Thursday, June 28, 2007

Smash the “Iraq” solution to indigenous problems

Proving yet again that he is the worst Prime Monster in Australian history, John Howard has seized on the deplorable state of remote aboriginal communities to once again play the race card prior to a federal election.

British imperialism invaded the aboriginal lands of Australia from 1788 onwards. Violence, or the threat of violence, was the core factor in the “settlement” of Australia by the British.

Indigenous Australians carry with them on a daily basis the devastating effects of the loss of their land.

With the release of the report Little Children Are Sacred, the Prime Monster has found a way of grabbing the moral high ground from his Labor opponent (are they really in different parties?) Kevin Rudd.

Howard’s response to the report on the sexual abuse of aboriginal children is like his craven support for the US imperialist invasion of Iraq. Things can be settled by the imposition of force from outside. There is no need to respect or understand the viewpoint of those whom we are “saving” – might makes right!

And so we have the first contingent of Federal police - to be joined by members of the armed forces – “farewelled” from Canberra as they leave for remote Northern Territory aboriginal communities. It’s like farewelling the Sudan Contingent in 1885 (see left).

Then Aboriginal Affairs Minister Brough, who has an armed forces background, tried to calm fears of what might happen when the taskforce arrives by declaring that the first task will be to “secure the sites”. Isn’t this what we did so brilliantly in Vietnam, and now Iraq and Afghanistan? It is language that is appropriate to a state of war with a foreign power, and not to the processes required for solving problems in indigenous communities within our own country.

Howard is imposing two “invasives” on indigenous communities: personally invasive body inspections of children under 16, and territorially invasive practices of denying indigenous communities the right to traditional lands and who can enter them.

Behind all of this stand the giant mining and other companies who want to have unfettered access to aboriginal lands.

It is shameful that a Government that states its intention to protect aboriginal children from paedohiles, sly grog merchants, dope and porn peddlers immediately removes the permit system that enabled aboriginal communities to have some say on who entered their communities.

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