Friday, November 5, 2010

Maralinga and the crimes commited in our name

For someone who claims not to write message songs Paul Kelly does a pretty good job of reminding Australians of the historical injustices and crimes committed in our name.

His song Maralinga tells the story of a forgotten Australian imperial crime- the secret testing of British atomic weapons on the lands of the Maralinga Tjarutja people in central Australia in the 195o's.

In his musical memoir How to Make Gravy Paul Kelly recounts the shocking story of the Maralinga atomic testing and the creation of the song.

For mine, Maralinga is the finest song on Paul Kelly's epic 8 CD collection The A-Z Recordings.
Paul Kelly 

This is a rainy land.
No thunder in our sky.
No trees stretching high.
This is a rainy land.

My name is Yami Lester.

I hear, I speak, I touch, but I am blind.
My story comes from darkness.
Listen as my story now unwinds.

First we heard two big bangs.

We thought it was the great snake digging holes.
Then we saw the big black cloud,
And the big black mist began to roll.

A strangeness on our skin,

A soreness in our eyes like weeping fire.
A pox upon our skin,
A boulder on our backs all our lives.

My name is Millipuddi.

They captured me, and roughly washed me down.
Then my child stopped kicking,
And they took away my man to town.
They said: "Do you speak English?" He said: "I-know-that-Jesus-loves-me-I-know-because-the-bible-tells-me-so."

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