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May 19, 2009

Great Is Truth

Filed under: General — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 6:00 pm

Over the central doorway of the Forgan Smith Building at the University of Queensland is a quote that reads – “Great is truth and mighty above all things”. The line comes from the Bible’s Apocrypha – I Esdras 4:41. Its Latin equivalent is: Magna est veritas et praevalet, and for centuries appeared on army shields as the acronym M.V.P.

I spent the best part of 8 years at this university, finally leaving with a social work degree (not science) and this quote embedded in my psyche. The idea that truth does matter and is the only thing that can traverse death became an integral part of my worldview. Being honest and encouraging others to do the same was my way of putting the principle into practice – even though it caused me and those around me, all sorts of problems.

When life went horribly wrong in 1991, at the hands of those I most trusted, the need to communicate what really occurred was the only thing that kept me alive. I figured if I died, the other’s lies would have been my epitaph and no one would ever know what really happened to me.

Needless to say I was naive and a bit of a fool. What I didn’t understand, but soon learned, was that relatives (and friends) don’t necessarily care about the truth or want to know the truth. In my case, most of them chose to believe the lies being circulated because the lies were far easier to accept than having their illusion of reality shattered. The liar, who generated the lies, understood this principle well and milked the process for all it was worth. So much so, that even today, most of my family in Melbourne continues to believe this person’s misinformation about what happened in Brisbane in the 1990s – after all, lies are much easier to stomach and much more convenient to share, especially if the truth makes you look bad.

What pains me, is that experiences were turned into a “perspective” and suffering was made “invalid”, “covered up” or “erased” by both the liar and the believers of the lies. In spite of this, I have tried to treat everyone the same (both the good and the bad) and I have no intention of changing this approach. Contrary to popular opinion, I was not “brainwashed by anyone” or convinced to adopt my perspective, but have deliberately chosen not to lie about the events and not to protect the liar’s honour or hide their shameful actions.

I believe that one has to accept that certain things are right and certain things are wrong if one is to adhere to a civilised and moral code of conduct. I also believe that one needs to take responsibility for their actions and the consequences of those actions on others. Honesty should always be part of every human being’s way of life and people need to own up to having done something wrong; otherwise, trust can never develop between individuals.

As might be expected, trust no longer exists in the context I’ve described, and even though the path ahead of me looks no easier than the path behind me, I continue to denounce the lies created by both family and society in general. Presenting the truth is what I’ve come to stand for and if this upsets people (as it has done in the past), then so be it. Were I to cease presenting what I have witnessed, then what I went through in August 1991 (and since) will have been in vain!

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2009

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