Thursday, August 14, 2008

Apology to aborigines is not enough, says Germaine Greer

Apology to aborigines is not enough, says Germaine Greer
The recent Australian government apology to the stolen generation does not go nearly far enough, provocative intellectual Germaine Greer says.
Years of ill treatment had been eating away at Aboriginal communities and threatened their future, she told ABC Television last night.
"We're only on the edge of what we've done to these people, we have ripped away everything, language, culture, land, self esteem," she said.
"You name any of the things that make you a human being and they have all been stripped away."
Professor Greer said she feared that it was already too late for many Aboriginal communities, criticising the federal government's intervention in the Northern Territory.
She called for a treaty with Aboriginal Australia, and also suggested holding a conference to explore how the rage within Aboriginal communities could be addressed.
White Australia had put Aborigines in "concentration camps", she said.
"In my worst moments I think that we might be way too late.
"They have been jerked from pillar to post. . . they've ended up in one concentration camp after another."
Professor Greer has penned an essay called On Rage which claims anger at systematic ill treatment is eating away at Aboriginal communities and must be addressed.
"The rage is poisoning everyone," she said.
"It probably means annihilation of black communities, but there are some people who will say to you that they are pretty well annihilated already."

And of course she is right, the apology was symbolic but symbolism without real committed resource is an empty gesture. Our own process of reconciliation with our indigenous population for confiscated lands has at times been just as empty, and worse with the recent confiscation via legislation of the foreshore and seabed theft. If the attempt to genuinely lift those who have been ill effected by our gain is real, we must go well beyond the feel good moments to the real concessions.

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