Monday, July 02, 2007

Germaine Greer on Australia's attack on Aboriginals

Prime Minister Howard has launched a massive totalitarian crackdown on Australian Aboriginals. Germaine Greer responds in the Guardian
Ever since white men set foot in Australia more than 200 years ago, they have persecuted, harassed, tormented and tyrannised the people they found there. The more cold-blooded decided that the most humane way of dealing with a galaxy of peoples who would never be able to adapt to the "whitefella" regime was to eliminate them as quickly as possible, so they shot and poisoned them. Others believed that they owed it to their God to rescue the benighted savage, strip him of his pagan culture, clothe his nakedness, and teach him the value of work. Leaving the original inhabitants alone was never an option; learning from them was beyond any notion of what was right and proper. As far as the pink people were concerned, black Australians were primitive peoples, survivors from the stone age in a land that time forgot.

Any hopes that this attitude might have changed were dashed two weeks ago, when Prime Minister John Howard announced a new crusade. Following a report calling for action on child abuse in Aboriginal communities, he announced a six-month ban on alcohol and pornography within the homelands, compulsory medical checks for indigenous children and restrictions on welfare payments. As commander-in-chief of an army of police, the Australian Defence Force and hordes of doctors and nurses, he will storm the 70 or so autonomous Aboriginal settlements in the Northern Territory. He can do this because the Northern Territory, having failed in a recent, rather half-hearted bid for statehood, is directly administered by the Australian government. For Aboriginal people, Howard's edict is just another sudden and draconian shift in the law as it relates to them; just another pillar in a lifetime of being shoved from pillar to post.


Theo said...

You don't know what you are on about...

Greer is nothing more than an attention seeking schmuck. Her "argument" is filled with fallacies. Instead of listening to an upper class white woman who doesn't even live in Australia, who thinks that indigenous Australians should still live as "noble savages", or the other pathetic and predictable critics, you should try some Noel Pearson:

I'm amazed that anybody would put the protection of children secondary to anything, particularly when those children are subject to imminent abuse, abuse that takes place on a regular basis that's the subject of binge drinking, week in, week out. I'm just amazed that anybody would put the protection of children secondary to anything else. I think that those who have objections to immediate intervention have to ask themselves whether they're willing this whole exercise to fail, and geez, if you're willing the whole exercise to fail, what kind of priorities do you have in relation to the wellbeing of Indigenous children?

...let's understand that everything happens within a political context. Of course this is a political context. Of course we don't like that person and we don't, we don't like that party and we don't - we suspect that person's motives and so on, but geez, the imperative here is the protection of our children and we as Indigenous people have got to ask ourselves the hard question - do we put the protection of our children ahead of everything else? Ahead of the fact - ahead of the question as to whether we like the Prime Minister, or we don't like the Prime Minister, or we like that Government or we don't like that Government.

I mean, quite frankly I couldn't care less whether John Howard or Kevin Rudd ruled this world. My priority is to take advantage for immediate intervention for the protection of children.

...There is within every community good people, and it's an absolutely shameful thing that those good people are misled by people whose children sleep safely at night. You know, that's the horrendous thing here. That the people who are nay saying any kind of intervention are people whose children, like my own, sleep safely at night. And I think that's a terrible indulgence.

When our children sleep safely at night, we seek to put road blocks in the way and we wish failure, we wish failure upon any decisive action that's going to deliver some relief of suffering to vulnerable children.

If you have the stomach for it, read this interview transcript from Lateline last year. It covers some examples of abuse in detail. Perhaps Germaine should have read it too...

Here's one sample:

...the two-year-old was playing outside with some other children. Her mother was away from the house, drunk in a small town. The offender woke up, took the small child, carried it out bush, had the child out bush for some hours. Undressed the child and inserted, simultaneously, two fingers in her vagina and two fingers in her anus and moved his fingers up and down a number of times causing injuries. He then - I'm sorry, he had his trousers off while this was happening. Then he placed the child on his lap and had his penis next to the child's vagina and tried to masturbate and so on. And eventually returned the child back to his father's camp. He was carrying the child with its legs on the side. The child was crying throughout the assault. The child was still crying and bleeding. He handed the child to his drunken father. He himself had been drinking. The father then took the child back to the area that the child had been removed from and when the mother returned from town, where she'd been drinking, the child was crying and the other children indicated that the offender had taken her away some time before and it was then that the bleeding and so on was noticed in her nappy.

That's not the worst.

Cliff said...

Clearly then the solution is to treat them all like criminals, use this as an excuse to attack native land rights and trust one of the politicians responsible for so much of their misery to solve everything with an insulting patriarchal response that ignores all the suggestions made in the report that started all this.

Good plan.

Stephen said...

Well, Theo, I am sure you could obtain equally distressing testimony by interviewing a white victim of child abuse but I doubt you would be defending the prohibition of alcohol or adult pornography for all white people that you are defending for aboriginals.

The text you quote is a classic piece of brain dead hysteria that we in the UK got to see first hand in the aftermath the Dublane massacre. "I'm amazed that anybody would put the protection of children secondary to anything" Really? So protection of children comes before habeus corpus, the right of due process of law, the right to a private life, indeed any of the rights that we would normally ascribe to a liberal democracy? By elevating the protection of children above all else, you therefore legitimise any response, no-matter how disproportionate or wrong-headed. Given the forced adoptions of aboriginal children - no doubt justified by the same kind of disingenuous child protection argument used now - aboriginals have good cause to suspect the motives of their 'protectors' in the white government of Australia.

Popular Posts