THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
The Dreamtime, or the Dreaming, portrays the Aboriginal beliefs in spiritual existence. According to the tribes that first settled down in the continent, the Dreaming's roots date all the way back to the very begging of the creation of the world. The meaning and ideology of the term is generally not so well-understood by non-indigenous people as it is referred to as part of the culture of one of the early nations, which differs from modern perceptions.
The Spirits were the creators of everything. They made the land and the seas, the rocks and the plants, the sky and the earth. They were the higher power and the Australian Aborigines spent their lifetimes honoring this power, which guided their path and shaped their way of thinking. Not only creators of everything, which could be seen as well as felt, the Spirits also gave the Aborigines the Dreaming.
The time when everything started existing according to the initial Australians, was called the Dreaming. This is the foundation of the continent's culture. The origin of the Dreaming goes way back - 65 000 years back in time to be exact. The Ancestors of the nation shaped the land, forming some parts of it as sacred. The Aborigines were very careful and overprotective of those places, strongly believing in their significance.
The Australian Aborigines are known to have believed that the world didn't have any shape and was therefore empty. Darkness dominated, and life was simply asleep, but this changed when the creation began happening. After the Dreaming and the influence of the Spirits, objects began taking shapes and came to be. They created the four elements: water, earth, air and fire, as well as all the planets, the Sun and the Moon. The Dreaming therefore is a continuous process, which never ended. It is a small cosmos on its own, unifying the past, present and the future into one.
The Australian Aborigines' home riches so many vivid areas of the continent, including Fraser Island, Tasmania, Palm Island, Groote Eylandt and Mornington Island. The Aborigines had very strong believes in relation to the powers of the land, claiming that they never owned it - it rather owned them. The only reason they were able to call it their home is because they were looking after it and the land was taking care of the people in return.
Equally important to the Dreaming was the tribes' understandings of the disappearance of the Spirits. There came a time, when the creators of everything vanished from sight. Some of them were thought to have started living in sacred places, which is why the Aborigines perceived their homeland to be so sacred. The ancestors of today's Australians used to believe that the creators started living in rocks, in water holes and some went up to the sky to guide the people from above and keep them safe. Others transformed completely, taking the forms of the rain, the lightnings and the thunderstorms so they could be part of peoples' life.
Among the hundred's different Aboriginal languages, there isn't a word to describe 'time', because to them this simply doesn't exist. Dreaming and Dreamtime are used to replace it and summarize the ideologies of the Aborigines about everything they knew, everything they could see, feel and experience. This is why the Dreaming has such a vivid, and overwhelming meaning and has survived the obstacles of time. For the past couple thousand years, the Dreaming has built a rich cultural heritage that can identify a whole nation.
Read more about the Land, its connection to people and the way it has been perceived from different generations in the very first print issue of ORIGIN. The Land Issue covers varied topics, most of which remain related to cultural aspects of the land and its importance.
A lot of people travel to explore places and learn about them which is the message that ORIGIN wants to spread. With traveling, however, comes certain responsibilities that we should all be aware of. Elephants riding has become a popular way to explore locations by land. People have been doing this as part of their trips, mostly to places such as Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia and other parts of Asia. It is a common thing to see in certain places in Africa as well. We investigated the activity to explain why it is wrong and riding elephants should be banned everywhere.
Our first print issue studies culture and traveling represented through the land. We explored various location around the globe and learned what makes the land so valuable, which nations cherish it and how it helps us establish an identity. Traveling is important to us but traveling responsibly and making an impact is what we feel proud to stand behind. This is why riding elephants as a way of amusement should be reconsidered.
Let’s talk about the details. Elephants are very caring and extremely intelligent animals. It is a well-known fact that they never forget anything. When kept in captivity instead of spending their life in the wild, elephants die younger. Unlike in other species, this is common for the gentle giants and is often a result for stress.
Many African cultures respect elephants, believing they symbolize strength, loyalty and power. However, power can be a very tender concept. Elephant used as a tourism tool suffer from great pain daily. Elephants can be hurt very severely from the weight of carrying people and a trainer on their backs. The reason for this is the design of their spines. They have sharp protrusions, extending upwards from their spine instead of having round spinal disks. The protrusions and the tissue that serves to protect them can be harmed easily from weight pressure. Once a damage to their spine has been made, there is no going back and sometimes the harm can be irreversible. While this can’t be physically seen, the harm that the chairs can do to the elephants’ skin is. It is often the case that the chairs and the weight on their back can damage the animal’s skin and cause pain to their body. The chair, called Howdah, that gets attached to their backs, rubs on their skin and can cause blisters, which can sometimes get infected.
The training that elephants are required to go through when in captivity sometimes adopts a traditional Thai ‘phajaan’ or ‘crush’ technique. Explaining the technique would compare it to the animals’ spirits constantly and continuously being broken by the means of torture and social isolation. This is done in order to tame them. Elephants are wild animals, this is their nature as they are born in such conditions. Making them safe and obedient around people requires them to go through such training. As horrible as it sounds, in some places young elephants are taken away from their mothers to be abused with nails, bull hooks and bamboo sticks to make them obey rules, given by people. The animals often lack sleep and are starved to become submissive.
Actions from such nature are cruel and harmful as the technique is used to crash the animals’ spirit. Once wild and free, elephants become a source of tourism and entertainment. Nobody, who cared about sustainable tourism should ever ride an elephant.
In a sense, elephants have a human soul. They socialise and feel everything – pain, happiness, grief, sadness etc. They spend their life building families and finding friends. The largest land animals are a gift from nature and it is our responsibility to take special care of them and make sure they live according to their nature. Many animals, who are kept in captivity, are forced to live in isolation and carry heavy loads all day long, which is a wrong way to treat them. Their strength and power shouldn’t be abused but treated gently and celebrated by people. Elephants require minimal care to stay happy and healthy, which comes from giving them freedom to behave naturally and socialise. It is our responsibility to be culturally aware while traveling and make sure to spread awareness about the problem.
You can read the rest of the article as published in the LAND issue.
WAYS TO HELP YOUR COMMUNITY DURING COVID-19
We take a look at what we can do as individuals to help out our local community at this time of crisis. From shopping locally to considering others, this is you can have your input
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Cherry Laithang
21 March 2020
With everything that is currently going on around the globe, we must look for ways to help one another. While self-isolating and trying to refrain from being in contact with others is the main thing we should do, there are still ways to make sure we are taking care of our own communities. Coronavirus has caused a lot of stress and panic among many. Some families' members are more at risk than others and we must help with anything we can. Although isolated, we must stay strong together whilst keeping our distance.
Our team takes a look at what we can do as individuals to help one another out.
KEEP IT LOCAL
Small businesses are struggling more than chains do and can really benefit from more customers. You can support your local businesses by making sure they are the places you spend your money at. Regardless of whether you decide to pick up coffee from your independent local coffee shop or order from the family owned restaurant at town, you'll be helping small businesses to try and stay afloat. Buying gift card from a local business is another easy thing to do in times like this as you won't have to use it straight away, but rather keep it or even give it to someone who would need it more than you would.
THINK OF OTHERS
In light of the recent events, we have seen many posts on social media and the news about empty supermarkets and supplies disappearing from shelves almost as soon as they have been stocked. It is important to consider the elderly people in times like this. They are the ones most at risk and will need supplies more than ever. Whilst we are not suggesting struggling yourself, we do want to remind you that it is a good idea to have a think about the older people in your community. Consider whether they would need help getting anything from supermarkets and help them by delivering it if you can. Remember that whatever you do to help others, make sure you're safe and healthy first.
DONATE TO FOOD BANKS
Maybe you have stocked up more food than what you thought you need to, or maybe you've got items you can't use or some that are going out of date soon. Donate any food you won't need to food banks so you can help others. There are charities that provide hunger relief and it is easy to get a hold of them. If you have a business that is about to close soon, consider donating all the food you won't necessarily be using to people from your local communities.
HELP THOSE AT RISK
Think of the people you know. If there is anyone at risk, consider helping them or even join a volunteer group to help more people. This is a good way to make sure everyone stays connected and nobody is suffering alone in silence. helping sometimes means running simple errands, which doesn't require much and can be done by most like posting letters, taking out the trash, etc.
STAY IN TOUCH
Self-isolation is difficult, but it can be tougher for some more than others. Mental health issues can be triggered when people don't feel like they have a support system so make sure to call your family, friends and loved ones regularly to check up on them and make sure everything is okay. This is an easy way to stay on top of things and a fun way to spend your time as well. Even if you are stuck at home alone, this way it won't completely feel like it. Organize Facetime or Skype sessions with friends and family members, listen to podcasts together or even watch movies simultaneously. Use this time to catch up with people you usually don't have the time to. Maybe even help out your cousins or younger siblings to pick up a new hobby. This is an opportunity to reconnect with others so use it wisely. Stay isolated, together.
REARRANGE YOUR TRAVEL PLANS
The travelling industry is also suffering during this time of crisis. There is no need to cancel your travelling plans just yet. Instead, rearrange them. Have a think about when you can postpone them to and do it if possible. This way you'll have something to look forward to and you will do your bit o strengthen the economy and the travel industry when the time comes. Use this time to do some more research about the places you want to visit so that you've got more knowledge about their cultures and traditions and are prepared for your future visit.
Stay at home as much as possible. We're in this together and we can get through it the same way. Stay strong. Be safe.