24 August 2009

Stolen or Rescued?

The number of Aboriginal children in state care far exceeds the number taken in the 1920s and 30s. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,25964264-5006784,00.html . This means that either: another generation of Aboriginal children is being stolen; or more Aboriginal children than ever need to be rescued from neglect and abuse; or there never was a stolen generation, just rescued children. Given the fact that no one has been able to produce a credible list of children ever stolen for racist reasons, my guess is the latter. Which means that the apology was a cynical sham. 

Next time a posturing PM wants to say sorry to Aborigines let it be for a real sin, like abandoning assimilation in favour of separate development for Aborigines on their “homelands”. This absurd attempt to resurrect an ancient culture by providing native title, amenities and welfare streams to isolated settlements produced a catastrophe worth apologising for. Imagine where outback Aborigines might be by now if governments, educators, and cultural leaders had encouraged Aborigines instead to move to where farmers, miners and businessmen could offer them jobs and accommodation? Maybe, just maybe, Aborigines might have been persuaded to trade-in their politically correct tribal life for a politically incorrect but safe and private space in which to raise their children and educate them for a life in the modern world. 

“Oh no”, you say, “who are we to paternalistically impose our materialism, individualism and modernity on Aborigines? What they want is to rejuvenate their spiritualism, collectivism and traditionalism?” To hell they do!