Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A fact's a fact

The time has come
To say fair's fair
To pay the rent
To pay our share
The time has come
A fact's a fact
It belongs to them
Let's give it back

How can we dance when our earth is turning
How do we sleep while our beds are burning
How can we dance when our earth is turning
How do we sleep while our beds are burning


In light of the current revelations (revelations which, I suspect strongly, every sentient human in Australia has an awareness of, at least on the periphery of their consciousness) detailing the horrific plight of our first Australians, I think it is important to step back from all the policy wonkery and come to an understanding of one simple thing. You can talk of law and order, you can discuss money and programs, you can convene endless committees and think tanks, but unless you change what's in the hearts of a great many Australians you'll never achieve much of anything.

The magical stories of the dreamtime, our first Australians' wealth of bush lore, and their amazing works of art - all that stuff is fascinating and should be embraced with the same vigor that, say, the New Zealanders embrace the Maori culture. When Australians travel world wide they should feel proud that Aboriginal culture is their culture - it should be a point of honor. We should look history in the eye and admit, honestly, that we've very nearly decimated the first custodians of this country.

Until our first Australians occupy a special place in our national consciousness there will be no policy, financial expenditure, or ideology that can help them. Embracing aboriginal folk will not be an easy process. There will be a lot of painful reflection required on all sides. But with an economy that is booming, and with our recent budget offering generous tax cuts for a large chunk of people, surely we can't accept indigenous infant mortality at rates three times higher than that of the Anglo population, or adult mortality that regularly occurs twenty years earlier than the national mean.

John Howard says that he doesn't want to embrace a "black armband view of history." When John Howard refused to say sorry he became a black armband on our history. Our first Australians are at the root of our culture, and their ancestors sit at the dawn of our nation's bloody history whether we like it or not.

Update: Reader Anthony recommends an article from The Australian that puts the issue into perspective.

4 comments:

Anthony said...

Hey, just came across your site.

I recommend Phillip Adams' latest column, which was in 'The Australian' today.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,19296886-12272,00.html

Australia needs to re-focus. We need to get back to pursuing reconciliation, which was successfully blown out the window by this government.

Don Quixote said...

You're right about that Anthony; however I fear that in our current age neither government, Liberal or Labor, will be capable of realigning people's perceptions.

Freedom Jack said...

It was very convenient for so many countires to point their finger at South Africa and damn "apartheid" while they were committing genocide and horrific acts of cruelty towards their fellow countrymen in their own back yards!

Wasn't it?

Australians, Americans......all hypocrites!

Don Quixote said...

There is certain hypocrisy there, Freedom Jack, you're right about that.