Cel­e­bra­tion of an in­va­sion

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

UP­COM­ING Aus­tralia Day events could re­al­is­ti­cally be marred by na­tion­wide con­fronta­tions fol­low­ing the re­cent St Kilda com­mu­nity clash be­tween far-right ex­trem­ists and an­tifas­cist pro­test­ers.

Some­thing is ter­ri­bly amiss within our so­ci­ety when Se­na­tor Fraser An­ning finds rea­son to unashamedly co­hort with neo-nazis.

What a joke Oz has be­come when this type of racial con­fronta­tion is en­acted on pre­vi­ously owned Abo­rig­i­nal soil.

Since the in­cep­tion of Aus­tralia

Day, descen­dants of the First Aus­tralians con­tinue to ex­pe­ri­ence out­right his­tor­i­cal hu­mil­i­a­tion while oth­ers cel­e­brate in the style of bar­be­cues, booze, two-up gam­bling and other true-blue “val­ues”.

Give me one log­i­cal rea­son why descen­dants of the First Aus­tralians should feel com­pelled to cel­e­brate this colo­nial-stamped in­va­sive date.

White Aus­tralian, Xavier Her­bert, au­thor of Poor Fel­low My Coun­try (1975) wrote: “Un­til we give back to the black man just a bit of the land that was his, and give it back without pro­vi­sos, without strings to snatch it back, without any­thing but com­plete gen­eros­ity of spirit in con­ces­sion for the evil we have done to him … un­til we do that, we shall re­main what we have al­ways been so far: a peo­ple without in­tegrity, not a na­tion, but a com­mu­nity of thieves.”

For­mer JCU aca­demic and his­to­rian Pro­fes­sor Henry Reynolds shed fur­ther light on Abo­rig­i­nal his­tory in his nu­mer­ous books and re­search pa­pers. Recorded his­tory as­sumed that Abo­rig­i­nals would even­tu­ally be­come a “dy­ing race”.

Tes­ta­ment to that fal­lacy is the record amount of present day Abo­rig­i­nal aca­demics, doc­tors, par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, pro­fes­sional sports­men and women and pub­lic ser­vice em­ploy­ees who are now mak­ing pos­i­tive head­way in many ar­eas.

An­other white Aus­tralian au­thor Bruce Elder ar­tic­u­lated sav­age Abo­rig­i­nal mas­sacres which oc­curred Aus­tralia-wide in his book Blood on the Wat­tle, which was pub­lished more than 30 years ago.

The book’s pref­ace states: “Ig­no­rance can no longer be a de­fence against the crit­i­cism that the white his­tory of Aus­tralia is lit­tle more than two hun­dred years of shame.”

Mind­ful that Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture has ex­isted for over 60,000 years … 200 years of in­tru­sive colo­nial oc­cu­pa­tion is merely a drop in the ocean.

Stead­fast re­silience has in­deed pro­pelled our unique Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture well into the new mil­len­nium and be­yond.

As a sup­pos­edly ma­ture na­tion we’ve re­cently ad­dressed the con­tentious is­sue of same-sex mar­riage.

When are we go­ing to ad­dress the Aus­tralia Day/in­va­sion Day is­sue?

This pub­licly con­tentious is­sue can no longer be placed on the back­burner in­def­i­nitely.

Maybe the so­cial and emo­tional wel­fare of the First Aus­tralians is deemed un­wor­thy of na­tional de­bate?

So­cial me­dia has thank­fully given us a long over­due voice.

How­ever … if and when we at­tempt to chal­lenge Aus­tralia’s black his­tory we are then re­minded, en masse, by so­cial me­dia users, of the “ben­e­fi­cial changes” and “spe­cial priv­i­leges” that have been granted to us and has sup­pos­edly “en­ti­tled” Abo­rig­i­nals since the First Fleet ar­rived.

Fair dinkum, mate … we sim­ply can’t win … no mat­ter which bush­track we choose.

Please ex­plain about this “Lucky Coun­try”.

How can we Ad­vance Aus­tralia Fair when atro­cious so­cial health and de­plorable com­mu­nity con­di­tions in re­mote Abo­rig­i­nal ar­eas shows lit­tle ev­i­dence of achiev­ing the much an­tic­i­pated fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s health ini­tia­tive Clos­ing the Gap?

The high rate of indige­nous crim­i­nal of­fences, in­car­cer­a­tion, deaths in cus­tody and a fail­ing health sys­tem sug­gests that Oz has be­come less of a “Lucky Coun­try” for the descen­dants of the very First Aus­tralians.

Abo­rig­i­nal Aus­tralians have the un­ri­valled dis­tinc­tion of main­tain­ing the “old­est liv­ing cul­ture” in the world … but do Aussies truly ap­pre­ci­ate this well known fact?

One wouldn’t think so when you con­sider that 80 per cent of Abo­rig­i­nal art is still be­ing ex­ploited.

Some Aussies will for­ever re­main ig­no­rant of our black his­tory as they con­tinue to hide be­hind their white blind­fold.

“We are one, yet we are many” is the most hyp­o­crit­i­cal verse to ever be­come en­shrined in any Oz na­tional an­them. Oi, oi, oi!

CORALIE CASSADY,

Kir­wan.

DOWN­TROD­DEN: Jan­uary 26 is no cause to party for First Aus­tralians.

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