LETTER: 110 days of peace in Yuendumu

Sir – Yes, we crossed 110 days of peace!

On behalf of the Yuendumu Mediation and Justice Committee I have been updating the Peace Calender of Yuendumu since May 2012. There hasn’t been any physical or verbal argument between the two camps for more than one hundred and ten days at Yuendumu. Gradually, the situation in the community has been changing. Recently, when I was walking towards the South Camp, I saw some West Camp people there, walking without fear. Next day, when I was at the big shop, I saw a few young women and elders from the south camp shopping and filling up their cars with fuel – also without fear.

Three months ago the situation was very different. There were two different time schedules for the two different camps to shop at Nguru Walalja store. Now the people from both camps are shopping at the same time. During this period the attendances at the school have also increased.

I’ve witnessed the whole community sitting together at a screening of “Coniston” at Paw Media on 6 December. Hundreds of people from across Yuendumu attended the night to watch the Coniston movie. It was the first occasion for a long time when the whole of Yuendumu came together. Then on December 12, Yuendumu again gathered together as a community for the Christmas concert at the school. It was great to see kids, young men and women, parents and elders from all camps at the concert. It was a happy and joyful occasion for the whole community.

Elders and representatives from both West and South Camps have committed to working towards peace and want to deal with the issues in their own way (Yapa way). Both sides are waiting for the right time to get together for a sorry ceremony. Everyone from both sides have said to the Mediation Committee members that they want to bring real peace through their own cultural way which might take a while.

Robert Jampijinpa Robertson, Chair of the Yuendumu Mediation and Justice Committee along with other elders is working with everybody to make the sorry ceremony happen. Everyone is optimistic to see the real peace in early 2013.

On behalf of the Yuendumu Mediation and Justice Committee, Robert and I want to wish everyone a  Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year to you all.
Madhu Panthee

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