Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Recolonizing Australia...or why Trojan horses never say "sorry"

Recolonizing Australia? It does not seem likely given that for Aboriginals in Australia, colonialism never ended. However, some extra inches were hard won in terms of limited land rights for select communities, limited degrees of self-determination, and landmark court victories. Perhaps this is why the right wing government of Prime Minister John Howard has joined what appears to be a growing international anti-indigenous movement in clawing back indigenous rights. This is the government that has steadfastly refused to ever say "sorry" for the genocidal acts inflicted upon Aboriginals, such as having generations of their children forcibly removed and schooled in Euro-Australian institutions. Speaking for myself, as a non-Aboriginal, I would have thought that "sorry," after decades of genocide, would be belittling and humiliating, a slap in the face given the minor and trivial nature of a mere apology. So imagine the characters of these persons who think "sorry" is too much to offer.

As if living out his fantasy for a "final solution" for Aboriginal Australia, PM Howard has used the excuse of a report of abuse of children in the Northern Territory to do what? To send in troops, police, ill prepared bureaucrats, and unmarried doctors to check on the integrity of the genitalia of Aboriginal children. More than that, the Howard government has taken control of 73 Aboriginal townships, compelling them to submit to leasing their territories for five years. The central government needs to take over land to stop child abuse? More than that even, non-Aboriginals no longer require permits to enter Aboriginal territories--what this means is that, ironically, sex tourists who fancy Aboriginal children can now have a go. Alcohol and pornography are to be banned, and yet most Aboriginals who drink do their drinking in white-owned establishments in towns, not in their territories. Troops to prevent Aboriginals from sexually abusing their children? And yet the report that offered this entry point for Howard indicated that non-Aboriginals had also sexually abused Aboriginal children. The same "Little Children Are Sacred" report listed 97 prescriptions for tackling child abuse, and not one of them involved troops, land takeovers, or scrapping the permit system.

Howard's concern for child welfare is more than just questionable. After all, this is the same Prime Minister who locked up Afghan children fleeing the Taliban along with their parents in desolate, blazingly hot prison camps in the outback, in places such as Woomera in South Australia. Afghans fleeing the Taliban pre-2001 were labelled "economic opportunists," but suddenly, after September 11, 2001, the same John Howard was the first to offer troops to support a US invasion of Afghanistan, and the Taliban suddenly really were "evil." In Australia, an Aboriginal child received a prison sentence for stealing magic markers, called "texters" in Australia, under a "three strikes" policy since he had stolen minor items before. As we all know, prisons are ideal places for rehabilitating disadvantaged children. Now they can all live in prison once more.

No other people in Australia--and child abuse is not a monopoly of Aboriginals, needless to say--suffers troops in their homes to deal with their domestic crises. Aboriginals are being singled out for special treatment indeed, as children, as cripples, and as wards.

This latest Trojan horse does not come to say "sorry," it comes to say "I am here to look after the welfare of your little ones."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great seems also they is an effort to tie in welfare payments to alcohol consumption..imagine if they applied this to the total australian population..there would be the most incredible indignation but people are willing to do this to aborigine people.i visited australia on a few occaisons
and was appalled by the unapolegitic racism there compounded by the fact the same people making racist comments against aborigines would be the first to turn around and try and sell you digerodoos or aborigine designs on t shirts