08 | 03

The finger puppet of fickle fate

Categories: Accountability, ACT Government, Australian Federal Police, Corruption, Discrimination/Racism, Equality, Equality of opportunity, Government, Hypocrisy, Justice, Law Enforcement, Rule of Law

by: Bakchos
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Memory is a funny thing. When I was in the scene I hardly paid any attention. I never stopped to think of it as something that would make a lasting impression, certainly never imagined that 18 years later I would recall it in such detail. I didn’t give a damn about the scenery that day. I was thinking about myself. I was thinking about the beautiful girl walking next to me. I was thinking about the two of us together, and then about myself again. I was at that age, that time of life when every sight, every feeling, every thought came back, like a boomerang, to me. And worse, I was in love. Love with complications. Scenery was the last thing on my mind.

Haruki Murakami, (1987), Norwegian Wood (trans. Jay Rubin, 2000).

My internet ‘voice’ has been silent for the last few weeks as I have been busy finalising parts of my thesis and organising the documents I’m intending to place before the United Nations in support of my allegations of racism against the Australian Federal Police (“AFP”), the Australian Government and the Australian Capital Territory (“ACT”) Government, which incidentally goes to the polls in October.

After completing my tasks, I decided to take some time-out sitting on the beach and reading the latest edition of Artlink. The theme for the July edition of Artlink is Indigenous Indignation. Within its covers is a two page article on Bindi Cole’s latest project seventy times seven which is all about forgiveness and the cathartic effects forgiving can have on the human psyche. Those of you who followed the Andrew Bolt saga, which came in the wake of a series of articles he wrote for the Fairfax press in which he accused certain high profile Aborigines of using a kind of pretend aboriginality to further their professional and artistic lives and for which he was found guilty of breaching the Racial Discrimination Act, will recall that Ms Cole was singled out by Mr Bolt for special condemnation. To Mr Bolt, Ms Cole could not be a ‘real’ Aborigine because she had a “distressingly white face”. I wonder how Mr Bolt would classify those Aborigines in Northern Australia who have distressingly Asian faces or those of us who live in Sydney who might seem to have distressingly Muslim faces?

Back to my post, as its point is not to have a rant at Mr Bolt and the Fairfax Media; rather it is to think about the implications of Ms Cole’s project. Cole’s seventy times seven project could be equally called the ‘I forgive you project’, I forgive you because while being videoed:

…members of the Aboriginal community stare directly into the camera chanting, “I forgive you”. As they repeat these words, their focus turns inwards: they find within themselves the sources of their hurt and the reasons for its forgiveness.

Bruce McLean, I Forgive You, Artlink July 2012, p.44.

While I can understand the importance of forgiving generational pain, pain we inherit from our parents and grandparents, I can’t see the value in forgiving those who still oppress us as a people. Speaking for myself, I certainly do not forgive those members of the AFP, the Australian and ACT Governments, who have caused untold pain to my extended family, destroying lives and causing a suicide for the sole purpose of protecting an illiterate and xenophobic racist within ACT Treasury. For me, and to my mind, forgiveness can only come after accountability and redress. When I asked Captain Fred Martens, whom I have written about extensively on Blak and Black, why he had singled out AFP Officer Tania Ann Stokes to be the first defendant in his Statement Of Claim, he responded:

Her actions resulted in the death of my daughter; she died while I was in jail for a crime I did not commit. The only way I can move on with my life is to receive redress and personal accountability for the hurt and pain Tania Stokes inflicted on me and my family. Forgiveness can then follow.

Many esteemed members of Australia’s white community, such as the aforementioned Mr Andrew Bolt who was found by a Victorian court to have breached the Racial Discrimination Act, accuse the Aboriginal Community of operating a guilt industry over what can, to the minds of these people, be best described as generational crimes. I in turn accuse the white community of peddling forgiveness as a way of avoiding personal accountability and redress for current wrongs, wrongs that are still being committed against Australia’s Aboriginal Community on a daily basis by the dominate culture.

Memory is a funny thing

Haruki Murakami observed “Memory is a funny thing… every thought came back, like a boomerang, to me”. Indeed memory is a funny thing; funny in the hurt and pain it causes; funny in that it allows us to experience feelings of regret, anger and undeniably joy from our personal histories; funny in that it drives many of our daily actions turning some into saints and others into sinners, revolutionaries, etc… For me, memory is that all empowering ‘fire in the belly’, the thing that pushes us beyond the psychological boundaries that were set for us in childhood, boundaries that might be signposted with warnings such as “You’re Aboriginal, you’ll never be one of us” or “All Aborigines are lazy, no-hopers” or my all-time favourite, in the words of the ACT Government “All Aborigines are compulsive liars and criminals”. These are the psychological boundaries that memory has empowered me to cross.

One of my favourite activities as a child was to watch puppet shows, an activity I introduced my nephew to, though perhaps a show centred on the Ritt der Walkuren or Ride of the Valkyries was not the ideal introduction to the magical world of puppetry!

Kenneth Gross in his book Puppet argues, perhaps with his tongue in his cheek, that puppetry is a kind of madness. A madness that lies along the spectrum of things, like all madness does; it might be a very ordinary form of madness, but madness it is. The madness lies in the hidden movement of the hand, the curious impulse and skill by which a person’s hand can make itself into the animating impulse, the intelligence or soul, of an inanimate object – it is an extension of the more basic wonder by which we can let this one part of our body become a separate, articulate whole, capable of surprising its owner with its movement, the stories it tells. Fundamentally this is the issue I have with Bindi Cole’s seventy times seven project. By forgiving whitie for the crimes whitie still commits against us, as a people, we become nothing more than whitie’s finger puppets – this is madness!

If there is an Aboriginal guilt industry, an assertion I reject out of hand, forgiveness without personal accountability and redress is whitie’s competing product. Forgiveness without personal accountability and redress is a denial of memory; memory, in the final analysis, is one of those things that marks us as human, puts us above fauna into another category altogether. If as individuals or as a people we are asked to forgive whitie without personal accountability and redress where does that leave us as a people?

If in forgiveness we lose the will to fight against our oppressors – and make no mistake, racism, patriarchy and sexism are all types of oppression – then we become something akin to the inanimate object a puppet is, until someone’s hand gives it the animating impulse that brings it to life. But this life is not life in the true meaning of the word; in this scenario, whitie’s hand becomes the intelligence or soul, of our inanimate bodies.

For me, I intend to maintain the rage, and hold whitie accountable to the standards s/he set but refuses to meet. Standards whitie applies in the harshest ways possible to Indigenous Australians. Forgiveness can only follow true equality, personal accountability and redress – until then, forgiveness is merely another way of saying, “I intend to allow whitie to turn me into a finger puppet of fickle fate”, which just ain’t going to happen!


  1. Ah Bakchos Glass do i sense some frustration, movement, both? I guess this post is your mission statement? Who committed suicide, if it was driven by AFP/ALP/ACT Government corruption is it not murder?

  2. So now we’ll all see what sought of stuff corruption in the ACT and AFP is made of. I understand that Dowell has already had a psychological breakdown, wonder who will follow once what happened at ACT Treasury has an airing on the international stage – bye, bye certain AFP/ACT Policing careers – hello the inside of the jail cell! Everything has a price, including corruption.

  3. My, my, my what a tangled web the Inquisitor has woven, now this grand design of the illiterate xenophobe of ACT Treasury is going to be put on display for the world to marvel. Marvel that Gollum really lives, harbouring his precious, his own reflection that is.

  4. Jenifer Trees it does appear that everyone is about to wear the embarrasment of the actions of the illiterate one! Justice must be done in this matter, and justice will be done in the UN if no where else.

  5. So Bakchos Glass the time has come for those who have wronged Indigenous Australia to be held accountable.

  6. So cuz ya about to go and kick some racist whitie arse in the UN! About time, if nothing else you should be able to shame Australia internationally for all that it has done to you and your family, not to mention Indigenous Australia as a whole. Time for some real accountability. The arse-wipe from ACT Treasury will have a lot of explaining to do, as will Mick Kealty and Jon Stanhope. Go Tiger, go!!!

  7. What this says to me is that you, Bakchos, don’t like the world you live in. You don’t like the chauvinism, whitie’s claims to moral superiority and the bureaucratic state that is slowly eroding our way of life. I don’t like any of this either. I’m 100% behind you, go to the UN smash the chauvinistic AFP, or at least give it your best shot. Hold that turd the tosser from treasury personal accountable for not on the crimes he has committed against you, but also against women generally. Most importantly show the world what a hypocrite Jon Stanhope really is.

  8. Now we the phony war is over and the ACT Department of Treasury, Jon Stanhope, Tu Pham, and the AFP are all about to be held accountable for their actions! About time, kick the shit out of them just in time for the elections; let the people of Canberra know just what type of people govern them. I believe this will prove a shocking awakening!

  9. Cuz I can understand why you don’t forgive and why you won’t become a finger-puppet of fate. Whitie has to learn that we are people also, people deserving of respect!

  10. So Bakchos you won’t allow yourself to be a finger puppet of corruptioin! I cam see why not, now its time to bring the action on!!!

  11. Fate and corruption – one is human action the other the will of the gods – which is which?

  12. Bakchos Glass I understand why you won’t, don’t and can’t forgive. You need to fight for your beliefs, many will stand beside you, many will stand against you, but fight you must if you can’t forgive!

  13. There is some real food for thought here. Are we all nothing more than the puppets of the state? Is this what life is all about? NO! Time to claim our lives back!

  14. Cuz time to go and deliver whitie his richly deserved kicking in the UN.

  15. Time to hold the ones who have wronged accountable! Move forward, give no quarter, take no prisoners! After all that’s what the government, the ALP and AFP have done to you and yours!

  16. Bakchos keep your memories of injustice alive, take your fight for justice to the world and WIN, win BIG for our democracy!

  17. Bakchos keep the memory of your pain alive and go to the UN and make whitie pay for all the pain he has inflicted on you and yours!

  18. Mahmud Ahsan via Facebook says:

    Give them hell in the UN my friend!

  19. Time to make whitie pay for all the crimes he has committed against us as a people.

  20. Memory is important, accountability is also important. Bakchos Glass keep your memory and hold the system accountable in the UN.

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