Eddie gets a compliment

December 10, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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During the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards virtual event, Scott Morrison spoke in glowing terms of 100-yr-0ld Eddie Jaku.

Eddie Jaku

The PM made the point that COVID had introduced more books to more readers during the time when Australians were housebound.

He said: “They’re discovering the remarkable insights that books offer.

Books like The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku released only a few months ago. A truly great book. It’s Eddie’s first work, he’s 100 years of age.

You are never too old to tell a story.

Eddie’s is a harrowing but hopeful story. Of life in Nazi concentration camps. Of surviving Auschwitz and the holocaust. Of losing family.

And despite the deprivations, Eddie never lost his faith in humanity or the importance of friendship. At war’s end, Eddie found himself a home in Australia where he was welcomed with open arms.

He called our country the working man’s paradise: a land where opportunities abound. But there was one thing Eddie said that really struck me.

For years, he never wanted to tell his story. It was just simply too painful. But he realised that if he didn’t, his story would be lost, and with it would go the chance to make the world a better place, his ambition.

That’s the power that stories have.

And this means we are now sharing stories that struggled to be heard for so long. When these stories are told our Australian history is preserved, it’s enriched, and that rich mosaic of what it means to be Australian shines ever more brighter.

With it, the canon of our national life grows. Those stories become part of who we are. And they make us a stronger, a richer nation.

We are a country that believes passionately in the freedom of ideas, of speech and expression.

Australia is a place where ideas come from across a very broad spectrum, they intermingle, they co-exist. Even when they may be at odds with each other.

It’s why for people like Eddie, Australia was heaven after the awfulness and the atrocities of the Holocaust.

A place where people are accepted, no matter who you are, no matter your race, your first language, your creed, your background, your ethnicity.”

In a final word to authors, Scott Morrison said: “So keep telling your stories. Keep reflecting and shaping the character of our nation.”

When Eddie Jaku heard he had been a highlight of the Prime Minister’s address, he told J-Wire: “I am very flattered.”

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