Axver (axver) wrote,

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White Australia needs to get the fuck over itself

It's bloody Invasion Day.

I realise what I am about to write dabbles in loaded, hyperbolic language. However, I think it is fundamentally sound and makes the right points. Put simply, I find it to be nothing short of a disgrace that Australia Day, the national day of this country, is held on the 26th of January. It commemorates the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788, and celebrates the survival of the first British settlers and the country they founded.

Now let's turn to history and ask ourselves just what this means. The British settlement that began on 26/01/1788 proceeded under the presumption of "terra nullius"; i.e. that the Australian continent was considered empty and not owned, since the Aboriginal inhabitants did not practice European patterns of property ownerships. In founding the modern state of Australia, an entire people were thoroughly dispossessed from their land and culture, brutally massacred on the frontier and psychologically massacred in the urban centres. The Aboriginal population is one of the oldest on the planet, but their forty thousand year old connection to the land was utterly disregarded - cultural sites were desecrated; peoples were forced from their homelands to make way for white colonisation; and traditional patterns of cultivation and survival off the land that had been refined over millennia were not even understood by Europeans who had the gall to presume they could survive in the country better than a population that had stood the test of time.

Aboriginal history has been obliterated. Australia Day implicitly considers it redundant - the beginning of British settlement is the milestone to celebrate. The beginning of British settlement is the beginning of Australia and of Australian history. Aboriginal history lives in the margins, disregarded, misunderstood, abused, even condemned. Indeed, this is vividly reflected in the way "Aboriginal history" is discursively disconnected from modern Australian history. Aboriginal culture, inextricably intertwined with this history, is a shadow of its former self, struggling to survive in a country dominated by a culture unfriendly to its own. Some traditional practices and languages are dead. For some Aboriginal nations, the modern state we celebrate on this day was literally their death in every way. Those that survive live in subjection.

The British settlement founded on 26 January 1788 culminated in genocide in the early 20th century. Anybody who denies that the Aboriginal people are victims of genocide clearly knows absolutely nothing of Indigenous history and needs to urgently read the definition of genocide as outlined by the UN. Government policy expressly sought to eradicate Aboriginality - through physical assimilation, cultural appropriation, and political exclusion. Read your history, people. British colonists never saw the Aboriginal population as part of the country they were establishing. Legislation repeatedly excluded them from any position in political or economic or social processes; I can dig up quotes from the Queensland, Western Australian, and national parliaments to sustain my position if necessary. 26 January 1788 is the date from which the Aboriginal population became utterly subject. It was stripped of its liberty and its independence and even now exists in a position of minority and disadvantage - in the land it has inhabited for forty thousand years! And we are being asked to celebrate this? Really?

Australia wants to present itself as a multicultural and inclusive country. What bullshit. This is one of the most racist countries on earth, with a past to rival that of Apartheid South Africa. The government may have said sorry for the Stolen Generations, but reconciliation is going to take so much more than that. Aboriginal society is forced to function according to white norms, to make its claims under white legal systems, and seek representation within white politics. You cannot tell me that Aboriginal society has anything vaguely resembling equality when it is so thoroughly subject. The White Australia policy may have been abandoned in name, but by god, we still live in a White Australia. Every attempt to try to include the Aboriginal population in Australia Day celebrations is awkward; trying to value Aboriginality while celebrating a modern state founded on devaluing Aboriginality presents a complete contradiction.

This is a day for bogans, racists, and the wilfully ignorant.

At least there is one band whose music is appropriate today.

The Dead Heart
Midnight Oil

We don't serve your country, don't serve your king
Know your customs, don't speak your tongue
White man came, took everyone

We don't serve your country, don't serve your king
White man listen to the songs we sing
White man came, took everything

We carry in our hearts the true country
And that cannot be stolen
We follow in the steps of our ancestry
And that cannot be broken

We don't serve your country, don't serve your king
Know your custom, don't speak your tongue
White man came, took everyone

We don't need protection, don't need your hand
Keep your promise on where we stand
We will listen, we'll understand

We carry in our hearts the true country
And that cannot be stolen
We follow in the steps of our ancestry
And that cannot be broken
We carry in our hearts the true country
And that cannot be stolen
We follow in the steps of our ancestry
And that cannot be broken

Mining companies
Pastoral companies
Uranium companies
Collected companies
Got more rights than people
Got more say than people
More say than people, more say than people

Forty thousand years
It makes a difference to the state of things

The dead heart, the dead heart ...
The dead heart lives here
Tags: aborigines, aborigniality, australia, australia day, australian history, genocide, history, invasion day, midnight oil, race, racism

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