Speaking English with country: Can the animate world hear us?: Can we hear it?
journal contributionposted on 29.04.2019 by Geoff Berry
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In 'PAN' 13 John Bradley responded to a rhetorical question put to him by Dinah Norman a-Marrngawi, a mentor of his in the Yanyuwa language and ways of North East Arnhem Land, which I have not been able to forget since: can her Country hear English? For a fully committed animist like myself, this gentle interrogation works away at the craw like a Zen koan: how can we live 'here' - wherever that is - as full ecological citizens, if we cannot do so in communication with the land and sea, forests and mountains and rivers? If this Country cannot hear English, it cannot receive my blessings, it can only sense my thanks mutely at best, and surely it cannot return any sort of grace when I speak my native language. My relationship with non-human kin is mute; or worse, marked by the violence, disdain and assumed mastery that comes with colonizing history.
PAN: Philosophy Activism Nature, No. 14, Dec 2018: 24-29