Why Four Corners sickened but did not surprise

Today’s thread is Jennifer Wilson’s passionate and moving take on Australia’s very own Abu Ghraib. Thank you, Jennifer.

Ken Canning, Green Left Weekly

In his 2014 book, Dark Emu, Bunarong, Tasmanian and Yuin man Bruce Pascoe challenges white man’s history of Indigenous people as hunter gatherers, and instead puts forward an absorbing thesis, well researched and documented, of systems of agriculture, aquaculture and governance recorded by early white settlers, but somehow overlooked by those who have insisted upon an ongoing account of this country’s Indigenous peoples that denies them as anything other than primitive.

Every time we discuss this book in our household I express my disbelief that evidence such as that so compellingly presented by Pascoe could have gone unnoticed, ignored, concealed, disregarded, disrespected by the legions of white writers and commentators, to whom it has been available, if only they had cared to seek it, for the last two hundred plus years. Many white careers have been built on this wilful ignorance.

Why aren’t we teaching Australian children about the successes and achievements of Aboriginal culture? asks Pascoe.

Why indeed.

Of course the evidence gathered by Pascoe does not fit what remains the dominant white narrative, even after Mabo. Hard to declare terra nullius if the country is occupied by people who’ve devised successful and sophisticated system of farming and governance. Far easier if you frame them as primitive savages, flora and fauna.

The consequences of this cover-up, this conspiracy one might go so far as to suggest, have dominated white attitudes to Aboriginal people ever since invasion, and it should have come as no surprise to anyone when ABC TV’s Four Corners revealed on Monday night that Indigenous children are being tortured in detention facilities in the Northern Territory, and quite likely elsewhere in the country.

The Don Dale facility, and the horrors enacted within it, have not developed in a vacuum. They are the logical outcome of a brutal and expedient racism that has existed in Australia since 1788, and continues to thrive. It’s excruciatingly apparent that the torments perpetrated on Indigenous children in this hell hole have been known to Northern Territory governments for the last few years. Absolutely nothing has been done to alleviate this suffering, inflicted in the service of “law and order.”

I would like to point out here that none of the offences committed by the incarcerated children come anywhere near the criminal acts perpetrated upon them by those who guard them, those who oversee the guards, and those who turn their blinded eyes away from the sight of the children’s suffering. There is nothing either lawful or orderly about the behaviour of the men in charge of these children, or the men in charge of the men in charge.

There is a deeply ingrained culture, the face of which is for today the Don Dale facility, that has its origins in the denial of Aboriginal people as capable of agriculture, aquaculture and governance, and the framing of them instead as primitive savages upon whom it is permissible to wreak any kind of havoc deemed necessary for the protection and furtherance of white society.

Sick of your car being stolen? Get out the canisters and fucking gas the fucking cunt kids who took it because your car and your right to not have it nicked trumps a young black life.

Don Dale may be closed down, there will be a Royal Commission, right and left alike will continue to express bipartisan outrage but unless Australia’s fundamental attitude towards Indigenous peoples is changed, the suffering will continue.

I leave you with the words of Nigel Scullion, federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs. He’d never taken any notice of complaints that reached him about the mistreatment of Aboriginal children in the Don Dale centre, he said. The reports had never sufficiently “piqued his interest.”


273 thoughts on “Why Four Corners sickened but did not surprise

  1. We’ve just had a tragedy in our little town. One of our junior footballers has accidentally shot himself and he died. They live on a farm, great family. I spent most of my time last night watching the boys at training talking with the parents, we were laughing and joking. Tonight is devastating.

  2. I never ever want to lament not doing something.

    That photo was from a helicopter. It wasn’t cheap ride but, oh boy, did OH and I get magnificent views!

    I guess: if you can afford it, however barely, go for it.

  3. I was talking about the Stravinsky ballets I watched last night.

    I plugged the earphones into the voice out on the TV. It was truly remarkable. I don’t think I’ll ever play a music DVD listening through the TV speakers again. Not hard to work out the difference in quality.

    The headphones are a $40 job from Aldi.

  4. I think my Jacqueline du Pré dvd is about to get a going-over.

    That Elgar cello concerto and The Ghost.

    Night, all.

  5. Just cos, some Kiwi music, A tribute to those who went before…… Vote 1 Maori Battalion and the 2nd NZEF As Rommel said

    If I’d had one division of Maori, I would have taken the canal in a week. If I’d had three, I’d have taken Baghdad.

    Oh and also

    If I had to take hell, I would use the Australians to take it and the New Zealanders to hold it.

  6. Not bad stuff from the local High School what from I came from.. Town population about 4,000 and a great example of the cultural mix what was /is normal.

  7. Must confess though that the previous link was to the High School I was meant to go to. Ended up going to to….

    • Thanks for those links from NZ schools performances, KK. It is a useful reminder of what potentially good infrastructure we once had in our state schooling system.

      In NSW, thanks to coverage also on another once-great state institution, the ABC, they still have a schools competition producing first-class performances of song and dance. A lot of effort went into chasing the prestige of finals and winning. If memory serves, Toni Colette may have got her start there and through the Bankstown Musical Society (another fine community institution). An Italian-origin girl in our office took some pride in being 4th Violin in the Petersham High Symphony Orchestra. She then lived at Erskineville, which like nearby Petersham and Redfern was solid working-class poor.

      I’ve been 30 years removed from NSW, and I hope these institutions have still survived and are popular. State schooling has been gutted since Howard’s time as he and his cohorts sought to transfer resources to the private schools system.

      Let us hope that Labor can help restore them to what they once were.

  8. Having a glance at the condition of the UK Labour party leadership election is kind of depressing.

    It’s just completely astonishing that even though Jeremy Corbyn lost a confidence vote by about 80%-20%, most of the rank-and-file Labour membership still supports him overwhelmingly, according to opinion polls.

    While I don’t disagree with his positions as such, it’s just very hard to see how the Labour party can possibly survive if there’s this immense disconnect with the parliamentary party and the membership.

    Yes, a large number of the anti-Corbyn forces are those that support Tony Blair, the exposed snivelling little grub that supported a war that degraded humanity overall, but really, this is the kind of political battle that splits parties in the long run. And after Britain leaves the EU by the 2020 election, and the miserable Tories are left trying to rake up the ashes of their economy and call it a success, it seems that there’ll be nobody left to challenge them at this stage.

    • The reason for this is that a large chunk of UK Labour’s membership care more about ideological purity than they do about electing a Labour government.

  9. Saying what I said, however, I haven’t really come across anything that I particularly dislike about Theresa May, other than of course that she’s a Conservative. She seems to strongly be in favour of same-sex marriage for instance.

    Does any other bludgers have any info that would be interesting to know?

  10. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. As expected there’s a lot on the Rudd decision today.

    Hell hath no fury like a Rudd spurned!
    Peter Hartcher tells us that Turnbull is in fear of his own party and it’s a bad omen. Didn’t take long did it?
    He’s hamstrung by a divided party says Mark Kenny.
    The SMH editorial has its say on the matter.
    Laurie Oakes puts his two bob’s worth in. Google.
    Michelle Grattan has her say.
    Laura Tingle analyses the decision. Google.
    Katherine Murphy asks why Turnbull sent Rudd mixed messages.
    And Greg Sheridan goes all the way in describing the Turnbull government as “ill-disciplined, paralysed and as rancorous as Labor at its worst. Google.
    Paul Bongiorno with a good article on the week that was.
    Andrew Street takes us into the cabinet room for the discussion about Rudd and the UN gig. Hilarious!
    Paula Matthewson on Turnbull’s two big distractions.
    Urban Wronski asks how could Turnbull have got it so wrong on these two issues.

  11. Section 2 . . .

    Peter FitzSimons might be on the money here as he looks at the future of the Olympic Games.
    Stan Grant delivers a fiery Honorary Doctorate of Letters speech in the wake of the 4C revelations.
    Soapy Brandis does it again!
    The former NT Child Commissioner unloads. “There was political support for it”, she says.
    Everyone’s getting het up over the religion question in the census. Just tell the truth. It would be helpful though to better define what qualifies one from being “of a religion”.
    The plebiscite question we SHOULD have.
    Stephen Koukoulas on the dangers of a sluggish rate of household spending.
    Richard Ackland writes in defence of ICAC and warns of the forces that would seek to nobble any federal attempt to set one up.
    At the pool with George Pell.
    Mike Seccombe on how rooftop solar energy became a political issue.

  12. Section 3 . . . with Cartoon Corner

    The stark contrasts between Obama and Trump.
    Why Michelle Obama should be standing for President.
    Bob Brown with some advice for Lee Rhiannon to quit.

    John Shakespeare and the (d)evolution of Turnbull in the party room.

    Ron Tandberg on the rejection of Rudd’s candidature.

    David Pope visits the NT with Turnbull and Brian Martin.
    Mark Knight on the eve of Boomer Harvey’s record breaking AFL game.
    Jon Kudelka at the searching presser where Turnbull announced that he had nixxed Rudd’s application for the UN job.

  13. Who cares about the religion question in the census.

    The answer is optional (yes, I checked on my real, actual paper) and if you want to answer there’s a ‘no religion’ response. I might lie, I might not. Who says I haven’t been a Jedi for thirty years?

    This is a silly distraction from the big census issue – names.

    I’m much more concerned about having to give my name. I’m going to lie. The damn forms are scanned and processed by some sort of techie machinery. If every answer is marked or printed in capital letters, as requested, and done in the right sort of ink the machinery won’t spit them back for checking by a human.

    And who says I have not changed my name to ;’Lucy Turnbull’ or ‘Leia Organa’ or whatever alias I decide to use on the night?

    There’s a bonus, too. If mail or phone calls arrive for whatever name I choose then I’ll know for sure that our names have not been securely locked up in a top secret data base until 2020.

  14. Turnbull could have done things the easy way.

    Abbott had shut down the whole UNSG nomination thing by saying his government would support Helen Clarke. Done deal, no further discussion needed. Krudd knew all about that.

    Abbott gets the boot, we have a new PM and Krudd sees an opportunity. He gets Julie Bishop on his side and they start lobbying Turnbull to support Krudd as a candidate.

    And here’s where it all came unstuck.

    Instead of telling Krudd he was sticking with Abbott’s decision Turnbull waffled around, trying to be all things to all people, and kinda-sorta promised Krudd his government’s support, at least for the nomination.

    Krudd, clever little schemer that he is, wrote letters – lots of letters – and kept copies.

    The vacillating, indecisive Fizza is left to make a Captain’s Pick by his party room after a lot of arguing and after some lecturing by the Loony Right on what he has to do.

    So what does he do?

    Does he please the people by announcing his government will support Krudd’s nomination and give him help with his campaign, putting the very best ‘Australia deserves the chance to have a homegrown UNSG’ spin on things while keeping quiet about the bleeding obvious – Krudd doesn’t have a snowflake’s chance in hell of being elected. Or does he shore up his very wobbly leadership and keep the Loony Right happy by disregarding his earlier assurances of support to Krudd by denying him the nomination?

    Turnbull decided protecting his shaky tenancy at The Lodge was the more important option and announced Krudd won’t be getting the government’s support, not even just for the nomination. The Loony Right can’t conceal their glee, they have the alleged PM right where they want him. And Julie Bishop – what about her? To her credit she spent time and effort on working out away to make everyone reasonably happy by allowing Krudd to nominate but not actually endorsing him or funding his campaign, and Turnbull refused to even consider that. Even worse, he disagreed with her, saying on 2GB, of all places, that a nomination was not an endorsement. (Never ever tell a woman who knows her facts she is wrong, Fizza.) Julie is now left to lick her wounds and plot her revenge after Turnbull very publicly slapped her down.

    Turnbull could have avoided all this if he had just stuck with Abbott’s decision and left it at that. It’s that old lack of judgement thing, yet again, it will destroy him soon.

    Meanwhile, back in the party room –

  15. For a narcisistic media whore like krudd, all this attention, commentary from the ‘pundits’, dozens of articles is only feeding his ‘look at me’ obsession, regardless of context. Personally, my message to krudd is “F off and die you petty little backstabbing traitor to the labor cause”. I loath krudd almost as much as the rodent.

  16. Here’s a couple of examples of how the MSM are handling the Turnbull-Rudd situation:

    You’d expect a shallow response from Crabb, and she hasn’t let us down. It’s just a defence of Turnbull. You can have at her if you want. She’s already been taken to task. This is the most succinct of the replies:

    PVO is, if anything, even more facile:

    It’s so idiotic I don’t konw where to begin. For a start, Rudd released the correspondence after Turnbull refused to endorse him. His run was already over. But mainly, the trouble is that PVO is either unaware or unwilling to admit to the politics of this issue. The only salient points I can see are:

    1. Turnbull has either lied outright to Rudd or demonstrated he’s at the mercy of his own party.

    2. Turnbull now has an enemy in Rudd, and that (going by recent history) won’t go well for him.

    As per usual, political journalists can’t even read the landscape. They’re too busy mounting defences for their favourites.

  17. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article92595012.html

    Click to access 161468.P.pdf


  18. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/29/business/media/jack-davis-illustrator-known-for-mad-magazine-dies-at-91.html

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