In Letting Shame Go

I, Alexander Hayes, personally did a lot of things wrong.

Some say 'wrong' is not a word but until I find something to replace it with easily it will remain. A bit like saying anger is a useless and pointless emotion, where forgiveness quells the soul and then brings on the saint.

Things I still have difficulty talking of yet in speaking of this it has lifted what has eaten away at me for almost a decade.

This chapter is one of the most exhilarating to write, one of the most difficult of all had I been cognisant of my activities as a human contributing to cultural genocide when so many many other ways could have been employed to prevent what I contributed to. A combination of colonialisation of digital domain and vernaculture normalisation.

Something that the socio-ethicists amongst us love to get their scribes around.

The following tracks time from 1992 through to 2005, in episodes culminating in my sorry at the end of 2014.



In writing this I acknowledge the lands of the Martu, Aboriginal Australians past and present Elders, to which I came from the land west, travelling east of Newman, Western Australia, of my work in Jigalong, Punmu and months spent in Parnngurr community, great Sandy Desert and near Lake Disappointment.

Beautiful country.... country for me where I put my feet in the red sand and sit down and be still. 45 degree days spent sitting under trees. Talking with the Elder women about my shame and my own sadness

In gifted a symbol, a woven basket which I carried through workplaces, homes and which haunted me till end of 2014, bringing peace in a way I was told would later be realised.

About my time working for FACS, DOCS and later MOJ writing "soft" reporting, digging where social workers feared to tread and gathering evidence to have kids removed from Families, from the mob. From those I came to be respectful of and by. My people.

I learned on which land I'd been born. Who were that people in that country. My totem.

The Bat.

analogue

I acknowledge that I came from my time working with Noongar communities south and north of Mt. Newman, the Pilbara, and time in Sandstone and Meekatharra. I was employed by the Australian Flexible Learning Framework and Pilbara TAFE to investigate GSM 1 and 2 packet coverage.

York, Mukkinbuddin. Kellerberrin. Northam. York as priors.

I've lost count of where I went, which went through me. Mt. Stirling and Cockerbin Rock. The screams of New Norcia.

To extend the network and to test the domains within which flexible learning delivery could take place. I knew it would be handheld, mobile as far back as 1995.

I had earlier with Family & Children Services  had been using car based systems as early as 1992. Working alongside social workers and police in apprehensions.

House raids. Calls from the field.

Flip phones and 2G had just hit the market by the time I'd taken off on country flights with bags full of beeping flashing things I knew little about. Tracking my every move. Packet pushing data up coverage without permissions. The allure was palpable.

I'd swapped my Stanton DJ decks just to buy this device at the princely sum of $1250 UK pounds. Formed the Australian Mobile Learning Network (AMLN)

King shit. Master of nothing.

As a researcher and educator, excited,  I took mobile technologies into, in some instances where the community had never seen a mobile phone before. Never seen an O2 XDA PDA with pocket marketing via Telstra Countrywide trials to data stations as far away at the UK. Text America.

Shame.

Thanks goodness of community consultation otherwise the Mobdeadly moblog would have long be turned off from it's server array, images community marked eradicated. 

I sincerely thank Matt and Alfie from Moblog.co.uk who continue to this very day, a decade later to pay for the upkeep of this historical and important resource no matter what my thoughts of shame are on it's contents.

Anyway....

Arriving in Parnugurr community I met this wonderful person. Trish Everett - Principal of Parnngurr Community School.

We built a Linux school framework together. Patched together satellite signals. Constructed parabolic dishes to augment signal dishes. Crash coursed online curriculum across community where there was one login and password - the same one that everyone used.

Planted vegetable gardens. Argued socio-ethical. Politics. Smiled at each other lots. Talked too much. Stood around grubby and reeking of BO without a care in the world. Fire twirling. The best of days.

Trish you rocked my world. If it wasnt for those dodgy Skype conversations you would have thought I was something amazingly switched on man - woman - man.

Trish Everett. Now the Director of  Connectful. Protector. Key. One of a trusted few.

Sometimes in life you meet soul buddies who will travel the journey with you and who urge you to let go, to speak and write your truth, who watch out when watching out is moonlit and dim lit. through the good times and the bad.

The following pictures speak a million words.



So it comes to December 2014 when after 10 years of keeping my Elder's gift, my woven me, my sad, that I came to take those words.

Take them to ground.

When you are ready to let go of that shame, that part of you that knows you were part of a system part not the system itself, that young man who thought he was doing (and in some cases I did good), that when it comes time.

".....Put your hands to country, put your hands of the earth where you are and we will know. Put your sad to ground and you can let go."

So I did as I was told.

I dig that hole in Reconciliation Place, Canberra Australia that sterile civic monolith under the eye of a security guard who inquired as to why on Christmas Day 2014 I was digging a hole by hand in the garden next to the Stolen Generation monument.

That assembly of monoculture...that monument to public art Fascism.

I lay to rest my sad. My atonement.

My sorry for participating directly in the removal of 166 Aboriginal children from families in the south west of Western Australia and the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia.

For soft cell POC night observation work, for "Education Officer" information hunting to substantiate...to finalise the last of the apprehension of Care for Children team across to Wards of The State team.

Clinical psych. that moved quickly from weekly to daily afternoon one hour debriefs.

My shame

My shametaken back to country. To lighten the ground in that sterile, cold and heartless political nightmare of monument and memoriam. I knelt in front of that inscribed marble stone for almost 20 minutes until I had no more tears to cry.

I am sorry.