I don’t want to minimise the harm, the pain and the devastation that colonisation has caused to many of our indigenous peoples. I myself have seen first-hand, the suffering caused by the colonial bulldozing of indigenous peoples. But the pragmatic and optimist in me is always looking for ways to move forward. Yes, we have been done wrong by, we have suffered and are still suffering. But what now? How can we start to move forward towards the flourishing of our indigenous peoples?
I speak from a Maori point of view, and acknowledge that the Indigenous experience of colonisation is so diverse, multifarious and cannot be generalised. Maori have long been fighting for the de-colonisation or our society. And in that journey of decolonisation we now find ourselves as bi-cultural (many are also multi-cultural). This means we understand two cultures, two worldviews, two positions in life. This gives us the ability to step outside of ourselves and see others. And I mean really see others, to understand their fears, their desires and experiences. To have one worldview is to see the world in one colour. When we have two worldviews we can see the world in its many different shades. We have the ability to view situations from a multiple set of lenses. This gives us the power of empathy. And if there is one thing the world could do with more of, it’s empathy.
Roman Krznaric, an internationally renowned expert on empathy and author of Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution. writes;
“I think empathy is the way to revolutionise our own philosophies of life, to become more outrospective, and to create the revolution of human relationships that I think we so desperately need.”
I don’t need to reiterate all of the problems of the world here, but the world does seem to be looking for a positive revolution of some kind. Perhaps our colonised experience gives us a head start and the advantage of empathy.