Monday, April 22, 2013

Pyne uses Anzac Day to revive racist cultural war

Federal Opposition spokesman on education, Christopher Pyne, has stated that a future Liberal government would review elements of the new Australian Curriculum that presented a "black armband view" of Australia's history.

He said that the federal coalition wants to "restore the importance of the Anzac story in school history classes"

By attempting to score brownie points with racist and conservative Australians, Pyne has only revealed his own ignorance of history, including the Anzac tradition.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women, having been subjected to the violence and frontier warfare of colonisation, nevertheless served in the Australian armed forces in every conflict in which they have been involved.

Once these conflicts were over, these sae ATSI service people were thrown back into civilian life as second class citizens.
According to the website

They were not only denied the recognition afforded to non-indigenous soldiers but also the same rights their comrades in arms were granted. They did not receive a war pension, were not allowed to join RSL clubs and some men even came back to find their children had been taken from them.

The nephew of Australia's most famous Aboriginal soldier, Captain Reg Saunders MBE, said when his uncle came back from serving in Korea, "he couldn't even get a beer in a pub, let alone a pension, and he wasn't permitted to become a citizen until 1968".
Precisely because ATSI people and their supporters have brought the black history of this country out into the light of day - the so-called "black armband view" that Pyne decries – some justice is now being done to the service record of Indigenous Australians.

For example, in South Australia, the RSL, Reconciliation Australia and the Council of Elders of South Australia, with the support of the state government, have commissioned a sculpture of a black serviceman and a black servicewoman to be erected at Adelaide’s Torrens Parade Ground.

Among those involved in this project is Bill Hignett, a Vietnam veteran and union organiser, who is a member of Reconciliation SA.

Hignett, and others like him, give the lie to Pyne’s attempt to pit the spirit of Anzac Day against due recognition of past and present injustices to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

A black service person with a chest full of medals is fully entitled to wear a black armband in memory of the victims of the colonial wars for the conquest of his or her traditional lands.

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