Monday, January 25, 2016

January 26: No Pride in Genocide

Dear friends,
as you will be well aware, this blog is primarily dedicated to providing updates, news and information about Palestine, but occasionally I post on other issues.  Today, my post is specifically about Australia and the anniversary of the European colonisation and ethnic cleansing of this country.
As I have mentioned before, one of the reasons I became active in the Palestine solidarity campaign was because I saw the similarities between the Indigenous struggle of the Palestinian people and the struggle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia. Coming from a family of mixed heritage (my mother is Aboriginal and my father comes from a mixed European background), my first engagement with political activism was around Aboriginal and Indigenous rights and the struggle for land rights and justice in this country.

The 26th January in Australia has been marked officially as "Australia Day" since the mid 1930s. However, for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (the Indigenous people of this country), it is commemorated as Invasion Day or Survival Day.   It is a day to remember the struggle of our communities against European invasion, colonisation, dispossession and injustice, as well as the continuing struggle of the Indigenous community for their rights.

The images above are by my good friend and comrade, well-known Melbourne visual artist, Van Rudd. The first one depicts the impact of colonisation and dispossession on the Australian Indigenous community, while the second one focuses on the racism against Aboriginal footballer, Adam Goodes. As Van notes: \While this cartoon was released a few months back surrounding the racism inflicted upon Aboriginal AFL footballer Adam Goodes, I thought that it would be worth bringing it out again for the day that many in this country call 'Australia Day'. Just remember that the Union Jack featured in this drawing represents a 227 year old, imperialist, occupying settler force - and it STILL features on the Australian flag. If you are celebrating on 'Australia Day', know that you're celebrating this history of deep seated racism.

Today, I am also posting up two videos to mark Invasion Day.  One is from Buzzfeed, with Aboriginal Australians discussion what "Australia Day" means to them.  While I have some reservations about previous "Aboriginals respond" videos from Buzzfeed, primarily because they were far to apolegetic and defensive (such as the I'm Aboriginal, But I'm Not… video.  I think the subsequent video made by another group of Aboriginal activists, which sought to counter the defensiveness of the Buzzfeed video was much better).

However, the latest one from Buzzfeed does a very good job of showcasing the feelings of Aboriginal community, although some may say it does not go deep enough.

I have also included one of my favourite short videos, which seeks to highlight racism and the struggle for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights.  The satirical mockumentary, BabaKiueria was released in 1986, in the lead up to the bicentennary in 1988, which saw mass Aboriginal rights protests around the country. 

The 30 minute satirical mocumentary revolves around a role-reversal, with Aboriginal Australians positioned as the invaders and colonisers of the fictious country of BabaKiueria.  The film depicts the impact of invasion, colonisation and dispossession,  while drawing on many of the racist tropes and stereotypes faced by Aboriginal Australians and reversing them in satirical way to inflict them on the "native" BabaKiuerians. 

In this role reversal, white Australians have become the minority, while Aboriginal Australians are in power, having taken all of the available land.  White Australia has been confined to suburban ghettos, where they are expected to follow with out complaint the laws and customs of the colonisers.  They are monitored and viewed through the patronising gaze of the majority culture.

I will be posting up some photos and other posts about Invasion Day protests around the country over the next few days.

You can also read my previous posts on Invasion Day, which include discussion about the history of resistance by Aboriginal Australia to European colonisation and more. 

Always was, Always will be Aboriginal Land: commemorating Invasion Day in Australia 

Invasion Day: Nothing to Celebrate.

January 26: White Australia has a Black History

In solidarity, Kim

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