So here we are the last article for the year – the time has gone so fast. For me it is a time for deep reflection and an opportunity to say thank you to all our readers as we prioritise our thoughts towards another year. Remember we receive absolutely no Government funding and survive only on subscriptions and advertising so you are the ones who keep our voice alive; Gabayiindah (thank you).
This is the difference between us and the other media, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, and the reason why we were able to cover the G20 and Freedom Summit while the others remained silent … but more on editorial censorship later.
For me personally and I know many others will agree the year will be remembered for the constant assault and ongoing attacks against our People. The hostility has been unrelenting.
Of the many burning issues facing our People the closing down of many of our communities is just one example of the assimilationist policies we face. This will continue the dispossession of lands so important to our identity.
After 226 years of invasion our oppressors continue the threat of Culture, language and identity against us. We remain the victims of systemic causation and effect, which towards the end of the year had many of our community referring to it as systematic ethnic cleansing.
Ethnic cleansing is defined as the systemic causation via institutionalised racism through government effectively causing the extinction of the Original First Peoples of this country.
That’s right, extinction … extinction of languages, Culture and practice and eventually the people.
You think I am kidding? The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show over half of our mob, whether married or in a de facto relationship, have a non-Indigenous partner, with over 80 per cent of our children of mixed race.
Again, I am more than aware that such topics offend some people but if we don’t have this discussion now there is the very real threat that if things continue as they are we will not only lose our languages and ceremony but yes our colour.
And then when we look the same as our oppressor, speak only their language and know only their system ask yourself what part of our ancestors remain?
The same Australian Bureau of Statistics show 88 per cent of our Mob do not speak an Aboriginal language and only a little over half of us identify with a particular clan or First Nation language group.
Most of us live in single parent or nuclear households rather than extended family groups and moreover there is a growing Indigenous middle class which, in benefitting from Western values and self-interest, remain silent while suicide rates, self-harm, closure of remote communities and deaths in custody continue.
None of the above is opinion; these are stated facts and this is what we are up against as we approach the end of 2014.
Rachel Perkins wrote only last week in the Sydney Morning Herald: “There is a deep subterranean feeling of burning resentment, carried within my People, that has been handed down from parent to child across six generations since 1788. Fuelled by the fact our nation has not thoroughly acknowledged the First People of this country. That the 2500 generations, the 1 billion people who populated at least 60,000 years of life, means nothing? This is the inheritance passed on to me. I do not want to resent my own country any longer. I don’t want my children to carry this burden and neither should yours. Let us do something to free future Australians from this historical angst.”
No Rachel, this is no “historical angst” this is happening now and I have never resented my country. My country is Kamilaroi and runs from Tamworth in western New South Wales up through Moree and over the Queensland border, past St George, stopping at Surat.
Rachel states clearly within the article she sees the constitution as her “nation’s founding document” but as I said and continue to say my nation is Kamilaroi and I refuse to surrender 70,000 years of occupation and history in glorifying an invasion that took place 200 years ago.
We don’t get to write for the Sydney Morning Herald or The Australian, Ms Perkins and neither would you if you chose to make a difference rather than remain silent in speaking up for those most vulnerable who feel the full effects of hostility and racism against them on a daily bases.
The creation of 15,000 refugees across Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia is happening now, Ms Perkins, not in the past. The CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia, Dennis Eggington is just one of our community who describes the closure of over 240 Traditional Homeland Communities as “ethnic cleansing”.
You won’t find Mr Eggington writing for the Sydney Morning Herald or The Australian either. Ms Perkins also wrote: “However, to you my fellow Australians, who may be hesitant in committing under these complex circumstances, I urge you not to wait for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People to find complete agreement. It will fall not just to us Indigenous People but more fundamentally to you, who are the overwhelming majority, to fix it.”
I can’t speak for Ms Perkins but after 226 years of White Australians making decisions on our behalf with such devastating effects they are the last people I want our future to “fall” to as “the overwhelming majority” to “fix.”
Compare the above statements with this from WAR and Brisbane Sovereign Embassy spokesman, Boe Spearim: “Do we really need to sit at the table with the same people who have put us in this very position we are in today. Ask yourselves do we? We need to create our own table that we once had before invasion since the first sunrise. Let’s clear the table of the White Australian Government, let’s create that change, let’s talk of freedom, let’s talk of independence, let’s talk of Black Nations rising. At our own table we are that change we see and we are that change we can bring it in to existence.” (Boe Spearim, 2014)
Like all colonised countries around the world, the Original First People of this country have survived the slaughter, the mass slavery and devastation of Western cruelty thrashed upon our communities.
But over the last 60 years we have seen a change with the development of television and mass media since the 1950s. This introduction of mass media changed the State strategy from just brutality to more subtle institutionalised State behaviours in keeping our Black People down.
The pioneer of such strategies was John Edgar Hoover, the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States. Hoover used espionage intelligence to harass political activists by collecting secret files on political leaders and by censoring reform agendas. It was Hoover more than anyone else who created the neo-conservative liberalism that sees corporations and big business run government policies across the Western world effectively putting an end to true democracy forever.
According to President Harry S. Truman, Hoover transformed the FBI into his private secret police force. Truman stated: “We want no Gestapo or secret police. The FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex life scandals and plain blackmail. J. Edgar Hoover would give his right eye to take over and all Congressmen and Senators are afraid of him”. (Anthony Summers, 2012)
It was Hoover who more than any one individual influenced the fall of Communism, Socialism and Black Consciousness where he purposely exaggerated the threats of these ideologies under a programme of counter intelligence.
Hoover’s legacy is Western governments still use counter intelligence today. Hoover’s methods included infiltration, burglaries, illegal wiretaps, planting forged documents and spreading false rumours about key members of target organisations. There is also evidence that shows counter intelligence methods include inciting violence and assassination.
Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and the Black Panther Movement were all targeted by Hoover and the FBI; in a civil trial in Memphis, Tennessee, 12 jurors reached a unanimous verdict on December 8, 1999 that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated as a result of a US Government conspiracy.
Again, why is this case not taught in school? Why is Edgar Hoover not written in the annals of history as a criminal of social justice and civil liberties?
Why? Because those who have retained power have benefited from his politics and strategies and now implement them against us. This is no conspiracy theory, this is truth, everything written here is not only well-known it is established as historical fact. So again why the censorship?
Ask yourself, why are Rachel Perkins and others writing in The Australian or the Sydney Morning Herald and I am writing in the National Indigenous Times and The Stringer and Boe Spearim is feeding 200 families on a self-funded programme standing in a park with a loudspeaker?
Do you honestly believe that having found such a successful form of civil control and obedience through counter intelligence that State authorities and Western governance would have stopped such practices in the last 50 years?
Of course they haven’t and censorship and control of publications and media is a large part of their strategy.
This is how it works on climate change. Australia’s national scientific organisations were raising the alarm for more than a decade and Labor were becoming leaders in climate change having pushed the carbon tax through the Senate.
In steps Rupert Murdoch, who exercises his considerable influence in Australian media. The country is now governed by a deeply unpopular Liberal-National government and its position on climate change has significant impacts on global efforts to reduce carbon emissions: Australia is not only the chair of the G20 group of nations but also holds a place on the UN Security Council.
So how did it happen? In 2010, Gillard managed to shepherd a cap-and-trade law to passage, in the form of the Clean Energy Future Act. Tony Abbott called the science of climate change “crap” and various senior figures in his frontbench team openly questioned the scientific basis of anthropogenic global warming. Abbott spoke at anti-carbon price rallies in front of banners proclaiming Prime Minister Gillard as a “witch” and a “bitch”.
Behind the scenes, several key members of Abbott’s party visited the United States to meet with conservative think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, who openly deny climate change.
Gillard’s carbon pricing laws eventually came into effect in 2012 amid the biggest fear campaign ever seen in Australia. Rupert Murdoch-owned mastheads, controlling as much as 70 per cent of the newspaper market, carried front page stories attacking the laws.
Australia’s only national daily newspaper, the Murdoch-owned The Australian, promoted misleading stories giving credence to climate denialist views taken from the Heritage Foundation as public opinion. Julia Gillard was replaced as our Prime Minister and the rest, as they say, is history.
In closing my final thought of the year is ask yourself this.
If you believe in a Western system and in trying to change the organisational racism from within through active participation and access, don’t we have a Black President of the United States? And yet police brutality against minorities is as high as it has ever been with hundreds of thousands marching in the US in protest against the number of men and woman recently killed by police.
What makes you think things will change here via the Recognise campaign or any other policy that enables our People to become part of the system? The short answer is it won’t change anything. It is the system itself that is rotten to the core.
Did no one read the article last week highlighting an advertising campaign promoting luxurious apartments for sale in Redfern which claimed Aboriginal People had “moved out” of the inner-Sydney suburb in order to lure buyers.
This is the same development company Mick Mundine has brought in to build the $70 million redevelopment at Redfern.
The whiteman controls his own school, his own economy, his own politics, his own everything, his own community but he also controls ours. When you are under someone else’s control your freedom is being oppressed. They will always give you the lowest or the worst they have to offer.
The West won this control not through the superiority of its ideas, values or religion but instead through organised violence, hostility and brutality.
Westerners often forget this. Original First Nation peoples never do.
Dr Woolombi Waters is a Kamilaroi language speaker and writer and is a lecturer at Griffith University. He writes a weekly column for the National Indigenous Times.