Friday, March 25, 2011

Whiteman's dreaming - the terrible failure of the Left's aboriginal policies

So, maybe we're are now entering the endgame of the decades long experiment in the middle-class white fantasy that separatism was a viable strategy for aboriginal people in Australia.

This fantasy, that "spiritual" native people could viably return to and maintain a stone age culture and lifestyle in modern Australia was always doomed to failure.

This fantasy of well meaning members of the white elite, whose own children were sent to the best private schools money could buy to prepare them for stellar careers in the law and medicine, has doomed generations of aboriginal children to lives of squalor and degradation as they sit out in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to do, other than to go mad.

The traditional life basically ended many years ago. It was never going to be revived. So people sat down and waited for their sit-down money, bored out of their minds.

And some people are surprised this ended in a social catastrophe?

Gary Johns, a special minister of state in the Keating Labor government, has written a book that is hopefully the death knell of this nightmare of good intentions gone horribly wrong - Aboriginal Self-Determination: The Whiteman's Dream by Gary Johns (Connor Court Publishing, $29.95).

The Weekend Australian, (yes, you can almost hear certain minds slamming shut while telling themselves they are so clever with their talk of the LOLstralian), has the first of several edited extracts from the book today.

Here's a taste:

Yet recent visits by the president of Amnesty International and the UN Special Rapporteur to Alice Springs town camps and elsewhere are given prominent coverage in the media, as if there was some profound remedy for Aboriginal strife in their pre-digested human rights policy medicine.

Aborigines do not lack rights. Their struggle is with their past, the ingrained habits of generations that prevent some from getting a foothold in the Australian economy. Aborigines do not need new homes so much as new lives; they need to change their behaviour. Unfortunately, many Aboriginal leaders misdiagnose their people's dilemma.

Galarrwuy Yunupingu boasts: "I have maintained the traditions, kept the law, performed my role, yet the Yolngu world is in crisis; we have stood still. I look around me and I feel the powerlessness of all our leaders. All around me are do-gooders and no-hopers . . . Whitefellas. Balanda. Although the wealth of the Australian nation has been taken from our soil, our communities and homelands bear no resemblance to the great towns and metropolises of the modern Australian nation."

Yunupingu wants the whiteman's economy and the blackman's culture -- what could be simpler? But does Yunupingu seriously suggest Aborigines could build cities and economies, and remain the unskilled people of the Yolngu tribes?

Truly a case of read and weep.

Weep for the lives of so many children destroyed before they ever had a chance to turn whatever their dreams may have been, to be a doctor or have a nice house, whatever, into reality.

For kids - and it is happening right now out in the remote communities (and sadly in not so remote ones too) - being subjected to a level of degradation and abuse almost beyond imagining.

For desperate women, on the receiving end of often savage beatings from their menfolk, still trying to protect their young children being used as disposable sexual commodities. In some areas they do everything they can to prevent men from taking young boys out into the desert for "initiation" ceremonies, knowing exactly what will really initiated into.

Some of us more conservative people have recently been derided, in another context, for being "angry."

Well, too-right I'm angry. I'm seething with anger at yet another avoidable policy cluster-fuck. One that was predictable, predicted and vindicated.

But I can't even summon a hint of schadenfreude here. Being proved right still means a story of human misery and lost opportunity too sad to crow over.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How sad. Education, not welfare.