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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The `Stolen Generations' and Cultural Genocide

The `Stolen Generations’ and Cultural Genocide

Mr David Harrison is a member of the ‘new’ stolen generation and a former colleague from Canberra. I asked David a while ago if he would write a piece about his life in the care of The Department of Community Services (DoCS) for Blak and Black. David agreed, but asked if he could write a very brief introduction to the ‘new’ stolen generation as a prelude to a post about ...

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Shades of hypocrisy

Shades of hypocrisy

Some observations on the realities of being and Aborigine in 21stcentury Australia by an observer who isn’t. One of my piano teachers was the sole child of Polish Holocaust survivors. Unassuming people, these quiet and reserved people welcomed my mother and I into their home on a weekly basis so Elizabeth could tutor me. It was she who taught me to love music. It is only now that I comprehend ...

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William Westbrooke Burton

William Westbrooke Burton

Introduction In an interview with Sydney radio personality John laws in October 1996, then Prime Minister John Howard observed that “… the emphasis should not be on past wrongs but on present disadvantage.” Professor Henry Reynolds responded by accusing the Prime Minister of attempting to censor history: “… we have to face the reality of our past to say as he does that Australia does not have a racist past ...

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The times they are a-changin' ... or are they?

The times they are a-changin’ … or are they?

I’m going to start this post by quoting from an inspiring speech delivered by an Aboriginal woman, Christine Fejo-King, at the launch of the book “This is What We said” in Canberra this year: “For so long Aboriginal Australians lived under the policy of ‘protectors’, it almost seems that we have gone full circle and have arrived back at that point. A state of affairs spoken of by a number ...

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The subtleties of genocide

The subtleties of genocide

Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot and Joseph Stalin were at best clumsy amateurs when it came to genocide. If a political group wants to rid itself of a troublesome ethnic minority, the most efficient method is to alienate the target group and then destroy the self-respect and motivation of the group’s members. They will do the rest for you. No guns or chemical weapons are required. Initial, subtle victimization and alienation ...

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The here and now of racism in Australia

The here and now of racism in Australia

A recurrent theme in Australia’s history has been how to deal with the perennial ‘problem’ of the Aboriginal population. Assimilation, as policy for much of the twentieth century and continuing today in the Northern Territory has ranged from economic to biological, the latter more commonly known as eugenics. This paper looks at the issues confronting Australian Aborigines in their quest for acknowledgement as equals with a ‘white’ colonizing force, building ...

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Negated rights

Negated rights

This post by Kim at Frog Ponds Rock demonstrates how the almighty dollar is being over-ridden by the West Australian Government. It’s not long. Go read, click on the link and sign the petition. ...

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A Day In The Life Of An Aborigine

A Day In The Life Of An Aborigine

PROLOGUE Before we can truly understand another person, we must walk a mile in their moccasins. Before we can walk in another person’s moccasins, we must first take off our own. (Native American saying) THE GHETTO While no longer my physical home the Sydney ghetto, those few blocks of urban and social decay bounded by Eveleigh, Redfern, Cleveland and Phillip Streets, is my spiritual home. The ghetto and its Housing ...

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