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ANN CURTHOYS is a historian and author of ‘Freedom Ride’, her recounting of a 1965
bus journey, undertaken by students including Charles Perkins & herself, into the heart of Australia to fight racism.
KEITH BUTLER is a writer of postcolonial literature and feature articles contributor to The Age whose first novel 'The Secret Vindaloo' is due to be published by Penguin.



19 Jan 2007 photos Karen Trist

Two writers move through what Ann has described as ‘an uneasy conversation’ between the indigenous and the multicultural in Australia. It was 35 years ago that Keith undertook the journey from India to settle in Australia, and 40 odd years ago that Ann joined in the Aboriginal rights campaign by bus-trip that was to change the lives of its participants and the NSW towns it visited. Keith draws attention to this Babel-like, kaleidoscopic capsule of a tram, states his territorial feeling toward it and asks ‘are we fetishising the ethnic?’ ‘Who is the other now?’ The conversation reinscribes Gandhi informing Martin Luther King informing the students of the freedom ride informing W-11 TRAM... and a clear line of thought: the conditions under which people meet shape their relations – so if people meet under an ethics of hospitality, their relationship may likely be ok, but when meeting in conditions of competition, the categories of race may be used to express hostility.

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