Treaties, lies and the Morning Star Flag

Treaties, lies and the Morning Star Flag

“The West Papuans have become the victims of Australia’s regional foreign policy arrangements that prop up the anti-refugee policies of Operation Sovereign Borders.” Ian Rintoul, Refugee Action Coalition. Fifty-two years ago on this day, the Morning Star flag otherwise known and Bintang Kejora, was first raised in West Papua, (formerly known as West New Guinea and to Indonesia, Irian Jaya), marking the unofficial independence of the small province as the ...

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There is a dream dreaming us

There is a dream dreaming us

Actually, the natural man in Africa is a truly spiritual man. He has so much of the spiritual that he is overflowing with it. He has so much of it that he gets entangled with the outside world. He sees it in things that really cannot contain it. He sees it in the trees, he sees it in all the objects which surround him. The tragedy is that we walked ...

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#IdleNoMore - Transnational Indigenous Solidarity

#IdleNoMore – Transnational Indigenous Solidarity

#IdleNoMore is a growing movement of indigenous activism that started with Canada's First Nations taking a stand against a long history of systematic, institutionalized abuse from the Canadian authorities. ...

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Legum servi sumus ut liberi esse possimus

Legum servi sumus ut liberi esse possimus

Words Like Freedom There are words like Freedom Sweet and wonderful to say. On my heart strings freedom sings All day everyday. There are words like Liberty That almost make me cry. If you had known what I know You would know why. Langston Hughes (p. 38 of Poetry For Young People: Langston Hughes) Lectori Salutem of Blak and Black, many will recognise the title of this post as being ...

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A hypocrite for a Prime Minister, a hypocrite for a Chief Minister

A hypocrite for a Prime Minister, a hypocrite for a Chief Minister

Each man reaches perfection by doing his own duty; he worships god – from whom all beings come, by whom this universe was stretched forth – by doing his appointed work, with no desire for reward. You must do the work for its own sake and not for anything that it may bring to you. When pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat are the same to you, ...

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Forty years on, Indigenous women still without rights

Forty years on, Indigenous women still without rights

It was freezing last night where I slept in my travels, below freezing in fact. In Bangerang country, home of the Yorta Yorta people, Mother Nature may have frozen the water in every dog’s bowl and garden hose, but she balanced the frigidity with a crystal blue sky and gleaming sun as it rose. The breeze has remained cool enough to nip at my heels, but even a white woman’s ...

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The stories, art and dance of Arnhem Land, the longest running show in history

The stories, art and dance of Arnhem Land, the longest running show in history

NAIDOC week seems a fitting time to diverge a little from the normal themes of Blak and Black and have a peak into what was our culture prior to the British lead European invasion of our lands, which commenced in earnest on 26th January 1788. Prior to this faithful day, all 700 or so Aboriginal cultures inhabiting continental Australia had their own religion, law and lore. Those of us living ...

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Law is The Law, but not if you’re an Aborigine

Law is The Law, but not if you’re an Aborigine

Men, in general, seem to employ their reason to justify prejudices, which they have imbibed, they cannot trace how, rather than to root them out. The mind must be strong that resolutely forms its own principles; for a kind of intellectual cowardice prevails which makes many men shrink from the task, or only do it by halves. Yet the imperfect conclusions thus drawn, are frequently very plausible, because they are ...

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The symbol of belonging

The symbol of belonging

On the request of a friend, this post offers some insights as to why someone would wish to burn the Australian flag as an act of protest. The events in Canberra on the day commemorating the arrival of the first European settlers in Australia widely known as Australia Day have provided the media with no end of racial and political fodder. I spent some time reading comments on Yahoo!7, including: ...

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What is actually the root of the problem in Papua?

What is actually the root of the problem in Papua?

The following is an extract of an interview between Bambang Dharmono, former Aceh military commander and negotiator representing Indonesia for the Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM), to lead the Presidential Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B) and journalist Nani Afrida which appeared in The Jakarta Post on 16 December, 2011. The question posed by Nani to Bambang was “What is actually the root of the ...

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Indonesia and Australia the illegitimate states of the Asia Pacific Region

Indonesia and Australia the illegitimate states of the Asia Pacific Region

What is self-determination? The notion of self-determination as a universal principle, whether viewed through a political, moral, or legal lens, has been and continues to be imprecise and in dire need of further clarification. U.S. president Woodrow Wilson understood self-determination to be the belief that every people had the right to select their own form of government, to “choose the sovereignty under which they shall live” and thus be free ...

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Good Christian Souls

Good Christian Souls

Best of the Season. This post is a little delayed, but hey, it is the Yuletide! “Does this discrepancy between reality and altruistic morality yield the positive effects which are conventionally claimed? Do exhortations to self-sacrifice for other people and lofty goals make the world any better?” (Tullman J., Tullman J.,  Natural Ethics – A Confrontation with Altruism.) Over the past couple of years Channel Ten has aired the CBS ...

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Anti-Aboriginal racism in Australia has no bounds - NT Intervention extended by ten years

Anti-Aboriginal racism in Australia has no bounds – NT Intervention extended by ten years

“Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex Australians are part of our community we’re not nameless, faceless people who live on the margins of society. We deserve the respect and the dignity afforded to others. We deserve equality.” ACT Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr during the Australian Labor Party (“ALP”) National Conference debate on same-sex marriage I don’t have an issue with Mr Barr’s comments as they reflect nothing more or ...

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You can’t preach the moral high ground and walk in the gutter: Australia and West Papua

You can’t preach the moral high ground and walk in the gutter: Australia and West Papua

Recurrent themes in Australian politics since the events of 9/11 and the beginning of the euphemistically though erroneously named ‘war on terror’ have been national security, border protection and exporting the ‘rule of law’ to the developing nations of the Pacific. Implied within the concept of the ‘rule of law’ must be the notion of equality before the law. By equality I don’t mean that nebulous idea continuously sprouted by ...

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Native Title: An Australian White Wash

Native Title: An Australian White Wash

He is wizened. Lines mark a face that has felt the sun’s warming rays and burning beams, eyes see the land that holds his people’s Dreams, ears hear the stories his elders told him as a youth, the stories that he is now charged with handing down to subsequent generations. The body may no longer move with the agility of the kangaroo or be fleet as the emu, but he ...

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A rose by any other name: Invasion

A rose by any other name: Invasion

Earlier this week Sydney City Council voted to include the term ‘invasion’ in the Preamble to the city’s vision for 2030. It’s even made news in India. It’s caused a stir within our own borders too: “… All I can say is, so what? Caesar invaded Gaul mainly for political gain. While there, according to Plutarch, he killed 1 million Gauls and enslaved 1 million more, and now we rightfully ...

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Reconciliation week: a joke played by ‘white’ Australians on Indigenous Australians and the international community!

Reconciliation week: a joke played by ‘white’ Australians on Indigenous Australians and the international community!

Racial discrimination against Indigenous Australians is as alive and well in Australia today as it ever was. In fact, under the lost years of opportunity known to history as the ‘Howard Years’, Australia on many, many levels wound the clock back to a more racist and intolerant past. An example of this is a story which appeared in the National Indigenous Times (NIT) in 2009. A man struck a woman ...

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Who owns history, who owns the truth?

Who owns history, who owns the truth?

In an opinion piece published in the Age newspaper, Yorta Yorta man Paul Briggs (2006) angrily rejected a proposal by Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough that Aboriginal culture be “showcased” by employing Aborigines from remote communities in five-star tourist venues on the Eastern seaboard. Briggs wrote: The idea caught many a breath but not just because of its patronising nature. The minister had voiced what many Australians think, and ...

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Superfluous People

Superfluous People

For today’s post I’m borrowing a theme from Turgenev, specifically from The Diary of a Superfluous Man. As readers of Turgenev will know, much of his fiction is associated with variations on this “superfluous” type, a hero who fails not simply at love, but in other arenas as well. Turgenev’s plots often hang on anticipation without consummation. So it is with Indigenous Australians. Anticipation without consummation has been the lot ...

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The life of a culture depends on its transmission across generations

The life of a culture depends on its transmission across generations

Following is the second installment of David Harrison’s story from member of the ‘new’ stolen generation to disaffected adult to fully fledged social activist. Over to David breaking the connection between parents (and communities) and children was the shortest route to killing their culture. Those sitting in the halls of the academy or human rights institutions may find it difficult to define “the right to culture” in pithy terms, but ...

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