I imagine that would stop pretty fast if people started urinating and defecating all over the place. But it belongs to all Australians. No. It doesnt. Uluru and its surrounds were handed back to its traditional owners in 1988. They hold the title deeds. It belongs to all Australians just as much as your house does. But this is all just a conspiracy by agents of wokeness to make me feel bad and divide Australians along race lines. No. It isnt. When the ban was an nounced in 2017, Anangu senior traditional owner and board chairman Sammy Wilson said Australians should be proud of the decision to shut the climb. This decision is for both Anangu and non-Anangu together to feel proud about; to realise, of course its the right thing to close it, he said at the time. The land has law and culture. We welcome tourists here. Closing the climb is not something to feel upset about but a cause for celebration. The only people driving division in this saga are the spoiled brats making their last, entitled scramble for the top. Hayley Sorensen is the Sunday Territorians resident columnist Climbers heading up Uluru in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park on one of the last days before the climb closes on October 26 They are disrespectful dipsticks and clearly, there is no speaking sense with them HAYLEY SORENSEN OPINION Rock no place for conga of cretins WHAT do these twits not understand? This picture on the front page of yesterdays Weekend Australian, in the final weeks before Uluru is finally closed to climbers, was breathtaking. A conga-line of cretins scrambling up its sacred surface, determined to thumb their noses at the local Anangu people. Generally speaking, I dont think its particularly helpful to name-call or accuse people of racism. I prefer to think most peo ple are for the most part relatively reasonable. Id like to think once the reasons for the objections of the Anangu were explained, visitors to Uluru would make the choice to respect their wishes. But for these handful of people Id be wrong. Theyre not willing to engage in a respectful discussion so its time to call them out for what they are. They are disrespectful dipsticks and clearly, there is no speaking sense with them. Its hard to imagine how Ulurus traditional 0wners could have more sensitively managed the decision to close the climb. The parks latest management agreement made clear that the climb would close permanently when the proportion of visitors choosing to climb fell below 20 per cent. That milestone was reached and exceeded by almost a quarter before the axe fell. Then they gave two years notice of the climbing ban, meaning those who still wanted to climb despite the pol itely made objections of traditional owners had ample opportunity to do so. But that has all been wasted on the baying mobs online, weeping about how this was all political correctness gone mad, taking away their God-given right to do whatever they like. For decades, the Anangu have politely asked visitors to respect their wish not to climb the Rock. Most did so on the days the climb was open between 2011 and 2015 only 16 per cent of visitors to Uluru chose to make the trek to the top. But while the disrespectful ninnies might be in the minority, theyve also been the loudest. Allow me to address a few of the more popular arguments among online commenters. But the objection to climbing is recent local Aboriginal men took explorers up to the top as far back as the 1940s. Mutitjulu leader Craig Woods addressed this argument in the Weekend Australian how were they to know that in a few decades the bootprints of thousands of trekkers would have carved a scar into Ulurus surface? If they had known, then they wouldve said no, he said. Its also relevant to note that a large part of the objection by traditional owners comes from the fact climbing Uluru is dangerous at least 35 people have died attempting the ascent. The elephant in the room is our kids worry more than ever because we worry too much EARLIER this week I had an interesting chat with leading child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg about how kids are becoming terrified of posters for horror movies, such as Stephen Kings It featuring an evil clown, in everyday settings such as bus shelters. The conversation took me back to the most terrifying time of my childhood, when my folks took my sister and me (aged eight and 10 respectively) to see the David Lynch movie The Elephant Man. Apart from being crushingly sad and appallingly violent, the film also featured the bracing image of John Merrick himself, the poor disfigured soul forced to perform in a circus in late 19th century England. My sister and I watched the film through our fingers in terror and I sobbed when Merrick knowingly ended it all by removing the mountain of pillows on which he slept, aware it would block his breathing so he could finish his life a happy and dignified man. For a week after the film I slept in my parents bed, suffering nightmares in which Merrick would appear before me. Carr-Gregg shared an amazing statistic this week: one in seven Australian children suffers from some form of anxiety. It is a confronting figure, as it seems the world today is safer than it has ever been and parents are more attuned to their childrens needs and interests than ever before, possibly to the point of being over protective. The last thing the world needs is another column about Greta Thunberg. I dont want to pile on the kid as she has whipped herself into quite a state over climate change, as have others, and like her I believe the science. But the prospect of global warming strikes me as both manageable (if we act swiftly) and vastly less terrifying than being bombed by the Luftwaffe or sent to Vietnam to fight a highly motivated and adept enemy in a stinking jungle. Why are kids so wound up? Perhaps they worry more than ever because we worry too much ourselves. The figure shared by CarrGregg suggests that phenomenon is having a counterproductive result in terms of childrens happiness. So too with the wellness philosophies now in the school curriculum. It is no longer the done thing to tell people to harden up and nor should it be in an unthinking sense when people are ill at ease. But perhaps we have swung so far the other way that we are creating an environment where moments of natural anxiety are being medicalised. That day at the cinema didnt kill me and whatever anxiety I felt was the result of processing a story of extraordinary cruelty. You could argue that Mum and Dad might have waited a few years, or taken us to see Grease, but I commend their unorthodox methods, even if they now jar with the times. DAVID PENBERTHY
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