“You have almost exterminated our people, but there are enough of us
remaining to expose the humbug of your claim, as white Australians, to be a
civilised, progressive, kindly and humane nation. By your cruelty and
callousness towards the Aborigines you stand condemned… You dare not
admit openly that what you hope and wish is for our death!”
William Ferguson & John Patten, Aborigines Claim Citizen Rights, 1938
In 2012 and 2015, a team comprising researchers from
The University of Queensland and the Mirrar Aboriginal People,
Excavated the Madjedbebe rockshelter in Kakadu,
Near Jabiru, in Australia’s Northern Territory.
As a result of the findings, employing both radiocarbon dating,
And Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) methods,
It was established that the settlement stretched back in time
Sixty-five thousand years – pushing back previous estimates
By eighteen thousand years: a significant development.
The migration of Homo Sapiens out of Africa, and into Europe,
Took place a mere forty-five thousand years ago,
And its earliest art and symbolism bear little relevance
To their equivalent in South and Southeast Asia, and Oceania.
Although the surviving rock art is around forty thousand years old,
Discovered in fragmentary form, at the limestone shelter
Of Carpenter’s Gap in the Kimberley, it’s evident,
Via ground haematite, resembling crayons and pieces of chalk,
And red and yellow ochre remnants discovered at the Madjebebe site,
That the Aboriginals were engaged in an advanced form of
Pictorial representation, as well as a peculiarly modern type
Of decorative body and face painting,
As if the reproduction of both exoteric and esoteric realities
Signified an entire individualised culture and its significance –
Which, of course, it did.
Rock artists, moving to a slow rhythm,
At one with the chorography of the earth.
Over the past thirty years or so, a number of film directors, authors,
Songwriter and painters have creatively explored their own
Artistic concepts of Aboriginal Dreamtime, since it’s been a primary,
Or secondary component of any number of spooky motion pictures;
Of deep and meaningful fantasy novels and short stories;
Of melancholy lyrics, pseudo-primitive art and sound-bite blather.
Whether or not the concerns expressed and the issues raised,
Comprise more than band-wagon jumping, or exploitation, is perhaps
A moot point, as the term Dreamtime is misleading in itself,
Since it’s an inaccurate translation of the Aboriginal perception
Of Jukkurrpa, or Altyerrenge, or Ngarrankarni,
Or Ungud, or Manguny, or Wongar, and so on.
Before Cook, there were 250 separate languages,
And approximately 600 to 800 dialects, and each language
Employed its own version of what’s commonly known
To white Australians, and to the world at large, as Dreamtime –
A colonialist linguistic imposition on an entire system of beliefs,
In the name of simplicity, yet prompted by sheer incomprehension.
In the words of the anthropologist, W.E.H. Stanner,
“One cannot ‘fix’ the Dreaming in time: it was, and is, everywhen”,
A curious expression, which encapsulates a “complex of meanings,
And an unchallengeable sacred authority”.
Given the eighteen hundred years or so of analytical exegesis,
Expended by Christian theologians, in vain attempts to rationalise
The Holy Trinity, it’s hardly a surprise to discover
The inevitable dumbing-down of a profound,
All-encompassing, integrated way of life.
According to the Aboriginal Art Gallery,
The Dreamtime was way back; a beginning that never ended,
On a continuum of past, present and future –
The time of creation, which transcended and transcends time.
During the Dreaming, Ancestral beings danced…
“… across the land in lines of travel – zigzag, crisscross –
Creating mountains, hills, rocks, deserts,
Waterholes, salt lakes, plants, animals, people.
All these we create, as we dance, and love, and sing,
For the land is sacred with the sites we’ve created,
Our secret rituals we’ll impart to the wise men,
And to the wise women, with secrets shared and secrets hidden,
For all is connected in the realm of the Spirits,
And the children will bear witness to the Dreaming,
In the totems of their birth, of their growing, of their grown,
And all will be now, and all will be present, and after is not.”
At the end of their journeys, some Ancestral beings
Left the earth, and returned to the stars,
While others remained on the land,
Becoming inextricably identified with the sacred sites.
Thus, a tripartite unity of inter-connectedness was forged
Between spirit, topography (preternatural astro-archaeology)
And the Aboriginal people: the unity of everywhen, everywhere.
By comparison, Heidegger’s lengthy ruminations
On Being seem somewhat superficial.
The first white European to set foot on sacred land,
A land which was long believed to exist,
And known by the name Terra Australia Incognita,
Meaning Unknown South Land,
Was one Willem Janszoon, in sixteen hundred and six.
Janszoon was a Dutch explorer, who landed
On the western side of what is now Cape York Peninsular.
Finding the terrain swampy, and mindful of the natives
(who killed ten members of his crew), he hastily withdrew,
But only after he’d charted three hundred kilometres of coastline.
His maps were subsequently employed by other Dutch sailors,
And eventually by James Cook, in seventeen seventy –
Although Cook made landfall on the east coast.
At the time, the Aboriginals numbered at least
Seven hundred and fifty thousand, which didn’t prevent Cook
From claiming the eastern portion of the continent,
In the name of King George the Third – a monarch who suffered
A form of bi-polar disorder, encompassing mania at one end of the spectrum,
And deep melancholy at the other; who experienced violent convulsions,
And was being inadvertently poisoned by the gentian-based medicine
Administered to him by his physicians.
Thus it was, a ‘mad’ English king, of German descent,
Found himself ruler of a new colonial territory,
Ten thousand five hundred miles from London,
About which he knew absolutely nothing, even when lucid.
The British Empire, like God, worked in mysterious ways.
From an Aboriginal perspective, the arrival of James Cook was a disaster:
“…they were so ignorant they thought there was only one race on the earth,
and that was the white race. So when (he)…first set foot on Wangal land
over at Kundal which is now called Kurnell, he said oh let’s put a flag up somewhere,
because these people are illiterate, they’ve got no fences.
They didn’t understand that we didn’t need fences…”
Not needing fences was a way of life, exploited by the newcomers,
In the form of the myth of Terra Nullis,
Whereby Cook felt able to declare the land empty:
A deliberate, barefaced lie, which helped generate
Future acts of genocide against the original occupants.
The Aboriginals had successfully thrived, for tens of thousands of years,
Primarily as hunter-gatherers, who didn’t grow crops,
Or domesticate animals (apart from the dingo), and who moved
From one site to another, directly dependent on the environment.
When food resources allowed, large gatherings would meet,
And, in the space of two or three weeks, the social and religious business
Of the entire society was transacted, by way of a grand social event.
Recent academic research suggests the hunter-gatherer model
Is too narrow a definition, and perhaps Aboriginal people
Employed sophisticated agricultural practices, adapting as they moved
From one site to another: Either way, Nomads,
Who shared a transcendent vision, involving group action,
And the respectful recognition of deep-time wisdom –
A vision which Gerrard Winstanley, the seventeenth century English Digger,
Might have appreciated, when he sought to cultivate common land
On St. George’s Hill, in the parish of Walton, in Surrey, declaring thus:
“Was the Earth made to preserve a few covetous, proud men
To live at ease, and for them to bag and barn up the treasures
Of the Earth from others, that these may beg or starve in a fruitful land;
Or was it made to preserve all her children?”
According to Winstanley, the root cause of all dissatisfaction in the world
Was private property, and the cult of mine and thine, advocating instead
A great Commonwealth, and a return to pre-fall, Garden of Eden innocence.
The British invaders, on the other hand, acknowledged something other:
The extension of global power, via the acquisition, or usurpation,
Of as many overseas territiories as possible – peaceably or otherwise –
In the pursuit of material profit, in the name of, and on behalf of,
A corrupt patriarchy, under the flag of patriotism – a term defined
By Doctor Samuel Johnson as “the last refuge of a scoundrel”:
A weasel word, if ever there was one.
On August the eighteenth, seventeen eighty-six,
The British Government decided the bay area
Around Kundal (Kurnell), named Botany Bay by Cook,
Would make an ideal penal colony, for undesirable convicts,
Who couldn’t be transported anywhere else.
To this end, Captain Arthur Phillip was appointed,
In command of a fleet of eleven ships, which set sail
On the thirteenth of May, seventeen eighty-seven.
Phillip had reservations concerning the deportations,
“As I would not wish convicts to lay the foundation of an Empire”,
But was inspired by the notion of a new Imperial outpost,
On the far side of the world, thus confirming that Britannia
Did indeed rule the waves, howsoever far afield.
The First Fleet arrived at the bay on January the eighteenth,
Seventeen eighty-eight, but Phillip decided the site was
Unsuitable for settlement, partly because the soil was poor,
There was no secure anchorage, and no reliable water source,
But also the fact that, as the first ships of the fleet entered the bay,
Terra Nullis was exposed for the lie it was, since, in Phillip’s words,
“… we could see natives lining the shore shaking spears and yelling”.
Within six months of their arrival, the invaders set in motion
The wholesale destruction of an entire Aboriginal way of life.
Before Cook, food, water and shelter were abundant,
And everything required to maintain a healthy lifestyle
Was available to the natives; After Cook – and the direct result
Of settler activity – food, water and shelter were drastically reduced,
If not eradicated entirely, by way of netting huge catches of fish,
Over-hunting of kangaroo, land clearance and water pollution.
Thousands of years of Aboriginal kinship with the land,
Destroyed by alien invaders, who regarded the indigenous peoples
As uncivilized, and akin to dogs, brute beasts, and black vermin.
In the words of Bishop Polding, in eighteen forty-five,
“I have heard it maintained by others that it is the course
Of Providence, that blacks should disappear before the white,
And the sooner the process was carried out the better,
For all parties… I have myself heard a man, educated,
And a large proprietor of sheep and cattle, maintain that there was
No more harm in shooting a native, than in shooting a wild dog”.
As well as desecrating the land, and regarding Aboriginals as
Not possessing souls – therefore not human beings,
White Europeans passed on their pathogens, in the form of
Tuberculosis, cholera, venereal diseases, whooping-cough,
Influenza, the common cold and, worst of all, smallpox.
By seventeen ninety-one, it’s estimated that the majority
Of indigenous peoples from up and down the coast of Sydney
Were killed by smallpox alone, and, once the invaders moved inland,
It continued to decimate all who had yet to develop any form
Of immunity from its ravages – accounting, perhaps, for
Fifty to sixty percent of the native population.
And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, a litany of frontier wars
And massacres further undermined the original occupants
Of a continent, where once they’d been the sole custodians.
When the British First Fleet landed, it may as well have unfurled
A huge flag, depicting an image of the end of the world, since –
For one of the oldest continuous cultures in all of human history –
That’s what it represented.
In the words of Edward Wilson, from the mid-nineteenth century,
“In less than twenty years we have nearly swept them off the face of the earth.
We have shot them down like dogs. In the guise of friendship we have issued
corrosive sublimate in their damper and consigned whole tribes to the agonies
of an excruciating death. We have made them drunkards, and infected them
with diseases which have rotted the bones of their adults, and made such
few children as are born amongst them a sorrow and a torture from the very instant
of their birth. We have made them outcasts on their own land, and are rapidly
consigning them to entire annihilation.”
The list of genocidal acts committed against Aboriginals
Is a lengthy one, beginning in seventeen eighty-eight,
And continuing to the present day.
To begin with, territorial conflicts and massacres claimed
The lives of thousands of native inhabitants, armed only with spears,
Boomerangs, axes, war clubs (waddies), knives and rocks.
The settlers, on the other hand, employed carronade, rifles,
Pistols, muskets and poison, so it was fairly obvious from the start
Which side would win the battle for the continent.
From the Appin massacre of eighteen sixteen, where
Gundungurra and Dharawal people – men, women, and children –
Were forced over the cliffs of a gorge, with the stragglers shot,
To the Coniston reprisal massacre of nineteen twenty-eight,
Where up to sixty Anmatyerre and Kaytetye were murdered.
From the Whiteside and Kilcoy poisonings of eighteen forty-two,
When over one hundred Aboriginals died, via strychnine-
Or arsenic-laced flour, to Selwyn Range in eighteen seventy-nine,
Where Native Police and settlers shot three hundred in assorted raids.
From the Evans Head massacre of eighteen forty-two to three,
Where one hundred Bundjalung were murdered for the killing
Of a few sheep, to the Convincing Ground massacre of Gunditjmara,
When up to two hundred men, women and children were slaughtered,
Over disputed rights to a beached whale carcass.
From the Goulbolba Hill massacre of eighteen sixty-seven, where
Up to three hundred Aboriginals were either shot or herded into a lake,
To the Battle Mountain massacre of eighteen eighty-four, where
two hundred Kalkadoon people were killed.
In total, the British and their ‘Anglo-Celtic spawn’ – as the website
Treaty Republic refers to modern Austrailans –
Violently slaughtered a minimum of twenty thousand people.
Deliberate poisonings accounted for a further sixty thousand deaths.
A corresponding list of separate brutalities includes the ‘sport’ of
Burying Aboriginal babies and young children up to their necks,
And then kicking their heads until decapitation; of ‘abo-shoots’ and
‘Boong-bashing’; of shooting pregnant Aboriginal women, hiding in trees,
With nothing but “the rustle of the leaves and branches” as the
Aborted babies fell from their mothers; of Australian motorists
Intentionally running down ‘blacks’, drunk or sober, with impunity;
Of irradiating the homeland and the people of the Maralinga Tjarutja tribe,
Via nuclear weapons testing on behalf of the British –
With every atrocity justified by the invaders and their descendants,
On the grounds that the original occupants of the continent
Were little more than flora and fauna: native pests to be eradicated.
“Of course”, say Anglophiles, on behalf of the invaders,
And of white Australians, “that’s all in the past;
Things are different now”, and, as proof positive of how much
Things have changed, they flourish the flag of public apology
In the faces of all those who dare to disagree.
Yes, there was an apology made, somewhat belatedly,
In two thousand and eight, by the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd,
Just two hundred years or so after the British invaded Aboriginal land.
Rudd used the word ‘sorry’ three times, during the course of the speech,
Specifically “for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and
Governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss
On these our fellow Australians”; “for the removal of Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities
And their country”; “and for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted
On a proud people and a proud culture”.
Rudd also pledged action, as well as words, calling for the
Equivalent of a war cabinet, to tackle indigenous issues –
A pledge which, from the moment it was made, was undermined
By a sting in the tail, in the form of Rudd’s postscript, when he said,
“I want to be blunt about this. There will be no compensation”.
Noel Pearson, an Aboriginal elder, summed up things precisely:
“Blackfellas will get the words, the whitefellas will keep the money”.
The truth-seeking, ex-pat Australian journalist, John Pilger,
Had this to say: “The whole sorry thing is really to satisfy the
White population, not the black population. Until whites give back
To black their nationhood, they can never claim their own,
No matter how many flags they fly”.
Pilger was quite right, of course, although the fact that Rudd
Made his speech in the first place was a minor miracle, in the sense
That many white Australians saw no need to say sorry at all.
Indeed, as former Prime Minister John Howard made plain,
He did not believe that one generation could apologise
For the actions of another, even if those actions constituted
Genocide, as defined by Article 2 of the Genocide UN convention,
a) Killing members of the group;
b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about
its physical destruction in whole or in part;
d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
The minimum figure of eighty thousand victims – and counting –
Clearly constitutes killing members of the group.
That this continues, in the form of Aboriginal deaths in custody,
Despite the setting up of a Royal Commission in nineteen eighty-seven,
“Paints a horrific portrait of the state of indigenous criminal justice”,
According to Inga Ting, a journalist with the Sydney Herald.
In two thousand and sixteen, an Amnesty International spokesman,
Julian Cleary, declared that one in five people who died in custody
Were indigenous, which was “a disaster in a nation where Aboriginal
And Torres Strait Islander people (made) up less than 3%
Of (the) population”, and that these statistics proved a crisis.
The fact is, the bulk of the Commission’s three hundred and thirty nine
Recommendations weren’t implemented, or were only partially implemented,
And in some of the territories, laws were introduced which directly
Contradicted the recommendation that jail be the option of last resort.
In the Northern Territory, for example, paperless arrest allowed
The police to detain people for minor offences without charge.
In Western Austraila, mandatory sentencing and jail for fine defaulters
Were strengthened, and Queensland explicitly removed the principle
That detention should be the option of last resort for children.
As Ruth Barson of the Human Rights Law Centre suggested, just imagine
The outcry if a Royal Commission into child sex abuse had made a
List of recommendations in nineteen ninety-one, and over a subsequent
Twenty-five year period, they’d not been implemented, fully or substantially.
Undoubtedly, politicians, members of the judiciary, police chiefs and so on
Would have been lambasted, with resignations following en masse.
But as Aboriginals weren’t vulnerable white children, it didn’t seem to matter.
For tens of thousands of years, family life for the native peoples
Was untroubled by major land disputes, by scarcity of resources,
By traumatic social upheavals, and by the threat of either
Societal assimiliation via an alien culture, or utter annihilation.
Before Cook, the Aboriginal family was a collaboration of clans,
Comprising mothers, fathers, uncles, aunties, brothers, sisters, cousins
And so on: an extended family, where love was abundant.
The roles of family members were set according to positions
In the tribe, in a communal environment, with responsibilities shared.
Child-rearing, cooking, hunting and the teaching of knowledge were
All understood as given, by way of Ancestral spirits and the beginning
Of the everywhere-everywhen of so-called Dreamtime: A slow,
Simple, ideal way of life, in tune with the natural order of things.
After Cook, the Aboriginal lifestyle found its way on a road to hell
In a handcart, dragged at speed by the British invaders to begin with,
And then by their white supremacist Australian ascendants.
Today, the majority of surviving Aboriginals live in cities,
Or in former church mission sites, although a few are allowed
To follow ancient, traditional practices in the remote territories.
Not surprisingly, given their kinship with the natural environment,
City life has taken its toll on the indigenous population.
From poverty and low income, to poor education;
From poor access to medical assistance, especially in rural areas,
To drug, alcohol and smoking abuse;
From exposure to violence and a myriad of social pressures,
To racial abuse and cultural alienation: one way or another,
According to Alan Hudson, a former business manager responsible
For Ampilatwatja, north of Alice Springs, living conditions are not
Just ‘third world’, but ‘fifth world’, with a large number of people
Living in ‘humpies’ – bush huts – “and they’ve been living in humpies
Since 1974 – three ladies more than 90 years of age… and a young
Five-year-old who is disabled and his family live in a combination
Of a humpy and a couple of car bodies”.
Not far from Alice Springs, lies Utopia, an Aboriginal homeland.
Formed in November nineteen seventy-eight, and one of a minority of
Communities created via autonomous activism of the land rights movement.
Comprising a number of outstations, Utopia – a corruption of Uturupa,
Meaning ‘big sand hill’ – boasts a community shop and council offices,
Five schools, a medical clinic, and a bus service providing transport
For the children to and from the different schools.
The people grow and harvest traditional food and medicines,
With the inhabitants correspondingly significantly healthier than
Comparable groups, especially with regard to mortality rates.
Alcohol is not allowed, and there’s almost no abuse of other intoxicants.
There are on-going issues, including sanitation and poor hygeine,
But, by and large, Utopia functions on its own terms, with the people
Expressly repudiating any municipal establishment.
A model, perhaps, of how modern Aboriginals might live, given that
The clock set ticking in seventeen seventy will never be reset.
It’s an entirely different story in the cities, however,
Where Aboriginals, the first peoples, custodians of the land,
Are referred to in the vilest of terms, justified as
A bit of jocular, ‘typical Aussie’, whitefella banter,
Which does little to disguise the intrinsic, racist contempt
Shown towards three percent of the inhabitants
Of the overall population of Terra Australia Incognita.
The list of abusive slurs is a long one, and it demonstrates a
Vituperative malignancy of attitude breathtaking in its spleen:
From Abcos (Aboriginals being alcoholics) to Goggles
(a reference to large nostrils); from Vegemites
(after the Australian sandwich spread) to Koona (bloody/menstruating cunts);
From Petrol Sniffers to Chromers (paint-sniffers);
From Fabos (fucking Abos) to Rock Apes; from Bludgers
(Aboriginals on the dole) to Goon Ninjas (sneaky Aboriginals
Who steal goon – strong alcohol); from Bumps (the sound Aboriginals
Make when they’re hit by ‘roo bars’ mounted on motor vehicles) to
Eucalyptus Niggers (the Eucalyptus is a native plant).
On and on and on, a catalogue of white supremacist verbal vomit,
Which traduces the indigenous peoples via a cavalcade of grotesquery.
More grotesque by far is the issue of the stolen generations of
Aboriginal children, forcibly taken from their families, between the
Eighteen nineties and the nineteen seventies – and beyond –
Many to never see their parents, siblings or relatives again,
And all in an attempt to ‘breed out’ Aboriginal culture,
Heritage and identity in as short a time as possible, as the
Bringing Them Home report of nineteen ninety-seven made plain:
“to inculcate European values and work habits in children, who
Would then be employed in service to the colonial settlers”.
In other words, the stolen children were used as cheap labour,
Or even unpaid labour, as station workers and domestic servants,
Without which Australia might not have developed its wealth,
Or its infrastructure, since employing whitefellas would have
Cost considerably more, and threatened future national prosperity.
The children, including babies, were placed in girls and boys homes,
Foster families and missions, then released into white society
At the age of eighteen, damaged beyond belief, the knowledge
Of their own native languages, traditions, dances and spirituality
A thing of the past, thereby breaking the ancestral timeline –
The continuity of Dreamtime and its circle of existence –
As a means of getting rid of ‘the Aboriginal problem’, at least
So far as successive administrations were, and are, concerned.
One of the supposed reasons the authorities removed the children
Was for their own good, in cases of malnutrition and neglect,
Which conveniently ignored the fact that Aboriginals were either
Unemployed, or poorly paid, as a direct result of discriminatory
Attitudes and guidelines, which caused the neglect and malnutrition
In the first place: a Catch-22 position from which there was no escape.
The children who found themselves on missions, or with foster parents,
Were severely punished when caught speaking their own languages,
And physical, emotional and sexual abuse were commonplace:
“The boys were called inmates… Not only were they separated
From their families and relatives, but they were regimented and
Locked up like caged animals (and) given severe punishments”.
“One in ten girls allege they were sexually abused in a work
Placement organised by the Protection Board or institution.”
Babies born to raped Aboriginal girls were taken away at birth,
In the same way that babies – blanket babies – were stolen from
Their mothers before them, with nurses hiding their faces,
In a seemingly endless, miserable cycle of cynical degradation.
It’s hardly a surprise to discover that the percentage of Aboriginals
Suffering with mental health issues was, and is, disproportionately
Greater than that of the white population – how could it be otherwise?!
The Bringing Them Home report was a national inquiry into the separation
Of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families.
Led by Sir Ronald Wilson, President of the Human Rights and Equality
Opportunity Commission, and Mick Dodson, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Social Justice Commissioner, it ran to six hundred and eighty pages,
With seven hundred and seventy-seven submissions received, of which
Five hundred and thirty-five were from indigenous individuals or groups.
The conclusion of the report was unequivocal:
“…indigenous families and communities have endured gross violations of their
human rights. These violations continue to affect indigenous people’s daily
lives. They were an act of genocide, aimed at wiping out indigenous families,
communities and cultures, vital to the precious, inalienable heritage of
It was recommended that funding be made available to allow those
Affected by forced removal to record their history, that reparations
Should be made to people who’d been forcibly removed, and that
All Australian Parliaments should offer official apologies, and
Acknowledge the responsibility of their predecessors.
John Howard, amongst others, responded by issuing a statement of
Regret, but absolutely refused to apologise, since that would have
Been tantamount to endorsing a ‘black armband view of history’.
Once a racist, always a racist – or so it seemed, in his particular case.
By nineteen ninety-nine, according to Senator Aden Ridgeway, every
State Parliament had delivered an apology, and the business of
National reconciliation was well under way, with a bright future
Assured for all Australians – white or black…
Except it wasn’t.
In nineteen ninety-seven, when Bringing Them Home was tabled in
Federal Parliament, there were two thousand seven hundred and
Eighty-five Aboriginal children in out-of-home care; by June twentieth,
Twenty sixteen, that number had risen to sixteen thousand eight hundred
And forty-six, and – since two thousand and eight, the year of Rudd’s
National apology – a huge overall increase of sixty-five percent.
So much for the promises of the white man…
In the words of Paul Ralph, CEO of KARI Aboriginal Resources Inc.,
“If you don’t already know, the Stolen Generation scenario still applies
Today and has been here for a long time and will continue to be here”.
Aboriginal children are eight times more likely to be the subject of
Departmental intervention, nine times more are on care and protection
Orders, and ten times more are in out-of-home care than non-Aboriginals.
When Olga Havnen, a senior Northern Territory government official,
Revealed a huge discrepancy between money spent on surveillance,
And money spent on supporting families, in two thousand and twelve
– $80 million versus $500,000 – she was sacked.
The fact is, government employees who decide the fate of the children
And their families, consistently fail to distinguish between neglect,
On the one hand, and downright poverty, on the other: Catch 22 all over again,
Especially given the intergenerational effects of separation, as parents
Stolen themselves as children, pass on the trauma to their offspring.
Padraic Gibson, Senior Researcher, Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning,
Put it like this: “Aboriginal children are mostly removed for ‘neglect’ or
’emotional abuse’. I have seen first-hand how these judgements are made
On a racist basis, or arise directly from the extreme poverty faced by families”.
In the interests of ‘balance’, it’s worth noting that the evidence
Brought to light in the Bringing Them Home report has been, and is,
Disputed or even denied in certain quarters – specifically, white quarters –
And dismissed as ‘a giant intellectual fraud with unforgivable consequences’,
Or re- repackaged as an exercise in Christian benevolence, whereby poor
Aboriginal children were and are simply ‘rescued’ from a culture of rape,
incest, substance abuse, insanitary living conditions… ‘for their own good’.
The John Howard line of defence is popular, too, since surely one
Generation can’t be held responsible for the acts of a previous generation?
And, of course, one of the most significant reasons to trash the findings
Of the original report: millions of dollars-worth of possible compensation
Claims, which might wreak havoc on Australia’s economy.
So much for balance…
John Pilger refers to an official ‘attitude’ in Australia,
That regards all Aboriginals as ‘morally deficient’,
And in conversation with a group of Aboriginal grandmothers,
All survivors of the first stolen generation, and now with stolen
Grandchildren of their own, he was told, “we live in a state of fear again”.
A state Greens MP, David Shoebridge, had this to say: “The truth is, there
Is a market among whites for these kids, especially babies”.
The saddest, most desperate of comments, comes from
Josie Crawshaw, in response to Pilger asking her why
Aboriginals are treated with such disdainful contempt.
“The wilful ignorance in Australia about its first people has now become
the kind of intolerance that gets to the point where you can smash an
entire group of humanity and there is no fuss.”
Wilful ignorance, intolerance, indifference: an unholy trinity which indicts
Generations of Australians, and points an accusing finger back in time,
To the British, in seventeen eighty-eight, when Terra Australia Incognita –
Which was certainly not Terra Nullis – was invaded by Captain Phillip,
With his cargo of land-grabbers, criminals, the Bible, and Death:
In other words, the British Empire.
If white Australia requires a capacious cupboard in which to keep
Its black skeletons, then the British Empire has need of an entire
Building at least, to store the remains of its victims: Britannia’s
Very own treasure-trove of multi-genocide collateral damage.
Perhaps, in lieu of restoration, the crumbling Palace of Westminster
Might serve as a vast mausoleum, since most of what transpires
In the place is already redolent of so much deathly waste.
Imagine the chambers, corridors, offices, bars and restaurants stacked,
Floor to ceiling, with the bones of hundreds of millions of
Indigenous peoples, who just happened to be in the wrong places
At the wrong times, when the “the devil wrapped in a butcher’s apron”
Came calling, with all of Hell following behind.
From fifteen sixty-four, when the British slave trade out of Africa began,
Until the present time, with British weaponry employed in the Yemen,
Via Saudi Arabia, to indiscriminately kill and maim anyone and everyone
Who gets in the way, the Empire and its diminished shadow self,
Has left a trail of bloodshed, cruelty, destruction, and swaggering
Hypocrisy in its wake.
Not content with the near-extirpation of ‘Australian’ Aboriginals,
The British transported millions of men, women and children
From their homelands in Africa, over a period of two hundred years,
To be sold into slavery, to harvest tobacco and cotton in the
‘New World’, thereby helping establish the economic foundations
Of the future American Empire, as well as committing acts of
Genocide against the First Nations every bit as lethal as the
Americans themselves, following their Declaration of Independence.
It’s fair to say that the seemingly indiscriminate murders of
Black men and women by white policemen in modern America,
Derive from white supremacist attitudes carried forward from the time
Of the slave trade, and that the destruction of Native sacred lands,
By way of a rapacious oil industry, which rides roughshod over
Environmental and cultural concerns, merely confirms the long-held
White man’s belief that ‘red injuns’ don’t qualify as human beings,
Despite their occupancy of the continent stretching back at least
Fifteen thousand years before the arrival of Leifur Eriksson.
Inevitably, the indigenous peoples of both Canada and of the
United States, have been subjected to religious conversion, land theft,
Extreme violence, pathogenic infections, poison, sterilisation, racism
And the kidnapping-cum-assimilation of generations of children:
The distinctive dead hand of British Imperialism hovering over the land,
Like a blood-red phantom.
Not content with the near-extirpation of ‘Australian’ Aboriginals;
With the plundering of Africa for its ready stock of human beings,
To be sold as mere merchandise to the highest bidders;
Of inflicting brutal savagery on the peoples of the First Nations,
The British vandalised, exploited and corrupted Kenya, Zimbabwe,
Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Uganda, Sudan, Somalia and South Africa,
Leaving chaos, famine, political instability and brutality in their wake.
The on-going conflicts in the continent now are the direct result
Of colonial arrogance and indifference, with the British still assuming,
As if by Divine Right, they have the power to influence affairs,
Particularly when it comes to oil production, and to the mining of
Diamonds and of platinum and of gold – given that FTSE-listed companies,
Including Shell, BP, Rio Tinto and Glencore, duly qualify as being British.
It’s also worth remembering that during the Second Boer War,
Fought between eighteen ninety-nine and nineteen hundred and two,
The Empire was responsible for the mass internment of farmer-civilians,
Of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, by way of
Block houses, barbed wire fences and concentration camps.
Although the British weren’t the first to employ such camps,
They certainly mastered the dubious art of mass murder
By way of cramped confinement, which resulted in the quickfire
Spread of measles, typhoid and dysentery.
The fact that the Boers had as little right to the land as the British,
In no way excuses the Empire’s implacably cruel behaviour.
Not content with the near-extirpation of ‘Australian’ Aboriginals;
With the exploitation of Africa’s peoples and its resources;
With the dehumanisation and destruction of the First Nations;
With the use of the concentration camp as a method of control,
The British proceeded along similar lines in Aotearoa, or
New Zealand, as it became known, once both islands had been stolen
From the indigenous Maori population – a population much abused,
After the introduction of disease, feral animals, alcohol, drugs and,
Between eighteen twenty and eighteen thirty-five, guns –
– in the form of muskets, which, in turn, led to the Musket Wars,
Whereby thousands of tribes-people lost their lives.
The Maori culture and its food economy were corrupted by
Deliberately divisive settler tactics, with a resultant redistribution
Of resources, and half of the original inhabitants wiped out.
The aboriginals of the Fiji Islands fared no better, with a third
Of the entire population struck down by measles, following the
Infection of a ship carrying Fijian royalty on a visit to Sydney,
In eighteen seventy-five, which was knowingly sent back to the Islands,
Without the yellow flag, as a matter of official British policy.
The Fijian Rebellion against the invaders in the same year was hardly
A coincidence, with its consequential loss of native lives.
To make matters worse, the British imported sixty thousand
Indentured labourers from India and South East Asia, to slave on
British plantations, thereby permanently distorting the demographic
Of the Islands, leaving a bitter legacy between ethnic Indians
And Fijian aboriginals – a case of ‘divide and rule’ writ large.
Not content with the near-extirpation of ‘Australian’ Aboriginals;
With the exploitation of Africa’s peoples and its resources;
With the dehumanisation and destruction of the First Nations;
With the use of the concentration camp as a method of control;
With the redistribution of Aotearoan wealth and Maori lands;
With the ‘blackbirding’ of the Fiji Islands, and its continuing ethnic divisions,
The British Raj in the Indian sub-continent surpassed itself,
In terms of the sheer scale of the atrocities committed
In the name of Imperial power.
The number of Indian deaths caused, as a direct result of
British policy, numbered one hundred million, at the very least,
Over a period of two hundred years or so, not to mention
The million extra fatalities, following the bloody cock-up
Of Partition, in nineteen forty-seven, a cock-up engineered by the
Viceroy of India, Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten,
Who, not surprisingly, sidelined the Princely States, and forced
A form of segregated religious partition on the region as a whole,
And demanded the entire process to be completed, without incident,
In an unrealistically short space of time – as if it was any of his
Damned business in the first place.
The indigenous population, irrespective of religious belief, region,
Cultural or caste identity, was obliged to dance to a tune played by
An imperious, disdainful aristocrat, accompanid by the
War-mongering bully-boy, Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill,
Whose feelings regarding the natives was straightforward enough:
“I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.
The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits”.
The famine in question was the last great Bengal Famine, which
Hit the country between nineteen forty-three and nineteen forty-four,
When a minimum of two million people starved to death, even as food
And medical supplies were denied to them by the British War Cabinet.
Not that it was the first major famine to decimate Bengal, nor was it
The most calamitous, as the Great Bengal Famine of seventeen seventy
Claimed ten million lives, and, according to the Indian economist,
Amartya Sen, was entirely man-made, in that the policies of the
British East India Company, by way of punitive taxation, the planting of
Opium instead of rice, the export of tea to the American colonies,
And the flow of revenue directly into the Company’s coffers, decimated
The country, and set a precedent of gross exploitation for the whole
Of the nineteenth century and beyond.
In Sri Lanka, an island similar in size to England, a minimum of
Half a million people were murdered by the British, including the entire
Male population of the Uva region, above the age of eighteen, for
Having the temerity to resist the occupation of their lands.
Between eighteen seventeen and eighteen eighteen, during the
Great Rebellion, the invaders razed villages, and, at one point,
Contemplated exterminating the entire Kandyan peoples, before
Settling for the execution of at least one male member of each family.
British benevolence at its finest…
The violence which continues to affect both India and Sri Lanka
Is the inevitable consequence of British colonial policies, in terms of
Societal and religious divisions, land ownership and wealth distribution.
Not content with the near extirpation of ‘Australian’ Aborigines;
With the exploitation of Africa’s people and its resources;
With the dehumanisation and destruction of the First Nations;
With the use of the concentration camp as a method of control;
With the redistribution of Aotearoan wealth and Maori lands;
With the ‘blackbirding’ of the Fiji Islands, and its continuing ethnic divisons;
With the expedient famines of Bengal, and the wrecking-ball partition of India;
With the murderous atrocities committed against indigenous Sri Lankans,
The British Government became, during the nineteenth century,
The dope peddler to China, via the trafficking of vast quantities of opium –
The very crop which millions of Bengalis paid the ultimate price to pick –
Under the flag of ‘free trade’, in exchange for porcelain, silk, and tea,
A much sought after commodity, so that the English in particular
Might enjoy a lovely cuppa, without having to worry about its real price.
During the course of the two Opium Wars, between eighteen thirty-nine
And eighteen forty-two, and eighteen fifty-six and eighteen sixty,
A minimum of thirty thousand Chinese troops lost their lives,
While the British gained rights to Hong Kong, five treaty ports,
Trade rights, extraterritorial rights and trade privileges.
At a rough estimate, as many as ninety percent of young men along
China’s east coast were addicted to smoking opium by the eighteen thirties:
The result of Britain’s illegal drug smuggling, enforced by the British military.
The fact that China wasn’t a British colony made no difference, since,
In terms of exercising power and control, the Empire waded in as it wished –
And all in the glorious name of, and pursuit of, material profit.
Britannia: an arthritic, wheezing, money-grubbing, sociopathic cut-throat;
A barbaric, sanctimonious, hypocritical, flag-waving, despotic prig;
A gimlet-eyed, steel-beaked, stone-hearted, gore-encrusted monstrosity.
The British Empire: a squalid enterprise, presided over by a multinational
Dysfunctional family business, possessing obscene material wealth, and
Wielding unearned privileges, shielded via crisscrossed corridors of sacred
And secular powers, an acquiescent, tongue-in-sphincter Fourth Estate,
Desperate to acquire a little leverage of its own, and a doped, duped
Commons, seemingly content with prettily-wrapped parcelled gobbets
Of aristocratic shit, autocratic puke and plutocratic derision, dropped
From a great height, in the dubious name of Patriotism.
It’s true to say that whenever and wherever the British have planted
Their blood-stained little banner, death has followed immediately after.
Even now, the tattered remnants of Empire reveal themselves across
The globe, and not simply in the form of a Commonwealth – which is
Merely a watered-down version of Imperial might – but in the shape of an
Interfering, irrelevant, slimy finger or two, intended to influence and
Manipulate circumstances and events to the best financial, cultural
And military advantage of Her Majesty’s Government.
The fact that Britain, in its current state, is a State not fit for purpose,
Makes no difference, since old habits die hard – despite everything.
Over the last seventy years or so, the march of folly has continued unabated,
On its merry murderous way, causing mayhem in its wake, and sowing
The seeds of nihilistic discord for generations to come: from Palestine
To Suez, Malaya to Borneo, Korea to Aden, Cyprus to Kenya, Kuwait to
Kosovo, Iraq to Afghanistan, Libya to Sierra Leone, Bosnia to the Malvinas,
Syria to Muscat and Oman, and on, and on… And not forgetting one
Particular conflict, tucked away in Britain’s own backyard; a conflict which
Stretches back in time to Cromwell – the ‘good Oliver’ – and beyond: Ireland.
As Britain’s oldest colony, at least until nineteen twenty-two, when the
South was partitioned from the North, the island of Ireland experienced
The very worst possible treatment from its sadistic neighbour across the sea.
It’s impossible to do justice to the scale of violence and degradation inflicted
On the Irish, but suffice to say, it matched the genocidal horrors committed
Against the First Nations and the Aborigines.
Despite a once-resurgent Republicanism, Australia seems to have settled
For well-favoured status within the British Commonwealth – along with
New Zealand, Fiji, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Canada, South Africa,
Zimbabwe, and numerous other blood-spattered former colonies,
Although there is a certain poetic irony involved, in that Britannia
Might soon come to depend on the good offices of these ‘children
Of the Empire’, given the current parlous economic state of the ‘Mother
Country’, as it seeks to extricate itself from a cesspit of its own digging,
In the shape of an ill-advised severing of ties from its European ‘friends’.
Time will tell…
What is certainly evident, is that the dark heart of ‘Australia Fair’
Is in terminal decline, stymied by an ongoing, dirty little secret,
Whereby a primal bloodline, sixty-five thousand years in the making,
Has been cut off from its source: the ancestral lands gifted to the
Aboriginals at the very beginning of everywhen and everywhere.
No longer zigzaged and crisscrossed in preturnatural tracks,
Indicative of a confluence of gods and geography and humans,
Of a symbiotic correlation between all creatures and all ecologies,
But merely the markings of modern activity, in the form of
Pipelines, underground cables, overhead wires, satellite stations,
Fences, roads, aeroplane runways, railways, nuclear power stations,
Military bases, US military bases, nuclear testing sites, factories,
Uranium mines, coal mines, shiny cityscapes, shanty towns,
Bleached coral reefs, and everything that stinks of white-wash.
The old, slow, intelligent way of living, in tune with the natural world,
Of a careful balance between contented survival and respect of life
And land, has been supplanted by a kind of frenetic insanity, as the
Continent itself is violated, exploited, abused and raped daily,
By multi-national conglomerates, Chinese State investment,
Governmental backhanders to the worst of polluters, imported rubbish
(specifically destined for former Aboriginal homelands), a shallow,
Narcissistic rhetoric, utterly devoid of meaning and purpose,
And a ‘greed is great, excess is best’ mentality, which will, in the end,
Poison and destroy everyone and everything, in a quick-march
Towards a climate-altered dead zone.
What then of ‘Australia Fair’?
What then of ‘golden soil and wealth for toil’?
What then of ‘nature’s gifts’?
Perhaps it’s time for white Australia to pay heed to the First Peoples,
To acquire a little of their wisdom, to stop treating them as sub-human,
Since a continuous history of sixty-five thousand years suggests the
Aboriginals know a thing or two about surviving – despite the determined
Efforts of the British and their Anglo-Celtic spawn to eradicate them entirely.
However, given that the attitude of James Cook all those years ago
Still prevails; that Aboriginals are Eucalyptus Niggers, then this
Is an unlikely scenario.
As the Sydney Morning Herald noted, in nineteen eighty-five:
“For the official 1938 Australia Day celebrations, the government
brought in ‘tame blacks’ from the Menindee reserve. They were
taken straight from the train, locked up in a stable at the Refern
police barracks, and guarded by dogs. On 26 January 1938, they
were brought out dressed in leaves to be chased along the shore
by British soldiers with bayonets and to parade through the streets
on a float. The next day they were sent back to their tin sheds on
the Darling River”.
Today, the re-enactments are still performed, but without bayonets.
Everything changes; everything remains the same.
When the ships with the tall sails first appeared in Sydney’s harbour,
They were greeted with cries of ‘warra warra, warra warra’.
A prescient instruction, almost as if the Aboriginals could foresee
Their own future – which of course they could, in a way, as the
Everywhen-cum- everywhere of so-called Dreamtime contains
Everything – including the arrival of the vampiric Namorroddos,
A nocturnal monster, with a particular taste for young children.
‘Warra warra’ is usually translated as ‘go away’, but it’s tempting
To think that what was really meant was “fuck off, fuck off, you
Ignorant, alien, crooked, savage, white bastards, and don’t come back”.
A tragedy, then, that Captain Phillip seemed deaf.
Dafydd ap Pedr