The Third Leg of the Chicken

30 May


Shigeto Oshida, a Japanese Dominican, says we are to beware of‘ the third leg of the chicken. This is the abstract concept of a chicken leg that is neither the left leg nor the right, but a mere chicken leg in general;

‘When “the third leg of the chicken” begins to walk by itself it is disastrous!’

In this National Reconciliation Week in the 250th anniversary of Cook bumping into Australia, we are to beware of the third leg of the chicken. What is this third leg of the chicken?

The concept and idea of reconciliation. It is the idea we talk about, make plans about, focus on when it is just a mere concept disconnected from the real situation experienced by Aboriginal people in this country. It is disconnected from the real issue Australia and Australians should be talking about and resolving – the invasion of sovereign nations land and the genocide of its people as part of the white supremacy project of colonisation. Even the slogan for this year – ‘In This Together’ – suggests somehow we all have responsibility for the situation and a role in fixing it.

That simply isn’t true. We are not in this together when Aboriginal people, a people without a voice, treaty or sovereignty, are reduced to invisibility in an idea we call Reconciliation.

We have given this third leg of the chicken life and it is now walking around by itself. We do not address the original and ongoing sin of this nation – the destruction of sacred sites such as the blasting of the 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site by Rio Tinto to expand iron ore mine, the over-representation of Aboriginal children under 14 in lockup (see the front page of the latest Koori Mail), the 20-year gap in health, education and housing and the lack of a Voice at the National level. Reconciliation is only of value if it remains connected to the unresolved sins of the past and the present. It is not its own project.

More on this next time.

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