Aboriginal leader and Christian minister Ray Minniecon is in Glasgow, Scotland for the UN Climate Summit COP26 and he’s keeping a diary …
Diary entry #1: Wednesday 27 October, 2021
It was a very speedy exit from home. I only found out that our request for a pass to attend to represent the Indigenous People’s Organisation (IPO) only came through last Thursday. To leave the country, you need to fill in complicated forms online, and run around like a headless chook to get all the proper paperwork.
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You need at least four documents before they will let you pass through customs at the airport. Two Covid documents that show a negative result. One of them costs $145.00 and can only be administered by Government recognized medical and health providers. This test must be done 72 hours before take-off. The place I found was down near Circular Quay!
The turnaround for this test for a negative result is only around several hours. I passed. The second test was one that I had at the Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service. I tested negative there also, but had to have a result within four days before I could travel. If any of these tests were positive, you wouldn’t even get inside the airport!
The other documents including the Government’s Border Force document that you apply for online so that you have permission to leave Australia. (Go figure?)…The next document was the UK entry form. This had to be completed before you leave Australia.
Then there is the registration form necessary to the UN conference. I hope these are all the necessary forms and documents that you need to show BEFORE you leave the Australia and before you get into the UK and before you can enter the door at the UN. Although I am told that I will be Covid tested twice every day at the conference.
After filling in all these forms, I packed that fast that I left my computer charger behind and had to pay a Uber driver to deliver it to me at the airport because I was prepping myself for a few scheduled zoom meetings. It was one of those crazy days!
To top it off, I arrived at the airport fairly early in the afternoon. It was surreal to see just a handful of travellers, and most of the shops closed. I noticed that there were more police and security than passengers…surreal! I finally had my last Zoom gig and got through all the other doors without any more hindrances.
I now look forward to my first overseas trip since September 2019. I must say that Covid has changed our little planet so much in such a short time!… I will try and sleep all the way to Glasgow!!
My Prayer before leaving
Ancient of Days, I have so many expectations and questions around this profound moment in our human history and journey. Why can’t we care for Your Creation as you intended? We were supposed to be co-creators with You. We were designated to be co-custodians of all You created. But we appear to act continually like rebellious children. We don’t listen to You. We don’t even listen to our Elders or our ancient Ones whom You bestowed upon them so much wisdom and knowledge. They knew how to care for our sacred creation because they listened to You. We seem to just refuse to shoulder our side of our responsibility to care for Your Creation. Why do You continue to believe in us? Why do you continually encourage us to lift our game? Why do You continually demand that we shoulder our responsibility as co-custodians? Why do You place so much hope in us? We are so recalcitrant in playing our part in caring for creation. We just don’t seem to care! We are such an arrogant and headstrong, stiffed necked people! Ancient of Days, continue to demonstrate your patience and mercy toward us and please don’t give up on us yet. In the name of Your Son, be merciful.
Ray Minniecon is a descendant of the Kabi Kabi nation and the Gurang Gurang nation of south-east Queensland. He is also a descendant of the South Sea Islander people, with deep and abiding connections to the people of Ambrym Island. He leads Scarred Tree, an Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Australian South Sea Islander ministry based in St John’s Glebe, Sydney.