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Paternalism, Petrol and Pedophilia

By Adrian Newstead  Posted by Richard Neville (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   2 comments
Message Richard Neville

Excuse me, but am I the only one that believes that behind John Howard's heavy-handed, decision to send the police and army in to remote Aboriginal communities in the name of ‘saving the children', is his belief that this is his ultimate vindication for having refused to say sorry for the stolen generation?

Maybe I've got it wrong but the sickening image on television of Howard gently holding a white as white baby over his shoulder with an oh-so-fatherly, worried and deeply nurturing look on his face said it all for me. You could almost hear him thinking ‘how could they treat their children so appallingly when we are so loving and caring and good at looking after our own.' Come to think of it, isn't that the very same card Honest John played in order to get elected during the Tampa ‘Children Overboard' campaign?

Am I the only one that sees the parallel between sending in the troops to find the missing Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the hunt for the missing Aboriginal paedophiles? In time it will be found that child abuse by Aboriginal people is no more prevalent, and probably less so, than in comparable predominantly white communities.

Like Iraq's neighbours, who actually do have nuclear capacities, most of the child abuse in Aboriginal communities will be found to have been perpetrated by a few sick white people, who supply community after community, with a lethal cocktail of drugs and prey on Aboriginal kids as they have since our pleasant little penal colony was established.

Am I the only one that believes that the Federal Government could have sat down with the NT government years ago and developed a comprehensive plan to tackle substance abuse and youth suicide, which would have seen police, health professionals and youth workers, mental health workers trained in Aboriginal customary law and social customs, and others co-operatively developing community management plans that addressed these problems that have, after so many years of Federal Government neglect, manifested into chronic epidemic proportions?

Am I the only one that doesn't see the proposed end of the permit system and the push to convince Aboriginal communities to sign 99 year leases as ideologically driven, and a blatant land grab by the Federal Government on behalf of a rampant and all but unstoppable bloated resource sector, determined to develop new uranium mines and dig untold riches from the only ground that remains in Aboriginal hands after 200 years of taking everything beginning with the most desirable land and working down?

Surely all thinking people see past Howard's blatant electioneering, and understand that whatever child abuse does exist is the result of the breakdown of the kinship system and simply one of the many outcomes of poverty, substance abuse and depression that builds and builds in a power vacuum. For twenty years, permit in my hand out of RESPECT for the wishes of traditional custodians, I have been going in and out of Aboriginal communities only to see people living in third world conditions due principally to constipated government and the welfare state. Report after report, expert after expert, has said all there should ever need to be said about the indescribably poor housing, education and health conditions of these communities.

In North East Arnhem Land 60 young people live in a large shed without any sanitary faculties next to the Alcoa mine site drinking polluted water and without a bus service - it's a $50 taxi ride in to town. On the Tiwi Islands youths climb up telegraph poles to electrocute themselves after a fight with a girlfriend. In Lajamanu and dozens of similar communities there is no education syllabus or school facilities for kids beyond 12 years of age.

The rampant substance abuse that is the most serious manifestation of years of poor education and lethargy, born of utter boredom in communities with nothing for young people to do, leads to an epidemic of youth suicide in community after community that have few if any professionals trained to deal with the outcomes. Almost without exception there are no youth workers or mental health workers in communities throughout the Northern Territory and the outback, while the Federal Government plays politics with the Territory, withholding its funding as its a political weapon.

In this environment we hear the reactionary cry ‘self determination has been a disaster', as if to say, they brought it on themselves by having the temerity to think that they could best handle their own problems. But what sort of self-determination did they get? The white bureaucracy created a black bureaucracy to interface with, because if its total inability to deal with Aboriginal society in a culturally appropriate way.

By robbing the Elders of their power, and enabling others to gain it through Land Council elections and through government intervention, they have completely undermined one of the absolute bedrocks of the indigenous social system. What point anymore when the old people have no authority? What point when fewer and fewer kids are made to go through the law? The emasculation of the male population is only matched in its destructiveness by the utter exhaustion of the women at seeing their society collapse and trying to pick up the pieces by nurturing and caring for the victims.

Enter Howard. Am I the only one who doubts that he will stick to this issue until ‘the job has been done', like in Iraq, and believes that it is far more likely that his commitment to right the wrongs born of 200 years of failure wont last longer then the next election?

Am I the only one disgusted that when Howard proposed sending the troops to Iraq hundreds of thousands of ‘decent' Australians marched through the streets, yet when he sends the troops in to our own Australian communities on a far less credible pretext hardly a soul is stirred?

Am I the only one who believes that this is still an incredibly racist country and that treating Aboriginal people in this way simply feeds their insecurity and builds on an inferiority complex born of a hundred years of disempowerment by paternalistic people just like you and me?

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Richard Neville has been a practicing futurist since 1963, when he launched the countercultural magazine, Oz, which widened the boundaries of free speech on two continents. He has written several books, including Playpower (71), the bio of a global (more...)
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