Sunday, May 27, 2007

40 years on - J'accuse

Referendum baby (Source:National Museum of Australia)

I can't help but wonder what there is to celebrate about the fact that it was only 40 years ago that we decided to acknowledge that the First Australians were human beings. It was, after all, 22 years after the demise of Nazi Germany and the failure of our own 'final solution' (a phrase in common use in 1930's Australia) was due more to our inefficiency compared to Germany than any moral fibre we possessed. As I recall, the 90% vote was as much a repudiation of the more embarrassing vestiges of the White Australia Policy than out of any real concern for the status the First Australians.

At the time the Gurindji people had just begun their walk-off from Wave Hill to assert that, after 180 odd years, the colonists had not destroyed all resistance. In 1967 Bill Stanner called the Gurindji walkoff 'a little miracle' in his lectures describing the 'great Australian silence' about the absence of the First Australians in our Colonial histories.

The struggle to reclaim this land from the colonists continues to this day with little success. The misnamed Native Title Act has become nothing more than a way of legalising the continuing theft of land by the colonizers. As Marandoo Yanner put it the other day, "For every [square]kilometer we've gained we've lost 100 square kilometres".

Instead of Native Title being something worth valuing and respecting it has been universally seen as a problem by the comprador class led by John Howard, the traitor. I accuse him of high treason.

When this country is invaded by the next colonial empire they will turn around to us all and say your title only exists in the 'crown' of some old empire. How can you demand that we respect your backyards and your farms when you have shown no obligation to settle with your own people. This is the great travesty that has been wrought over the last 12 years by this cowardly little man beholden to no Australian cause. This man has betrayed us all irrespective of our antecedents. Sure he has had allies on both sides of politics but it has been his desire to live in the lotus land of the present, recognizing no past and no future, that has called the tune.

What sort of country are we that celebrates our soldiers acting as mercenaries ('lest we forget' indeed) and despises and forgets those people who have fought and died defending it's own shores over the last 200 years?
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