The film ‘Mabo’ directed by Rachel Perkins, is a triumphant account of Eddie Koiki Mabo’s strengths, determination and his historical battle to have Indigenous ownership of Australian land. Although he does not have a perfect personality, in some cases, his defect still helps him a lot. Because of his intolerance, he is always energetic to fight for his goal; because of his idealism, he always believe his own values and beliefs; because of his stubborn characteristic, he finally finishes his decade long battle. Eddie’s unique personality is one of the important factor which leads to his achievements.
Eddie is an agitated people which becomes the fundamental for his historical battle. Through the film, we can clearly see that Eddie is very easy to be outrage by anything which challenges his ‘pride’ in his mind even includes his family but not just the discrimination from the white society. Eddie always shows his activism through many overt behaviors which even affect his own family for example the night when he is been lock up because of his single protest with a sign ‘I’m not leaving here till I get a drink’ after he was kicked out the bar as an Indigenous people which he is proud of. The following day he quits his job because ‘they cut my [his] pay. Put me [him] on the shore with a stinkin’ sledgehammer’ although he was just locked up for whole night yesterday. His agitation and careless brings many troubles includes both ways of incomes and family relationship to his family, making their happiness on the blink of destruction.
There has a very impressive scene which clearly portrays Eddie’s anger to his wife Bonita Mabo which leads her to leave just because she asks to go to toilet when Eddie is grumble about his case although she already listens to him for hours. As a husband and father, he is not good enough, however, his goal will less possible to achieve if he is a good family man. As we can remember, Eddie shows his pride when he was still on Murray Island. He chose to be a exile rather than a ‘slave’ for Killoran although his father clearly remains him that the young people go to mainland forgot their homeland. This action stops him to come back his homeland again in his life but it also gives him a chance to step into a larger community in order to lead him to his way. Not only leading him to his goal, his activism also transforms many discriminations from the white community to his energy. Whatever the march that he does or the school that he makes are from Eddie’s activism and agitation which because of the injustice of The Indigenous that he chooses to against for. Just because of his intolerance to the prejudice that shown by his surrounding environment, he chooses to fight back as a ‘troublemaker’.
His overt confidence and idealism are also the spotlight of his characteristic. As we know, Eddie is a troublemaker who even brings the death threaten to his own family because of his overt activism; it just like a signal from government for warning him to stop what he is doing. However he still continues his case although he clearly knows that his family is in danger, still believing that he can protect them if it is the time. We cannot say he does not care about his family but in fact, his overt confidence is already put his family into dangerous. But everything will always has two sides. We can still remember the excited face when Eddie arrives home after he finally put Queensland Government on to High Court and states ‘I’m gonna make history. I am the son of Benny Mabo. I am a Meriam man from the Piaderem clan. I am the descendant of the Aiet, and the zogo le. And I’m gonna make history.’
This saying greatly demonstrate his super confidence which gives him courage to do and finish the thing that no one can do. If he does not hold this special personality, people around him will not be infected by him and always be with him, especially Bonita Mabo. As a traditional Indigenous woman, what she wants at fist is just a normal but happiness life which is totally different with what Eddie think, but after more connection and understanding between each other, she is slowly affected by his husband’s strong belief and finally become the staunch supporter of Eddie which shows by the scene when they dance together in their school, she replies ‘I know, darling’ to Eddie’s saying ‘I can’t stop’. Eddie’s overt idealism together with his capability always give himself enough confidence which also gain supports from other people for himself.
Eddie is a stubborn person with no doubt which causes both achievement and problem. Eddie is a man who will never change if he decides something whatever it will take any influence to him, for example his cancer. Although probably it is no possible to cure from any kinds of cancer, but he might have a much longer and comfortable life with his family if he goes to see doctor timely and less running around for his case. At the middle of the film, we can see Eddie’s health is decreasing day by day, and the scene that Eddie ingurgitates the medicine roughly but it just can less painful and no more help; obviously, the medicine is not for cancer. Although Eddie is too painful to stand by the cancer, he just rejects his son’s hand and suggestion, standing for his own mind.
His success is partly leaded by his healthy life. However he will not been remember by history if he is a ‘easy-going’ person. There is a fact we must know that his heroic battle is continuing for ten years and never stop because he aims his goal and trying his best to achieve it. Through the whole film, we can see that Eddie is slowly developed form a teenager to a hero which together with the turning gray from black of his hair in the process of his case. At the last part of the film which portrays Eddie’s endeavor in his final period of life, he still insists his land right case and try to go to court every time with Bonita. Even when he lies down in hospital, having no energy to stand by himself, he still worry about his case all the time although his battle is not just bring cancer, the only problem to him. His stubborn is one of the element which affect both his family and health, but his win, is been remember by everyone.
Eddie is not a perfect man; his idealism, activism and stubbornness leads his life to be tortuous but extraordinary. We cannot argue that he does not have any flaws, but we must acknowledge that his weakness, make his success.