The Secret Country: The First Australians Fight Back
This 1985 documentary, by John Pilger, shares the shameful and tragic story of the persecution, massacre, and blatant disrespect of Aborigines in Australia. Although the truth about what really happened when the British first arrived is never told in schools, the Black people of Australia keep it in their hearts and have passed it down to their generations.
The greatest island on Earth is a secret country with a secret history. When the British arrived on the island, they carried out systematic massacres and genocide against the people who were already living there; a people who could trace their ancestry back to 40,000 years. In the name of God, the ’civilized’ men who arrived to Australia tried to wipe out this entire nation much like what happened in the United States with the Native Americans, in Latin America with its many indigenous peoples, and in Africa. How did they get away with it?
Still today, Aborigines have a higher death rate from preventable diseases than the Whites living in the same land. Many Black Australians suffer from third world diseases such as trachoma and leprosy and they have the highest prison rate in the world. Black Australian children were brought up to believe that their society and its customs were pagan. The subtle message that was drummed in is that it’s wrong to be black.
When Captain Cook first landed on Botany Bay in Australia, he was under orders not to raise the Union Jack without the consent of the inhabitants of the island. However, Cook and Admiral Arthur Phillip, who came right behind him with the first fleet of British and Irish convicts, both disobeyed these instructions. What happened next marks the darkest and least known period in the history of the British Empire.
Although the British spoke of Australia as an empty continent, there were at least 300,000 inhabitants living there. No one knows exactly how many were there, because they were not considered to be human beings. Thousands died within the first few months because of the diseases that were carried by the Europeans, particularly small pox. The white prisoners, under direction of Christian gentlemen, murdered many hundreds of thousands more in the name of White superiority. They were hunted down and murdered in cold blood.
The Aborigines were classified as sub-humans, meaning a little higher than animals. This was done in order to justify the theft of their land and their extermination.
Since then, Australia has offered its sovereignty to other countries, while denying the Aborigines what’s rightfully theirs. And yet, the Aborigines find solace in the fact that they have not lost their spirit and have managed to hang on to their humanity. As one man puts it, what was done to them as a people is a reflection of the European way of dealing with the world and not a reflection of any flaws within the Aboriginal people.
Watch this controversial film now.