The end of the climb

Imagine, if you will, someone visiting the sacred flame at the gravesite of John F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery, and then the visitor pulls out some graham crackers and marshmallows to make some s’mores over the open flame.  That would be disgusting and offensive.

Imagine, if you will, someone visiting the Sistine Chapel – to then build a scaffold to the ceiling, scamper up, and take a selfie with Michelangelo’s artwork.  That would be offensive.

Yesterday, something as equally offensive came to an end.

The climbing of Uluru.

For those who do not know their world geography, Uluru is a gigantic rock formation in the center of Australia.  It is a center of worship and faith for over 40,000 years by the first people of Australia.

But for a time, Uluru was once known as Ayers Rock, and among the various things one could do when visiting the structure was to climb up on top of it.  This wasn’t like climbing Mt. Everest or El Capitan, this was essentially a glorified hike to the top of the rock.

This was considered disrespectful and insulting to those who consider Uluru sacred ground.  Heck, even calling it Ayers Rock – as in naming the area after the white men who first came to Australia – was considered disrespectful and insulting.

On October 26, 2019, the climbing of Uluru ended.  Safety chains and walking fences will be removed from the rock.  Decades of disrespect and garbage and human erosion ended that day.

In 1981, the Australian band Goanna recorded the seminal rock track “Solid Rock,” which brought news of the plight of Uluru to the world.  Thirty years afterward, Shane Howard re-recorded “Solid Rock” with an all-star choir of Australian music legends and songwriters of the first people.

In 2019, to commemorate the end of the Uluru climb, Shane Howard collaborated with Anangu elder Uncle Trevor Adamson to record a new song, “Palya Wiru Uluru,” and will release this song and the 2012 all-star version of “Solid Rock” on a two-song EP.

The two-song EP is available for digital download by clicking on this link.  “Palya Wiru Uluru” is not a protest song against the climb, but instead is a reclamation song, to introduce the world to the beauty of Uluru and its surrounding lands.

We are an evolving world.  We are an elevated species.  We don’t need the abuses and inconsiderations of those who didn’t understand.  That’s why we don’t use elephants in circuses any more.  It’s why we don’t have minstrel shows.  It’s time to show respect.

It’s time to understand.

Because what you will learn …

You can never un-learn.