Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Capitalist press lies about opposition to NT "Intervention"

Once again the capitalist press is doing a number on Aboriginal Australians, alleging that the women of the Yuendumu community in the Northern Territory told Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin that they “support the Intervention”. Macklin was at Yuendumu to open a new swimming pool, funding of which predates the intervention..

Articles in both the Sydney Morning Herald (http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/10/27/1224955948648.html ) and the Age
(http://www.theage.com.au/national/intervention-goes-swimmingly-in-the-tanami-20081027-59t8.html) by Russell Skelton begin as follows:

PEGGY BROWN, OAM, has no doubts about the emergency intervention or having half her income managed. "It's working, no doubt about it," she said.

The traditional owner delivered much the same message to the Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin, when they met for private talks yesterday.

Skelton then concludes that the Intervention had split the indigenous community on gender lines: “The Walpiri community is split over the intervention on gender lines: the men, led by community spokesman Ned Hargraves, are bitterly opposed to income management and the women swear by it.”

All this type of misleading garbage does is to reinforce for white Australians the Big Lie that was advanced by Howard as justification for his destruction of NT land rights, namely, that all Aboriginal men are paedophiles or wife-bashers with a vested interest in opposing the Intervention.

Two things need to be said immediately: Firstly, Peggy was planning to give back her OA Medal to Macklin until the Intervention is stopped! Her speech at the pool opening was cut short by white staff running the pool opening because it was too fiery! Secondly, a journalist for rival paper the Australian, who also printed that "women like the Intervention", got given a copy of the petition Yuendumu people gave to Macklin - which included 236 signatures and more than half of these were women. Community members are pretty sure (but not certain) that Skelton saw it as well.

The full text of the statement that accompanied the petition presented to Macklin by Harry Nelson, former Yuendumu Council President, and signed by the 236 residents in a meeting of the community before the Minister opened the new Yuendumu pool, reads in full:

We, the residents of Yuendumu, want you to listen to the following statement and take our message back to the Federal and NT Governments:

When John Howard and Mal Brough lost their seats, we were happy. But now you are doing the same thing to us, piggybacking Howard and Brough’s policies, and we feel upset, betrayed and disappointed.

We don't want this intervention!

We talked to the Review board, and now the Government is not even listening to the report, and is keeping this intervention going almost unchanged. It is an insult to us.

This is our land. We want the Government to give it back to us. We want the Government to stop blackmailing us. We want houses, but we will not sign any leases over our land, because we want to keep control of our country, our houses, and our property.

We say NO to income management. We can look after our own money.

We want the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 reinstated now, not in 12 months.

The Government Business Manager is useless, expensive, and we don't need them. We want our community councils back instead. We want community control, not Shires. We don’t want more police, we don’t want more contractors, we don’t want more government people.

Everything is coming from the outside, from the top down. The government is abusing us with this intervention. We want to be re-empowered to make our own decisions and control our own affairs. We want self-determination. We want support, funding and resources for things coming from our community, from the inside.

Yuendumu has a lot of things to be proud of. Our community programs, like the Mt Theo program, the bilingual education program, Warlpiri media, the Old People’s program, Warlukurlunga arts centre, childcare, the youth program, should be supported, celebrated, and used as a model for other communities.

We want to keep our bilingual education program and use our own language to teach English, maths, and other things in schools.

We want you to give us respect and dignity, and stop telling lies about our people.

We want the Government to listen to us, talk with us, consult with us, and do things proper way.

According to locals, people in the Yuendumu community are “very, very angry”, one describing the reportage as “perhaps the most insidious piece of propaganda I have seen since the Intervention started.”

The "Intervention" must be repealed, the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 restored, and the recommendations of the Little Children Are Sacred Report, shamefully ignored by both the Howard and Rudd governments, fully implemented!

1 comment:

Mike said...

Yuendumu video -- "The Intervention is rubbish"
Bob Gosford writes from Yuendumu:

As Crikey reported on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday last week, there has been some controversy about the conduct of and reports by some members of the media that traveled to Yuendumu to cover the opening of the new local swimming pool.

Not least of these was a quote that The Age journalist Russell Skelton attributed in his article "Intervention Goes Swimmingly In The Tanami" to a local elder, Peggy Nampijinpa Brown OAM, concerning the conduct of the Macklin NT Intervention and related income quarantining:

"It's working, no doubt about it," she said.

Nampijinpa maintains that they are not her words. Russell Skelton and others say they are.

On Friday last week Nampijinpa, her friend and translator, Valerie Napaljarri Martin, and other locals went to the local PAW Media to clarify what Nampijinpa said and to express local community attitudes to Macklin's Intervention.

The videos they recorded were made for local consumption, but, like all material on the web, is available to all. Nampijinpa speaks straight and strong to the camera for 10 minutes in Warlpiri. Crikey does not have access to an English translation of Nampijinpa's statement in Warlpiri but for the last four minutes of her video Nampijinpa's words are translated into English by Valerie Napaljarri Martin. Nampijinpa holds a copy of her Statement of last week while Napaljarri translates:

Nobody told me what to do. These are my own words -- what I said in Warlpiri -- it is here in Warlpiri and at the bottom is translated into English. Nobody never tell me, it is all my own knowledge from my mind and from my heart. Leave us alone, don't tell us what to do. The Intervention is rubbish. We don't want that. Leave us alone, don't humbug us. This is our community. We don't want any Intervention. Us old women, we don't want it.

Francis Jupurrula Kelly is an actor and media worker at PAW Media. It is usual practice at PAW Media (commonly still called by its previous name, Warlpiri Media) to record important local meetings for later narrowcast broadcasting on the local Yuendumu TV channel.

Last Monday, at the invitation of local representatives attending the meeting, PAW set up to record the meeting between Macklin and local representatives. As Jupurrula explains:

It's not for anybody, it is just for the local news. Where people in the community. missed out, they might want to ask questions about it. I just want to ask (Minister) Macklin, why did (s)he throw those media, especially Warlpiri Media, out. That's the question I wanted to ask Macklin, "Why?" We had a bad feeling that she don't want to tell the truth, she just want to play games with us. That is why I think Macklin didn't want to be caught on local film on (Warlpiri) Media side. We are the local media and we wanted to broadcast for our people, for our evidence.

Harry Jakamarra Nelson attended the meeting with Macklin and presented a petition with the signatures of 236 Yuendumu residents to the Minister:

I was present at that meeting and I was the one who presented the Minister
(Macklin) the statement signed by most of the residents of Yuendumu about.asking her to pull back the Intervention ... As Francis Kelly asked before, why didn't she want the media present at the meeting? She must have been hiding something that she didn't want to be recorded.

Ned Jampijinpa Hargraves is the Community Liaison officer for the new Central Desert Shire:

Minister Macklin came to Yuendumu to officially open the swimming pool.
She mentioned that the Intervention is working. From our side, we strongly say to Jenny Macklin that she is wrong and she's not listening to us and the view that was given the (Peter Yu) review mob. We are strongly saying to her that we do not want the Intervention. It is splitting us. It is dividing us from our family members. We are saying to you right now, on behalf of my community I'm saying "You are dividing us, and we are not happy with you.
You are insulting us. We don't need this. Stop what you are doing, because it is hurting us."

Those are the words of the Yuendumu community available from the Yapa-kurlangu vodcast website.

Last Thursday Russell Skelton in an article, "Intervention Row Simmers After Support Disputed" published in The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Georgina Wilson of the Yuendumu Women's Centre:

I was there. I heard her say that intervention had been good; it had been good to have intervention at the store, to have income management. People are putting pressure on Peggy to change her story. She has been caught in the middle. It's most unfortunate that all people want to do is play politics and don't see what benefits Aboriginal people.

In her video Nampijinpa holds Russell Skelton's article published in The Age of last week, "Intervention goes swimmingly in the Tanami" in which she claims Skelton misquoted her:

That's what they wrote . that's what they wrote. They said the Intervention is working for us. It's not. It's not working for us. I didn't even say that. It was all about (the) pool. To open the pool for kids to swim in. I didn't say anything about the Intervention.