Dr Alex Brown
The following is a note from Dr Alex Brown, inaugural recipient of the Indigenous People’s Scholarship for the undertaking of a Masters in Public Health at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Thank you for your help in getting me here. I thought you may like to know how I am. I must admit there have been a few moments of moderate anxiety and concern with the occasional terror attack, and the obvious diplomatic problems in the region following Iraq’s unwillingness to continue to conform to UN weapon inspections, but on the whole my stay has been both exciting and comfortable.
This will be an extremely busy year as they virtually fit a two-year course into a one-year period. We are very lucky to have such experienced and well regarded lecturers here (I have even read some of their publications during my studies). After this year I may be the most qualified aboriginal doctor in Australia (well maybe) and that puts me in a position of great responsibility for my people. We will cross that bridge when we come to it.
I know that I have a very strong base of support amongst the Australian Jewish community.
I have found that not only is Israel the geographical centre of the world, but it is also the centre ideologically, culturally and spiritually. There seems to be no such thing as a calm disagreement, all arguments are passionate and florid. Even when haggling over the price of fruit in the Old City, the louder I argue, the cheaper the goods. It’s quite liberating really.
I have spent some time talking with many locals, especially after the last two terrorist attacks. It seems the wear and tear of continual fear, and the realisation that awful things can and do happen manifests itself as great intensity. The problem is, so many feel the pain of violence and it has been difficult to come to terms with this for an Australian with little understanding of war and conflict.
I must thank you all for this wonderful opportunity to travel to the most fascinating place I have ever visited. I am sure the things I will gain from this year will stand me in good stead for the years ahead.
This tremendous sign of brotherhood and love, will no doubt strengthen the ties between the Jewish and Aboriginal communities that people have worked hard to forge. It should stand as a shining example to all Australians that without the support and care of us all, we may never be able to overcome the injustices in our community.