An Epic of Struggle and Resistance
For many decades, John Pilger has been informing the world of the plight of the First People of Australia. This documentary is one of his many journalistic masterpieces in which he exposes clearly the way in which the murder and banishment of thousands of Aboriginals was planned and executed.
It’s enraging to watch the many clips of politicians and government officials boldly stating how these human beings had to be killed because most of them were no good, half-caste, trouble-makers who were unwilling to adapt to ‘civilization’. They believe that the Aboriginals should have been grateful for the arrival of Captain Cook because their own culture was obsolete and their history was worthless. These men and women see nothing wrong with the way in which the Aboriginal people were reduced to a sub-human status, rounded up into what might have been the first known concentration camps, and killed.
When the British arrived, the natives defended their land bravely, but they had no firearms. And so they were exterminated like pests, while the Colonizers proudly announced that they had managed to rid the land of Blacks.
Australia’s first Prime Minister once said that ‘the doctrine of the equality of man was never intended to apply to those who aren’t British and White skinned.’ He established a policy of a White Australia in which the Aborigines were not regarded as human and therefore didn’t deserve recognition.
The first White people to Arrive in Australia named a patch of land Utopia. According to Pilger, they were either demented or had an acute sense of irony because the place is extremely dry and it receives very little rain per year. It’s also the poorest and most disadvantaged part in Australia. The Aboriginals that survived the genocide now live in abject poverty in this place. Up to twenty of them share a home that has no electricity and sometimes no running water. Many of them live in the open and there is no transportation system and the health care that’s offered is seriously lacking.
Diabetes and coronary disease is a huge risk among the Aboriginal people. Also, the lack of proper sanitation paves the way for a host of diseases and conditions such as gastroenteritis, and acute ear and eye infections that are entirely preventable like trachoma. Almost one third of Aboriginals die before the age of 45.
The oddity is that the entire Aboriginal community consists of more or less 50,000 people. To say that the government of one of the richest nations on Earth can’t solve their problems is ludicrous. So maybe it’s an unwillingness to come up with solutions that’s the real setback.
Every year Australia day is celebrated with great joy. But it’s a time of mourning for Aborigines. Why is this part of their history still a secret? Which other country in the world uses a former concentration camp, where thousands were tortured and murdered, and turns it into a luxury hotel and spa?