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The black and white brothers

By Andris Heks - posted Friday, 15 January 2021

When I heard the two Georgian Democratic candidates for the Senate in the Georgian run-off Senate election, the Reverend Raphael Warnock, the eleventh of twelve children from a poor Afro-American family and Jon Ossoff, a white documentary maker from a refugee Jewish mother, introduce each other at Biden's election rally as 'black and white brothers', tears came to my eyes as I had a flashback to my experience with a very different pair of 'black and white brothers' in Australia a long time ago!

I felt sad about 'la miserablès', those 'black and white brothers', who so generously gave us a lift from Alice Springs to Darwin nearly fifty years ago!

But I was also bursting with great joy, that these two American, new generation black and white brothers were able, in spite of all the deprivations of their past, to rise from 'zero to hero', in wrestling for themselves positions of power for the good of all, in becoming Senators in the US Congress and opening the door for the Democratic Party to rise to the occasion with them!


Back to May 1973.

It has been the longest wait for a ride since we had begun hitchhiking around Australia from Sydney in January.

Beside me sits my drawcard car stopper: this pretty, longhaired blond, blue eyed, slim lady. (By 2021, my wife for fifty years.)

We have been waiting at the road-sign, 'TO DARWIN' at this junction in Alice Springs for hours, but few cars came by and none stopped.

We are tired and frustrated and for the first time during our hitchhiking we begin to wonder: 'Must we now book a coach?'

Our journey ahead of us is long: all the way from Alice Springs to Darwin.


We are just about to give up waiting any longer, when this beaten up, old Holden appears, chugging along slowly, swaying to the left and the right sides of the road. 'Oh no', I sigh, 'the driver must be drunk'!

But drunk or not, the driver flings open the door of the car when he stops beside us and invites us into the car. 'Are you going to Darwin?' -hesitantly I ask the bleary-eyed driver, with a flagon of grog in his hand. 'Ye' he answers, as I am trying to endure the smell of sweat emanating from the car.

A black hand from the back seat reaches forward towards the white driver, fingers opening and closing, signalling that it was the back seat passenger's turn to have a swig from the flagon.

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About the Author

Andris Heks worked as a Production Assistant and Reporter on 'This Day Tonight', ABC TV's top rating pioneering Current Affairs Program and on 'Four Corners' from 1970 till 1972. His is the author of the play 'Ai Weiwei's Tightrope Act' and many of his articles can be viewed here:

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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