Sunday, August 29, 2010

The inetervention that was in reality an occupation

I've just been around to a friend's place. In actual fact, she's the mother of my younger son. As I explained to him, he is not the product of a virgin birth, and so, in that case I'm his father.

Whatever, she wanted to talk about the government intervention in the northern parts of Australia where we both live. Two citizens sitting down for a coffee to hold discourse over this invisible problem. Invisible for us sitting in a kitchen in Melbourne's leafy east, less so for an aboriginal person living in the continents interior.

There is little to talk about unless you're prepared to get to the essence of the problem. The schwerpunkt of the matter would seem to be this: that the indigenous peoples of Australia, once originally free holders of all the territories now under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth of Australia whose head of government is the Queen of Australia, Queen Elisabeth II who is also Queen of England, having been dispossessed under an act of the British Parliament due to the fact of it being Terra Nullius or an uninhabited land, have once again been occupied by the military forces of the Government of Australia acting on her behalf.

Coincidentally this family of monarchs are also major shareholders in British and international capital, not least of which including the mining companies Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton which have a vested interest in subjecting the communities concerned to disorder and chaos by the use of implied force.

My friend was commenting on a television program she had seen concerning this intervention. The program, as related to me, was about providing shops in remote communities. As soon I heard this, and perhaps this is a failure of mine, all I could think of was the stupidity of the proposition being put. If these poor buggers had any money to speak of then of course there would be shopping malls built on every last square of their land!

No, no! They want co-operatives. Oh dear, co-operatives which have never worked anywhere else. Isn't the issue here that the aboriginal peoples, having been dispossessed of their land and their culture having been all but destroyed by generations of dispossession, allowing alcoholism and drug abuse to run rampant? Aren't domestic violence and sexual dysfunction well known side-effects of  these illnesses? Isn't it known that some peoples have a genetic and cultural predisposition to these insidious diseases?

All I can say is this. Leave the indigenous peoples of this land, and the world, alone. Sure, provide them with the services and access to those services that every other citizen has. For example, provide schools and universities, hospitals and health centers and food to these people by all means, give them back their land to be held in common so that they may maintain their spirituality, just treat them as equals.

Too hard. We want to worry about the guilt and shame of our ancestors, deny the ongoing destruction of the natural habitat, and instead help. Help? What a misused and abused word. The best way to help these peoples under attack is to help ourselves. A sick person cannot help another sick person. The settlers in this country need to work on themselves.

The air-conditioner next door runs all day and night. May I be comfortable so that you may suffer. Cars flood the streets as the temperature soars. Each piece of operating machinery, every computer and appliance, throwing heat into an already over loaded atmosphere.

Every occurrence includes within it the totality of human and natural history. The intervention and climate change, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, economic crises and the newspaper which fails to report yet another teenage death from the abuse of a combination of ecstasy, Ice and alcohol, all of these are present in every aspect of the cup of coffee I just consumed.

They are and are not present. In some place they are tangible and others not. Nevertheless, they are there if one is only prepared to reflect and contemplate. In any case, I remain grateful just to be able to witness this as human history unfolding: have faith that in some way equilibrium by human agency in concert with natural forces: and hope that more people will take the cotton wool out of their ears and stick it in their mouths so that they may hear the rumblings of a world under stress. Listen....

There is no escaping the present. Just as tradition and natural history bear down on every present, so to in present now the future. The present is full of possibility. Each possibility and the totality of possibilities is in inherent at each point along the continuum of time. At any point in time, certain passes are available to us. Some passes may be blocked to us, and others may be impassable due to the traditions we have inherited.

Let's hope our inheritance can help us to find the correct passes. At the beginning of Dante's Inferno, Dante is trying to find the pass to Paradise. he is confronted by three mythological monsters who push him back. Virgil suddenly appears and asks Dante what he is trying to achieve. When Dante finally reveals to Virgil his intention, Virgil calmly replies that the quickest way to Paradise is to pass through the gates of Hell, Hell being a place where hopeless, we live in desire. I think we're already well on our way...

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