Sunday, July 01, 2007

Another poor effort by ABC's Insiders to grapple with PM Howard's child abuse intervention in NT

I have sent another comment to Insiders this morning:

"Another breath taking serving on the Howard 'law & order' intervention. Would Howard stoop so low as to play politics with the care of children? Oh yes! He's done it before with Tampa and the Pacific Solution.

Glen's (is this the same Glen Milne who used to have a pretty good grip on what's right and wrong, and whom I considered a friend?) self righteous, and, dare I say it, self-serving support of coming down hard on remote communities to protect children is disingenuous and plays to a paternalistic template that we should have moved beyond by now; and Malcolm is just not bright enough.

Karen made a fist of looking for balance in the strategy, but frankly there is no balance. This is all about politics, and your little chat about early elections underlined that in spades. Come on people, earn your dough and connect the dotted lines.

If Howard was to say sorry and make serious efforts to build genuine bridges to decolonize indigenous people, the path to social rectitude and genuine community would take a great leap forward. Until mainstream society values these people and acknowledges the worth and genius of their ancient culture Australia will be a lesser place than it could be. We have much to learn from the original custodians, especially about the significance of place and community.

Howard has turned demonization of minorities into an art form, which he cashes in on at election time. This one is perfect because protecting children is akin to motherhood. Pity about the overwhelming majority of Aboriginal men in remote areas trying to retain some semblance of dignity in the face of displacement and dispossession. Aboriginal people have been colonized, marginalized and demonized by successive paternalistic regimes that have reinforced the idea that they are inferior and in need of acculturation and integration.

As if our model of isolated, unhappy individuals (numbed by the daily telly and sporting circuses), eking out a wage slave existence in Australia's endless dormitory suburbs, is a template for traditional tribal communities to aspire to. Its all very well for middle class journos on a nice wicket to wax lyrical about interventions and law and order, but please use your collective wit to see beyond law and order and control, which is the tired old language of the colonizer and 'masta'. Can't we grow up?

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