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'Invasion Day' protests draw thousands on Australia's national day

23 Comments
By PETER PARKS

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And millions more around the country will be celebrating who we are as a nation. Yes there were injustices in the past which are acknowledged but such protests only serve to further divide us. We have to move on together or we won’t move on at all.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Correction, ‘Dominic’

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@AustPaul

I cannot agree with you. Protest and demonstrations can be a very powerful tool. As an American who is privy to many failed protests as well as some successful ones. The main point that has to happen is acknowledgement, no condemnation, and people acting together. One of the key reasons that many protests fail is because they alienate a group. When you alienate a group, it makes it difficult for others to want to come to your side. Acknowledging and accepting that while it may have hurt you in the past, the current plight is not just about you, then we can move together towards productive change.

6 ( +16 / -10 )

Australia would've been colonised by somebody eventually, and while the British didn't have the cleanest record when it came to setting up colonies, you could argue that they were still a lot kinder to the natives than the French, Spanish, Dutch, Belgians and later, the Japanese.

And lets' not forget that the Aborigines were not a single nation anyway - there were nomadic tribes all over the harsh continent who would go to war against each other, and were pretty brutal to their own as well. And with a short life expectancy, in many ways - not every way - they were a lot better off after Europeans arrived. True, they didn't have immunity to foreign diseases which unintentionally wiped a large number of them out.

But claiming that they were invaded makes about as much sense nowadays as Brits getting mad at the descendants of the Romans and Vikings. Current generations owe no debt of guilt, land and reparations to what happened generations ago. If some people choose to feel guilty of their own volition, that's their choice. But for the rest of us, as long as Aborigines are treated as equals to every other citizen under the law, that should be enough.

14 ( +23 / -9 )

It is true that European settlement did have disastrous effects on the aboriginals. However, the greatest injustice was done a little over 50 years ago with 'the stolen generation', which was instigated by the British government and carried out by the Australian government. It was pretty much cultural genocide. In the last 20-30 years the Australian government has taken great efforts to atone for this atrocity although, some things can never be forgiven or repaired. Perhaps one day, the aboriginal people will accept what has happened and Australia can be one nation.

At present though, Australia faces more grief and turmoil from the influx of immigrants over the last 20 odd years under the open immigration policy.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

@kyronstavic

While it is true that the current generation of people do not owe the aboriginals anything because of their ancestors actions, what they are fighting against is the system. The system in place is what causes the most injustice. While on paper, the laws seems as if it treats all fairly, we all know that this is not the case. Just because you are afforded certain rights, it does not mean that those rights are respected equally.

Also, do not speak as if the Europeans were some kind of saviors. They were furthering their own ideals. Furthermore, do not act is if there was not centuries of civil war in the U.K.

Furthermore, the differing tribes are no different than the differing tribes of Europe. Also, you cannot compare the pain of individuals and the actions of others across generations. If you want to say England is so nice, what about the atrocities commited against the Irish and Scottish tribes in the U.K.? Your historic arguments will not win over this particular plight because there are many arguments to made against every single thing you mentioned.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

What doesn't see the light of day in the stolen generations issue is the terrible physical and sexual abuse of Aboriginal children by their own parents and relatives, which was one of the key reasons why the policy of removal was implemented in the first place. And it still goes on today, but talking about it usually raises the "r" word and discussion is immediately suppressed. And suppressing a problem almost never allows it to be solved.

I've talked to people who have been on the ground working in and with Aboriginal communities in northern Queensland, including a former minister in the Keating government, and they've said the problem is rife. And no amount of money thrown at these communities will fix the the problem if people won't acknowledge it exists. It seems to be a deeply rooted cultural problem that will take generations to eradicate if that's possible at all.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

@ Kyrostavic

Do you know that same issue is a huge problem in many cultures. Not just there. Things like that need to be fixed in all cultures. I’m not Australian. It happens in my home country of U.S.A. It happens in Europe. It happens in Asia.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The main point that has to happen is acknowledgement, no condemnation, and people acting together..

It’s fine to acknowledge the problems of the past but people who feel aggrieved and turn out to protest prefer condemnation. Therefore you have this;

Several thousand joined the annual march in Melbourne Saturday chanting "Always was, always will be Aboriginal land", and holding placards stating "Australia is a crime scene".

These protests aren’t about resolving differences and moving forward together. They are about attacking people who had nothing to do with past injustices simply because they are of the same race of the people who won the migration related conflicts of the past.

The ‘indigenous people‘ as they are referred to also migrated from elsewhere. They most likely were involved in contesting territory against other tribes and did bad things in order to win their past positions of primacy. I don’t know what people benefit from by going after others in order to feel better about themselves. The way social justice protesters go about things these days always seems to spread discontent rather than promote the common good.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Either way, most of the problems didn't happen until the white man showed up there. Undeniable.

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At present though, Australia faces more grief and turmoil from the influx of immigrants over the last 20 odd years under the open immigration policy.

What grief and turmoil have the immigrants caused, mate? Australia is built by migrants. By the way, I do not think Australia has an open immigration policy. I never thought you are so xenophobic.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It looks like the ghost of colonisation is well alive. My ancestors took over your land, killed thousands of your people. One time even tried to wipe out your race. Then we dare to say that they did it for your own good or find some excuses to justify their actions. I wish one day aliens with far superior technology come to earth and enslave all humans. Then those will know how it really feel.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

So if the feelings of guilt are so strong, are the descendents of the 'invading' British people who became Aussies willing to leave and let the Aborigines have their land back? If the answer is no then it seems like a pointless exercise that says, 'Yes, we were wrong and we are sorry and we'll give you some money and say a little about the land being sacred before we use if for a cricket match etc. but we aren't going anywhere.'

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is not a celebration of an invasion of the land, it’s a celebration of individual states coming together to form a country.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

This is not a celebration of an invasion of the land, it’s a celebration of individual states coming together to form a country.

A good point. Thumb up.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So if the feelings of guilt are so strong, are the descendents of the 'invading' British people who became Aussies willing to leave and let the Aborigines have their land back?

Well, not leaving but kinda let them have their land back. Below is extract from the internet:

The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 has resulted in almost 50 per cent of Northern Territory land being returned to Aboriginal peoples. Some State governments followed the lead of the Australian Government and introduced their own land rights legislation.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Let's celebrate for sure, but why can't the date be changed? Used to be a different date anyway. What would be so wrong to change the 26th to a day of solidarity or similar and celebrate Australia Day on another day? We have rememberance day and Anzac Day to remember those who fought for our country and gave their lives. What do we have to recognise all the aborigines who lost theirs?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

But claiming that they were invaded makes about as much sense nowadays as Brits getting mad at the descendants of the Romans and Vikings. Current generations owe no debt of guilt, land and reparations to what happened generations ago. If some people choose to feel guilty of their own volition, that's their choice.

That is some serious in denial white privilege attitude.So that's your same "thought" toward what happened with millions of Africans being transported to the United States,is it? "I wasn't partaking so I'm good,not my problem." Well done.Your schooling served you well.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@yoshisan88: My ancestors took over your land, killed thousands of your people. 

You can’t change the past and you are not your ancestors. You didn’t do the crime and therefore cannot be held responsible for it. If justice to you is to hold people of a certain demographic responsibile for the wrongs perpetrated by like people before them, injustices will only be seen as continuing in perpetuity. Justice would not be blind - it would be openly tribal and in this case - racist. Is that the future you want.

The social justice view of righteousness is the reason why the Palestinians and Jews cannot achieve peace. One tribe is always at fault because the perceived injustice is never ending. This is what is now occurring in Europe and North America and it leads nowhere. I have no doubt that Australia is taking the same path of forever self recrimination. Of perceived slights, one tribe against the other, for wrongs that no one alive today had any part. It only benefits those who benefit from conflict.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@cracaphat: That is some serious in denial white privilege attitude.So that's your same "thought" toward what happened with millions of Africans being transported to the United States,is it? "I wasn't partaking so I'm good,not my problem." Well done.Your schooling served you well.

To claim that “white privilege” exists is to claim that each individual that can be pigeonholed as a member of the white tribe is a participant in and a beneficiary of an unearned benefit based solely on their existence. Any cursory examination of society is proof that this socially constructed epithet is false and destructive. In short, it’s racist and hateful. It is used as a method to perpetuate actual unearned benefits that exist today such as affirmative action.

What happened to the poor West Africans who were initially enslaved by opposing tribes and sold to European slave traders for profit is in fact, not the fault of any person alive today. That’s not an attitude, it is a fact. To pin such a horrible crime on innocent people living today who are in no way associated with those committing the crime other the accident of being born with the same skin color is unjustified and an expression of hateful tribalism.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Aboriginal people remain the most disadvantaged Australians, with higher rates of poverty, ill-health and imprisonment than any other community."

Now, I'm really Disillusioned!!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Wolfpack

You do have a point. I agree the current generation cannot be held responsible for past crimes. However, is it really difficult to say I feel sorry or acknowledge that all the injustice in the past are wrong. Respect their view and try to reconcile. Instead people are saying thing like kyronstavic wrote:

Australia would've been colonised by somebody eventually, and while the British didn't have the cleanest record when it came to setting up colonies, you could argue that they were still a lot kinder to the natives than the French, Spanish, Dutch, Belgians and later, the Japanese.

So the "if I did not do it then someone else would do it" excuse. If I took money someone left at an ATM and gets caught. I wonder if the police will accept this excuse.

You should feel lucky. The others would have killed all of your people but I only killed half. You should feel lucky and thank me.

And lets' not forget that the Aborigines were not a single nation anyway - there were nomadic tribes all over the harsh continent who would go to war against each other, and were pretty brutal to their own as well. And with a short life expectancy, in many ways - not every way - they were a lot better off after Europeans arrived. True, they didn't have immunity to foreign diseases which unintentionally wiped a large number of them out.

Their war were their own problems. Using it to justify the colonisation is just wrong. They were a lot better off? They lost all their land! They were treated as second class citizens. You do know that they did not get the right to vote until 1962, right? Another excuse to justify your wrongings.

But claiming that they were invaded makes about as much sense nowadays as Brits getting mad at the descendants of the Romans and Vikings. Current generations owe no debt of guilt, land and reparations to what happened generations ago. If some people choose to feel guilty of their own volition, that's their choice. But for the rest of us, as long as Aborigines are treated as equals to every other citizen under the law, that should be enough.

The Romans and Vikings' invasion of Britain is another case. Trying to use it to justify the the colonisation of Australia which happened only about 230 years ago is wrong. Australia was colonised. " colonised" is kinda a better saying of "invaded". So is it OK to say you are treated equally now. Stop your whinging!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

yoshisan88: However, is it really difficult to say I feel sorry or acknowledge that all the injustice in the past are wrong. Respect their view and try to reconcile. Instead people are saying thing like kyronstavic wrote:

Since you address me but quote someone else I’m not able to say whether that person is or is not unsympathetic to the plight of the Australian Aborigines through history. I don’t think the mostly factual statements about the past preclude the possibility that this person can also be sympathetic to their circumstances. I certainly am. The world was a very different place in 1788 when the British established their first colony. Stating that fact is not an endorsement of what the British and later the Australian government did. Migration in this period in history involved a great deal of conflict.

The point is that Aboriginal people do have full citizenship today and have had it for more than a half century. That’s a fantastic thing. The vast majority of the people responsible for their oppression are no longer alive. It’s not possible to indict, convict, and imprison a dead person. Nor is it justice to blame an entire group of innocent people for the mistreatment of another group of innocent people. I hope people can come to see that truth.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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