Friday, February 13, 2009

Apology to Aborigines Still a Symbolic Sham

A year ago I wrote here that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's much advertized apology to Aborigines was nothing more than a sham meant to gloss over centuries of genocide.

At the time many disagreed saying that Rudd was sincere and that his apology was a beginning if nothing else.

I wondered about the sincerity of those who would so quickly credit an apology without paying too much mind to the fact that structural/material recompense was hardly motioned.

What is the use of an apology?

Not much if you take the guilt and political interests of white Australia out of the equation.

In other words, the apology served the narrow political interests of the colonizers in that it sought to erase their guilt and, thereby, to legitimize the colonization of Aboriginals.

In these terms it should hardly come as a surprise that a year later Aboriginals have gained nothing, nada, and niks out of Rudd's apology.

The apology remains a symbolic sham.

Michael Mansell, director of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, says that Rudd has used the apology to ignore the dismal living conditions of most Aborigines.

Mansell says:
"Aboriginal people, and especially members of the stolen generations, are probably worse off now than when Kevin Rudd made the apology a year ago ... There is no land rights for the dispossessed, no compensation for the stolen generations, the health standards are not improving and the Aboriginal imprisonment rate continues to climb ... Any criticism of Mr Rudd's neglect to address Aboriginal issues is met with the stock government response that it gave the apology ... The apology has provided the Rudd government with a political shield against criticism of its failures in Aboriginal affairs."
Absolutely so! And why would anyone have expected anything else?

Apologies of this nature are by definition nothing more than political instruments meant to advantage the state over conceding any real guilt.

Rudd is the quintessentially trapped liberal whose gestured enlightenment proved to be nothing more than empty words.

Aboriginal life in occupied Australia remains the worst of all populations groups. In fact, Aboriginal life ranks among the lowest in terms of quality and longevity of any people anywhere in the world.

Nothing has changed. Again, why would it?

Former Prime Minister John Howard's genocidal policies continue unabated.

Rudd is merely another insincere colonizer in a long line of colonizers stretching back to 1788 when the first white settlers arrived in Sydney Cove.


Picture Credit


Anonymous said...

With the media chest beating about how Australia has become united as a nation because of the devasting bushfires, there is minimal word on Aboriginal perspectives of the anniversary. If main stream media did, and allowed discussion yesterday, it would become apparent very quickly that when it comes to Indigenous issues, it is still very much a divided and racist immature country.

Ana said...

Ka pai

Good stuff Brother, the coloniser is predictable if anything.

Respect & Regards

Ridwan said...

Anonymous thank you for raising this troubling issue.

The mainstream media sells only what manstream Australia will buy ... and so in a Gramscian way the layers of oppression are stacked against Indigenous folk.

Peace to you,

Ridwan said...

Salam Sista Ana.

Thank you for looking in. You are right sista, the colonizer is indeed "predictable".

But we are not being fooled hey!

Peace to you sista,

Dade said...

Hey, Ridwan.

The tragedy of the aboriginal peoples of Australia has been repeated countless times in human history. The only difference is, as you point out, now there is the added hypocrisy of an "apology."

It's a feverish world that we live in.

Ridwan said...

Hola Dade.

Thanks for looking in brother.

What has happened to the Aborinal people is indeed tragic and made more so by the fact that they are among the oldest, if not the oldest, population group among humans.

Aboriginals are the original people from which we all descend.

Now, it is estimated that less than half a million Aborigines have survived the genocidal colonial onslaught that is Australia.

In a sense we are all condemned by what has happened to our occupied brothers and sisters.

Peace Dade.