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Ted Szukalski

Gallery of fine art photography.

Homeless man teaches tolerance and acceptance


When I first spotted this homeless man at the famous Martin Place fountain, I knew he was a real character by the way he was dressed alone. Little did I know that few minutes later this homeless man will be teaching tolerance and acceptance to a large crowd of people.

Today, an ethnic and religious group has organised a protest / campaign for their alleged prosecution. No, they are not prosecuted here in Australia and no, no one interferes with their religious believes. After all Australia is a free, democratic country.

This group of people was protesting events in another country – their homeland as I was told. They are very well organised and persistent. They stage these protests very often. They are often dressed in traditional outfits, have number of speakers and often some entertainment. They have thousands of leaflets to give out to the passers by.

Almost nobody takes these leaflets from them, even though it is hard to pass Martin Place between Pitt Street and Castlereagh Street without passing at least 20 outstreatched hands handling the leaflets out.

Why don’t people take them? Perhaps because their large posters are mainly in another language and only small text in English. Perhaps because their issue is somewhere else, in another country, another reality and Australians at large often tend to think immigrants should leave their issues at the border and enjoy the life here as it is.

Enter Mr. Tollerance as I have called this homeless man. While the protesters were trying to hand out their message he approached them with a stack of his own leaflets. None of the protesters would listen to him or accept the leaflet. Why? Did he look storage, perhaps foreign to them? Were they uncomfortable with his peculiar attire?

The organisers of the event should have watched this man with a lot of interest, as their participants treated him the way most of the Sydney crowd treated them. Tolerance and acceptance are indeed hard to learn.