I've always wondered, without actually wanting to find out, what it would be like to live in an authoritarian dystopia. Well, we're finding out now. Shit's getting more and more bizarre every day, from the Prime Minister whining that the national broadcaster is being mean to him, to that unfortunate business of violating Indonesia's borders whilst "protecting" our own. And just to put the ridiculous cherry on the ridiculous sundae, yesterday suave right wing lunatic about town Andrew Bolt - with no Aboriginal heritage as far as I know - proclaimed that since his family has been here for several generations, he is, in fact, indigenous.
Now, whilst everyone in the country with an IQ above room temperature blinked in amused disbelief, I began wondering what's really going on here. Even Bolt couldn't believe this rubbish, surely. I imagined a long, boozy lunch in Melbourne sometime over the Christmas break, with Peta Credlin explaining "we're in big trouble here. Just make Abbott look like a moderate", and Bolt bowing slightly at a framed portrait of Murdoch on the table, intoning "his will be done" before heading off to pen a column calling Abbott a leftist.
Anyway, in amongst the comments on Bolt's post calling him out as the buffoon he is were plenty of supporters agreeing with him. Apparently being Australian isn't enough for these people - they want to be indigenous too! And they're sick, thoroughly sick they tell you, of all the special privileges they believe Aboriginal people have. Any bad stuff that happened to them was 200 years ago. It's time they got over it.
It was not 200 years ago. It was not. This is why we need Aboriginal studies to be a compulsory subject in school. But I'm not sure if even that would be enough. Since racists are people who don't care what's happening if it's not happening to them, their family and friends, I'd like to explain this to them in terms they would understand. I'd like to sit down with each of these people and say:
"Imagine this. One night, I break into your house and kill you. I take your house and everything that's in it; it's all mine now. I send your children away to a group home hundreds of kilometres away where they are told to forget their family, not allowed to speak English and forced to communicate in a foreign language, used as slave labour, beaten, exposed to religious indoctrination in a faith not their own, and possibly sexually abused. Then at the age of 15 or 16, they are tossed out onto the street with no skills, no money and no support. They can't go home - there's no home to go to; you've been murdered and I've taken your house. Your children are left to as best they can make a life for themselves in an alien culture with no skills to survive. Imagine then, when your children have children of their own, imagine how it will be for your grandchild, growing up with parents struggling to survive, alienated from their culture, traditions, language, and quite possibly suffering from post traumatic stress disorder after seeing their parents murdered and all they experienced since. Think what sort of a life your grandchild will have.
"Now imagine your grandchild sees my grandchild living off the proceeds inherited from my taking your property. My grandchild has grown up in their own culture, with their own community and family heritage intact, and has gotten wealthy from investing your property. Imagine your grandchild asks my grandchild for some form of compensation. And my grandchild says no. That he shouldn't be made to feel guilty for what I did before he was even born. It was a long time ago. Your grandchild needs to get over it.
"Because that's exactly how Aboriginal people have been treated in this country and exactly what you are saying to them now."
I bet they still wouldn't get it though, the bastards.
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