Why am I not amused when I hear politicians, social commentators and civic leaders telling Indigenous people to “get over it?”
I must admit I had a bit of a smirk on my face when I read of the fuss being made over the possible unearthing of Australian diggers at Anzac Cove by a Turkish road gang.
An AAP story of March 9, 2005, said Foreign Minister Alexander Downer informed parliament he had asked Australia's ambassador in Turkey to raise the issue with Turkish authorities after reports emerged that there might be problems with the way the work was being carried out.
During the course of discussions yesterday, the Turkish authorities told our ambassador that archaeological work had been carried out prior to the road works commencing and the Turkish authorities say no remains have been unearthed during the road works. They also assured us that if any remains had been unearthed they would immediately instruct that the reconstruction of the road be stopped.
I respect the fighting spirit of our Anzac heroes and other gallant soldiers, including my father’s brother and a multitude of other Indigenous armed services personnel, who fought in the wars.
What distresses me most is the constant assertion of non-Indigenous people, who have a propensity for acquiring periodic bouts of amnesia, that there is no evidence of wrong doing on the part of their ancestors during their peaceful settlement of our lands and that the stolen generation is a myth.
So am I to accept that the “natives were friendly and readily gave of their land for the mutual benefit of the new colony and Aboriginal mother’s allowed their children to wander off with strange white men?” - and yes pigs can fly!
After all, didn’t historian Keith Windschuttle say the massacres didn’t happen and Johnny Howard say no Aboriginal children were forcefully removed from their parents - sure Keithy and Johnny and I suppose Phar Lap and Simpson and his donkey were fictitious as well?
Chris Owen commenting on the History News Network (February 23, 2003) said Keith Windschuttle is a bad historian because his political agenda (to rewrite Australian colonial history as less violent and therefore less destructive on Aboriginal society) shines through in everything he writes. Windschuttle claims to be an empiricist historian but writes some of the most ideologically-driven history going in Australia. By taking colonial records such as those of the police literally (as if a police officer on the violent frontier is going to write down all of what they did and therefore incriminate themselves) and ignoring Aboriginal oral history, he makes a mockery of the claim to be searching for “the historical truth”.
How does Windschuttle explain Blood on the Wattle - Massacres and maltreatment of Aboriginal Australians since 1788 by Bruce Elder which gives a graphic account of Indigenous mistreatment? Elder painstakingly wrote:
Aboriginal Australians had what we all want now. We, the European invaders, took it all away. We destroyed it. We took the land as if it was our own. We destroyed the native fruit-bearing trees to create pastures for cattle and sheep. We killed off native wildlife if it tried to compete with sheep and cattle for the pastures. We replaced ecology with aggressive nineteenth-century exploitative capitalism. We built roads over scared sites. We denied the land its spirituality. We killed off Aboriginal people with guns and poison and disease. We refused, through ignorance and arrogance, to see any tribal differentiation in those Aboriginal people who survived our insidious, long-term holocaust.
Never happened Keithy? And what of little Johnny Howard’s refusal to say sorry to the stolen generation with an implied message to the broader community that it didn’t happen?
Why isn’t the Bringing Them Home: The Stolen Children Report sufficient substantiation to placate our fearless leader? Evidence was presented orally or in writing to the enquiry from 535 Indigenous people throughout Australia concerning their experiences of the removal policies.
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