Light on dark past

The Adelaide Hills is a beautiful place full of caring, tight-knit communities so it can be difficult to hear about sordid aspects of the past.
The former Salvation Army-run Eden Hills boys home at Wistow was a dark blot on this region’s history.
Even a Supreme Court Justice questioned how such a “horrific place” could operate for such an extended period “virtually under the noses of the community of this State”.
There are probably many reasons but one victim, Graham Rundle, would just like the community to do one thing – give him the courtesy of acknowledging it happened.
He has written a book about his childhood and it is hard reading.
In an interview with The Courier he said he didn’t want Eden Park, now an organic farm, to always be known as a horrible place.
Nor did he want the community of today to take responsibility.
However, he believes the community should never forget. This didn’t happen a centuries ago, this happened within living memory of many residents today.
We should also be wary of falling into the trap of dismissing institutionalised abuse as a relic of the past.
You only have to see this week’s headlines about the SA Government worker charged with sexually abusing preschool children in residential facility to realise that we can never become complacent about protecting our most vulnerable citizens.

Tragedy not a first

The deaths of almost 300 innocent people aboard the Malaysia Airlines flight last week have shocked the world and the situation has the potential to escalate into a full-blown international crisis.
It is only right that the perpetrators of this mass murder be brought to justice.
Our Prime Minister Tony Abbott has reportedly left the Russian President in no doubt as to this nation’s anger towards those responsible and his strong desire that justice be done.
The horror experienced by those unfortunate souls 10,000m in the sky is almost too awful to imagine.
Sadly, this is not the first time a passenger jet has been shot down in error.
In 1988 a US warship in the Persian Gulf mistakenly shot down an Iranian airliner killing 290 innocent civilians.
The US government subsequently paid out millions in compensation to the families of those killed but has never admitted responsibility or apologised for the tragedy.
Just how forceful the US administration becomes at this time will be an interesting side issue.