Saturday, May 03, 2008

From little things, big things grow


A Song By Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody ©1992





This song talks about an 8-year strike by the indiginous people of Australia beginning in the 60s. Though it took eight years, the Australian government finally acknowledge the people and returned their land to them. Just this year, the government apologized.

The message is powerful and has much application to us in the United States today.


  • "Now you failed to imagine what if it happened to you" ...What if we decided as a country to imagine others' situations as our own? What if we thought about things from other people's perspectives? Would we change bus routes? Would we beef up police presence? Would we improve the schools?

  • "We must all play our part" ...Change can't come from just one side. Otherwise, it gets defeated by those who push harder and want more for themselves. We have to be in this together...rich and poor, black and white, neighborhood to neighborhood.

  • "It seems to me that if we can imagine the injustice we can imagine the opposite and we can have justice" ...If we truly looked at what was injust in communities across our cities and our nation, we would be able to understand how to create justice. But when we stay focused on ourselves, we miss out on the injustices others face.

We are all very much alike and have similar desires, hopes, and dreams...if only we can look past the barriers that separate us.


In Turner Courts, we are doing little things. In urban communities across America, people are doing little things. But "from little things, big things grow." I look forward to that day.




Wharfies on May Day march, Sydney 1965


As Prime Minister of Australia, I am sorry.
On behalf of the Government of Australia, I am sorry.
On behalf of the Parliament of Australia, I am sorry.
And I offer you this apology without qualification.

To say sorry means to give respect
It’s long overdue
Now you failed to imagine
What if it happened to you

Now they’re not only words now it’s not just a symbol
Accepting the past, well it’s not always simple
When thinking of yesterday
We live for tomorrow
We can’t face the future now
Till we face the sorrow

Now under the colours, yeah
Of red, yellow, black
We say “Never again”
We say “No turning back”

From little things, big things grow
From little things, big things grow
From little things, big things grow
From little things, big things grow

Lighting up the path
With good in our heart
See the more that you look
The better for all
So he sang as he walked
And together we stand
For we’re sure to stand tall
We must all play our part
[Rudd: “indigenous and non indigenous”]
Tears within our brow
Yes forward we struggle and all we’ve achieved
Will be nothing if greed was the only motivation of man
So we can love one another, and with respect for each other
Then we move forward [”reconciled”] together

From little things, big things grow
From little things, big things grow
From little things, big things grow
From little things, big things grow

There are moments in the lives of nations
Where hope and history rhyme
And now’s one of those times
Let’s close the gap and if we truly mean it
we can stare down our future and find
we can see through those eyes
And let us not stand with those who deny

It seems to me that if we can imagine the injustice
We can imagine the opposite
And we can have justice

From little things, big things grow
From little things, big things grow
From little things, big things grow
From little things, big things grow

[rpt]

All of us are one, because we are human
And if I cut you, you cut me, what comes out?
red blood, not different colour blood, only red blood. Yes.
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