Friday, May 12, 2017


Homeless. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2017
Part of our Nation's shame is showing on the streets of Melbourne. Every time I venture into the CBD these days there appears to be move homeless people sitting or lying down on the walkways surrounded by their meagre possessions. Yes, to us their lowly and temporary abode looks like refuse that should be discarded and they too look like the dregs of the earth; unwashed, unloved, the caste out and waste of a society that really just doesn't care about those who appear not to care about themselves. There's an old saying: There but for the grace of God go I. Although I'm not a God person there is something to be said for reflecting on our own state of being, for many of us would be exactly like this if we suddenly lost our jobs, had nowhere to live and developed psychological problems due to the trauma of hunger, poverty and disdain of the general public.
Melbourne is a lively metropolis especially at lunch time. The shops are filled with patrons, the streets lined with shoppers. It's difficult walking through the crowded pavements, the thrust and throng of a crowd that has a mind of its own and unlike flocking birds that fly in a particular direction and pattern, walking in the city is like riding a dogem-car. Side to side movements, people suddenly cutting off your very stride, those who walk with their smart phone sutured to their eye balls have become the walking, talking disabled; their prosthesis making them more dangerous than anyone operating a motorised wheelchair in the congested city.
I stopped briefly as I walked past the State Library yesterday to watch police officers asking homeless people to pack up their junk and move on. One man simply wrapped everything he owned in a large rug and walked off, no doubt to find another piece of pavement to place it down again. Melbourne is a tourist hum and we can't have the blemish of our shame hung out for all to see. It's an eyesore. But there it is. We're use to seeing the homeless in Elizabeth Street, but now they're in Swanston Street and their 'in your face' tactics whilst compelling, probably won't be noticed by our politicians, who have absolutely no idea what it's like to actually want for anything!

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