At the end of 2016, I struggled to find the right words to encapsulate the mixed emotions and thoughts provoked by the year’s tumultuous events.
In the end, “confusion” won the toss.
Sadly, a short holiday break has not brought much greater clarity; I remain confused about how best to respond to the complex and interrelated threats to planetary health, human rights and social justice (surely the bedrocks of population health and health equity).
Whether we work in health, advocacy, government, the business or even journalism, there is no call for doing yet more of the same old, same old. The need for transformative change has become the mantra du jour across sectors and disciplines.
At the same time, the fields of strengths-based practice and appreciative inquiry suggest the importance of acknowledging the important work that has been done and is being done by people and organisations – individually, collectively and connectively.
Think of the courage shown by individuals like Clinton Pryor, a Wajuk, Balardung, Kija and Yulparitja man, who is making a long walk for justice from Perth to Canberra, protesting about the closure of remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia, amongst other things.
…what if other people, in other places and other countries, followed in his footsteps? What if Clinton’s long walk was just the beginning of many other such transformative journeys?
There is nothing like a long walk for bringing clarity to confused thoughts and agendas, and for connecting us with what matters most.
Some other words then came to mind, words that I learnt many years ago in Denmark – “tak for sidst”. The literal translation – “thanks for the last” – does not fully capture the meaning.
Tak for sidst is used to thank people who might have cooked you dinner when you last met or provided some other kindness or social good.
I am probably using it way out of context now, but would like to offer a “tak for sidst” to all who have engaged with Croakey over the past year, whether as readers, contributors, funders, subscribers, or donors, and to those who have enlisted the Croakey Conference News Service. Thanks also to those who have helped to share our articles on social media.
And a particularly warm “tak for sidst” to the “Croakey connective” – colleagues who contribute to this site through their writing, editing and other contributions, to projects like #JustJustice, and to our ongoing development and evolution.
In saying “tak for sidst”, I am also hoping you will join us on our journeys through 2017, in keeping the spotlight on the importance of addressing the wider determinants of health and wellbeing – particularly the “catastrophic” threat posed by climate change – and reducing human rights abuses and health inequities.
Read his full article here (extract below):
Inequality eats away at the heart of a society, breeding disdain, resentment, envy, suspicion, bullying, arrogance and callousness.
If we want any decent kind of future we have to push away from that, and I think we’re starting to.
There’s so much to do, so many possibilities. 2017 should be a surprising year.”
Let’s hope he’s right. In a good way.