Graeme' Message, 24 July 2014

Dear Rotarians and friends

Awaking last Friday to the sickening news regarding Malaysian Flight MH 17 and that the aircraft had been hit by a surface-to-air missile was a blunt reminder of man’s inhumanity to man. 

Simultaneously we heard of increasing conflict on the Gaza Strip and the death of innocent people including children. We can only hope that a peaceful solutions will eventually be found.

Both events can be viewed with the despair that Oscar Wilde expressed: 

“It often happens that the real tragedies of life occur in such an inartistic manner that they hurt us by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of style”.

Many in our community will be touched by the MF 17 disaster and to all families and friends of victims, we express our deepest sympathy.

On Rotary matters.

Last Thursday we welcomed DG Murray Verso and Irene to our meeting. The Board met with Murray and AG Austen Burleigh reviewing our plans for 2014-15 and a positive response was received. 

Prior to Murray’s presentation, our Past President Ejanul Haque was asked to talk briefly on “What Rotary Means Me”. He explained when he came to Australia, he missed the family support he had left in India. Through the warm welcome he experienced from George Kerry Snr, he was introduced to Rotary and then he felt he had an “Australian” family. Ejanul has certainly made a significant contribution to that “family”.

In his address DG Murray explained why he loved Rotary and gave examples of his experiences including: hosting Exchange Students, visiting ANZAC Cove with Turkish Rotarians, seeing public toilets being built in villages, attending District Conferences and RI Conventions, and last year attending the District Governor Conference in the US.

In addition, he spoke of the successful Rotary Eye Project in India, building of toilet blocks in villages, and that Rotary was instrumental in the eradication of polio from 99% of the globe, and these were significant Rotary achievements of which he was very proud.

Whilst Rotary is comprised of committed individuals who “get things done”, Murray challenged members with their commitment to the club asking “were they participants or observers?” He reminded us of to respond to RI President’s theme of “Light up Rotary” and I believe our plans for the year are focussed on doing just that.

We welcomed Alphonso, our new Exchange Student from Spain, and look forward to getting to know him over the next few months.

Further to Jamie Robertson’s comments last week, there has been communication from Brightside School in Ethiopia indicating a wish to partner with our club on the “Oral Health” project that Jamie proposed following his visit late last year.

Lastly but not least, Jama Farah and I are trying to facilitate the treatment of a lad from Dijbouti with an eye tumour to come to Western Health for treatment. He will be supported by the Ethiopian Community who have raised funds for his airfare.

Have a good week ahead.