Smiles, not snarls at pa­rade


Kalgoorlie Miner - - OPINION - Ja­son Men­nell Ja­son Men­nell is a jour­nal­ist at the Kal­go­or­lie Miner.

There are few places in the world where thou­sands of peo­ple would line the streets to watch a pro­ces­sion of mainly min­ing ve­hi­cles trun­dle down the city’s main thor­ough­fare.

Of course, for a city that was founded on gold, and still ex­ists 125 years later be­cause the gold is still there, in Kal­go­or­lie-Boul­der such a sce­nario is a lit­tle more prob­a­ble.

Last week­end’s was my first St Bar­bara’s Pa­rade and it was quite a spec­ta­cle.

It was a brag­ging ex­hi­bi­tion of wealth and size and op­por­tu­nity.

Where I come from, the only time there would be such a ve­hic­u­lar pro­ces­sion of such mag­ni­tude was when the old despot Robert Mu­gabe was be­ing taken to the air­port so he could be treated by over­seas doc­tors be­cause all the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als had left the coun­try.

The dif­fer­ence was his mo­tor­cade trav­elled a lit­tle faster and he would be sit­ting in one of 12 iden­ti­cal blacked-out bul­let­proof Mercs so any­one who de­cided to take a pop at him would not know which car he was in.

If some­one was stupid enough to wave or smile at the pres­i­den­tial mo­tor­cade, they ran the risk of be­ing pep­pered in a hail of bul­lets fired by the glar­ing en­tourage of mil­i­tary per­son­nel.

A few peo­ple were killed over the years be­cause they com­mit­ted the heinous crime of not pulling off to the side of the road in time.

How lovely it was, then, to see a mo­tor­cade of a dif­fer­ent ilk.

In­stead of be­ing glared at by sol­diers and pep­pered by bul­lets, by­standers were pep­pered with a never-end­ing sup­ply of tof­fee and candy canes and mints.

For me, it was a lit­tle re­minder of just how lucky we are to be liv­ing in Aus­tralia.

There is some­thing grat­i­fy­ing about my young son re­turn­ing home with a bag full of lol­lies and a wide smile, rather than a near-death ex­pe­ri­ence.

And all of those big trucks rum­bling down the street are a fairly good sign he will grow up in a coun­try where op­por­tu­nity abounds.

And as a par­ent, there is lit­tle more one could wish for. A 1954 let­ter writ­ten by Al­bert Ein­stein and known as the “God let­ter” be­cause he dis­cussed his thoughts about God and re­li­gion has fetched close to $2.9 mil­lion at an auc­tion in New York.

The let­ter, which was sold at Christie’s on Tues­day, was writ­ten the year be­fore the No­bel prize-win­ning physi­cist’s death. It was ad­dressed to philoso­pher Eric Gutkind, who had writ­ten a book about Jewish spir­i­tu­al­ity and the pur­suit of science. In the let­ter, Ein­stein de­clared, “The word God is for me noth­ing more than the ex­pres­sion and prod­uct of hu­man weak­nesses, the Bible a col­lec­tion of hon­ourable but still prim­i­tive le­gends.”

Ein­stein was con­stantly ques­tioned about his re­li­gious be­liefs dur­ing his life­time.

Hen­drik Willem van Loon, Dutch-Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist and lec­turer (1882-1944)

Pic­ture: Ja­son Men­nell

The 2018 St Bar­bara’s Pa­rade.

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