Wednesday 24th February I was horrified, shortly before I went to bed the night before I spotted an article on Twitter that left me deeply worried. The article spoke of an attack in Perth where an Aboriginal mother and daughter were victims of a man with a backwards swastika symbol upon his forehead who target the women with a makeshift torch blower.
Such an attack alone left me deeply unsettled but there was very little information alongside the article in the articles I found. My awareness was heightened by the utter lack of coverage upon the ABC for the whole of Wednesday. Australia’s national broadcaster turned a blind eye to what I can only describe as an act of Domestic Terrorism.
Police made a statement on Tuesday 23 February, reported by many new sources since the attack; the man had a white swastika painted upon his forehead. After using racial obscenities he attempted to use a flame and a deodorant can to burn the woman and her teenage daughter. He then fled on foot and was last seen on Dwyer Crescent near Corfield Shopping Centre in Gosnells.
My horror that the national broadcaster of Australia would not mention this the day after Police issued a statement, and allowed this hate crime to go practically unnoticed by the general public. In their credit they did cover it the following day, as part of this story was the release of information from ASIO warning that far right extremism is on the rise.
But by not reporting upon this story the day after the press release empowers the belief Aussies hold denying racial discrimination exists. This behaviour of enabling is a form of systematic racism, inbuilt within the foundations of what we call the Lucky Country. But how lucky are we when our nation are not made aware of acts of domestic terrorism against Australia’s Indigenous People they claim as citizens? As someone who identifies as an Australian Aboriginal I am deeply saddened by this lack of awareness; it does not make me feel lucky.
Systematic racism is a term that has infected many lives for far too long, Australia claims that human rights are high on our list of values, but twenty-seven countries pointed their fingers at us this month at the UN Convention. Twenty-seven separate nations accused the Lucky Country of human rights violations against the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations; yet this too was barely a blimp in the news. Showing how aware Aussies are of systematic racism, while they take little action to rectify it.
How is this Lucky Country to retain their title if we disregard facts such as these? How are we to grow if we refuse to change? How are we to become an inclusive society if we ignore the criminal acts dividing us? How can we call ourselves a first world country when we are not behaving as one? These are the questions that plague me almost daily as I watch the news and other current events within the bounds of the society who owns the Australian Dream. I still do not have that lucky feeling.
Terrified is the emotion that comes to mind! Will my children be targeted because they are proud to claim their Aboriginality? Will they be left motherless if I am attacked for recognising my ancestry? Will I lose my Mum because she acknowledges her heritage? What about all my Cousins, Uncles and Aunties? Are we all next? That Lucky feeling has escaped me.
This country is founded upon racism, and anyone who understands the facts behind the words “Settled Colony” cannot deny this truth. Yet our fellow human beings look aside the moment they stumble across the phrase “racism”; assuming it does not apply to them personally. I am not the type to sugar coat the important matters; all Australian’s perpetrate racial discrimination at some level. Take for instance those who know an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Person, have you ever referred to their Country or Clan names? Instead of forcing us to meet you upon colonial terms; with only our European heritage. Who refuses to capitalise the names we apply to ourselves, Aboriginal or Indigenous? Who among us still claim the adjectives of these words and insist they mean the same as the nouns our People use? Who only uses the word ‘Aboriginal’ and forgets about naming the Torres Strait Islander nations? Yes, Australia, these are acts of racism whether you want to hear it or not!
In the same manner that those who suggest they do not see colour are refusing the differences that make us individuals. Whilst Aussies may wish to deny their racially discriminatory tendencies, we need to remember those who are not from a nationality are not in a position to determine what is racism to that race. Which is why it baffles me to the core when we deny racial discrimination occurs against China in today’s society. We, Australians, are not qualified to suggest what China consider racism, yet we constantly imply we are. In the same manner we tell those of African or Middle Eastern nationality they are not to advise us what they regard as racism to their societies. This is a minimalising tactic, and yes, this is once again racism.
During the 1970s our nation abolished the White Australia Policy. Unfortunately, as someone who has always claimed their Aboriginality without fitting the 233-year-old stereotype; I would suggest this racist policy lives on in the hearts of the typical Aussie today. More so when we look at the immigration policies that have seen children locked behind bars for half or all their lives.
Appling the terminology of today to what Colonial Thinkers call the “Settling of Australia” our citizens would call it terrorism; the sole debate here would be if it was counted as international or domestic (were they Aussies or British subjects). Considering many of the mob I have spoken to feel the White Australia Policy lives on, how can we call the racially driven acts of violence today as anything less than Domestic Terrorism? Those who feel the luck of the Lucky Country, can they share some with me, it’s still not manifested in my life.
Again, I am not the type to sugar coat it; Australia, your colonial thinking enables you to ignore our feelings of terror! Just the words applied to Colonial Australia, The Lucky Country and The Australian Dream enable this ignorance. News media failing to report on these acts of racially driven domestic terrorism provide the mechanisms for these groups to operate behind the scene. Until Australia takes a long hard look at the past, and how the systematic racism influences the people of today, the Lucky Country will only be lucky to some.
The Original Inhabitants of these lands may have been reduced to a mere 3% of the entire population, but we, the Oldest Living Cultures in the World, are still here. We stand upon Aboriginal Land, why are we solely meeting on Colonial grounds? Australia, we are fellow citizens and it is time you stood by us, on our terms not yours!
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