Sanity at the tent embassy?

johnboy 14 January 2007 64

The tent embassy is squirting a media release around the web and boy, is it a doozy.

Let’s leave aside the broader issues of Aboriginal sovereignty for a second. Here at RiotACT we’ve unfortunately become well versed in the ramblings of nutters and this media release is hitting all the buttons.

There seems to be no purpose to it, there’s no structure, no theme beyond outraged grievance, its use of the facts is selective to the point of innacuracy, Capitalisation is deployed erratically. It lectures at length on arcana and then assumes detailed knowledge of vast areas under discussion (to say nothing of the agreement of the reader on large numbers of contentious points).

In short, without wishing to cast judgment on the subject matter, the writer fits well the pattern of the barking insane.

Crazychester and Jim, the mothership is waiting for you on the lawns of Old Parliament House.


What's Your Opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
64 Responses to Sanity at the tent embassy?
Filter
Order
luca luca 7:49 pm 18 Jan 07

before some jerk starts quoting me with “(sic)” everywhere, that should be “drunkenness”.

luca luca 7:34 pm 18 Jan 07

yeah but Noel’s view appears to be that drunkeness is not a syptom of anything but … character predisposition to … drunkeness.

He rejects the notion that aborigine dispossession is the disease and drunkeness merely the syptom.

In other words, granting land rights (curing the so called disease) will not end the (so called) symptoms of that disease (drunkeness).

johnboy johnboy 6:04 pm 18 Jan 07

The problem being that treating the symptoms without treating the disease is often fatal.

(but sometimes better than nothing)

luca luca 6:02 pm 18 Jan 07

“TONY JONES: What sort of solution do you see? Because you talk very clearly in your speech about something that you call “symptom theory”.

NOEL PEARSON: Well, you know, the fact is that grog is so much of a problem in our Cape communities, I mean, I think there was one report
that said the per capita consumption of grog amongst Aboriginal people in the Cape York is amongst the highest consumption in the world.

We have an epidemic that’s embedded in our social relationships. The symptom theory says, “Well, this alcoholism is simply a symptom of people’s miserable condition.”

What I’m saying is that, “No, alcohol is an addiction and is a problem in itself.” Yes, people’s social and economic conditions make them
susceptible to addictions, but it doesn’t make them inevitable that they should fall into alcoholism.

The problem with the symptom theory is it kind of absolves people from taking responsibility for the grave problem of addiction. We’ve got to
front addiction as a social problem within our communities and that may involve some radical thinking in some communities, in our communities
where there are big problems.

It might involve listening to what the old people are saying about restrictions. Because the problem has become so embedded in our society
old people and old women in many of our communities, they go around on night patrols trying to stop young people from getting into drugs and grog.

When you get into that situation and these old people are saying, “We want to put a stop to grog,” some of these solutions might, in fact, be
the correct solutions. My hope is that we’ve got to come to a democratic decision in our own communities…

TONY JONES: Noel Pearson, we’ll leave it there for now… NOEL PEARSON: Thanks, Tony.”

http://www.brisinst.org.au/resources/brisinst_feedback_lateline.html

So, seepi, my interpretation of what Noel is saying is that while we might wail and tear at our clothes over the conditions that may have made aborigines more susceptible to drunkenness and other drug addiction in aboriginal communities, the immediate problem is not land rights etc but drunkenness/drugs and if
those problems are not attended to by, for example (and no doubt to cries of paternalism by whitey activists) banning grog etc, there might be no black fellas around to reap the benefits of the broader long term strategy for black advancement!

seepi seepi 9:42 am 18 Jan 07

poor health is generally related to third world living conditions.

you’ve said plenty about what isn’t working, but offerred no solutions.

what would you do to improve health and living conditions?

luca luca 8:16 pm 17 Jan 07

Our discussion went off the rails, slightly, seepi, because its terms of reference alternated between the embassy showcasing aboriginal living conditions generally and housing-conditions in particular.

Rightly or wrongly I focused on “housing conditions” because of this comment of yours:

“It is a reminder that Indigenous families are living in conditions like that shipping container, and we are dong (sic) nothing about it.”.

I was not discussing aboriginal health (under living conditions generally).

So my comment about the need for evidenced-based proposals was in reference to your concern about the (shipping container)housing.

Living in a shipping container is not, of itself, and as far as I’m aware, detrimental to a person’s health. Indeed at one stage the WA Government incarcerated prisoners in shipping containers. So the shipping container reference must be about “housing”.

Conclusion

Insofar as the Tent Embassy is a protest about black housing via the shipping container, I’m not at all sure that providing blacks with white-picket-fence-homes will ultimately result in housing more salubrious than a … shipping container.

Put simply, and harshly, if a person can’t manage a home, it doesn’t matter if it is a shipping container or a room at the Hilton!

As for the Embassy being a protest about aboriginal health conditions, I can’t comment here because I have seen no evidence of that part of the protest.

Mind you I have not, and would not,enter the shipping container where there possibly is material about aboriginal health conditions and so the Embassy would then be also a protest about such conditions.

No doubt, seepi, you’d rock along to the Embassy and say “hi bros” and give the five-fingered upside-down handshake (I’m sure there’s a buzz word for it), do a rap-squat and throw your legs about the place and the bros would cheer and encourage you and the two races would reach out to each other and … and something beautiful would be taking place!

Sorry to be rude but like, I would imagine, most Australians I am fed up with the black issue.

Incidentally the last two people I apprehended (as a citizen) breaking into my neighbours’ homes were … you guessed it – children of the dreamtime!

seepi seepi 10:03 pm 16 Jan 07

luca I can’t understand what you’re on about!

perhaps a number of Indigenous people might like to have good health. of course I haven’t asked them all, so this is not evidence based….

Hasdrubahl Hasdrubahl 10:03 pm 16 Jan 07

But like kryptonite, it’s hard to detect until it’s too late.

johnboy johnboy 10:01 pm 16 Jan 07

WMC, there’s poor writing and then there’s the mark of the nutter.

it’s very distinctive, and it’s there.

luca luca 9:26 pm 16 Jan 07

One UN (UK) soldier did do something useful once, Johnboy. Apparently a tuti or a hutsi was methodically slashing refugees from the opposing side with his machete, including babies on their mother’s backs, the idea being to start a stampede and cause more deaths, and this soldier sort of breached protocol and quietly, and without shooting so as not to panic people, pursued the savage and plunged his knife through his heart!

Naturally Lefties would be appalled because the soldier didn’t first use non-violent methods to resolve the situation eg meaningful eye contact …

Seepi, I’m not sure the imperative to improve black conditions need be as urgent as what you seem to suggest for the simple reason it might come to a dead end very quickly!

Behaviour modification can be very difficult to achieve and changes may only be attained slowly and my point is – perhaps we are getting a little too hot and bothered over living conditions in the communities!

By analogy, drivers are pouring $millions into Greenfleet but Greenfleet has run out of land on which to plant trees!

You, my friend, could end up with many thousands of houses either used as animal enclosures or trashed in weeks so as to be unusable!

Perhaps a significant number of aborigines prefer to live in the long grass? Dunno but neither do you so your proposal is not evidenced-based.

And another thing, there are about 5-600,000 black people in Australia who collectively receive about $3-4 billion in Commonwealth funds but when added to State/Territory funds, the figure rises to approximately $16 billion. So, you know, if half a million blacks can’t be housed with this money then something is hideously wrong!

luca luca 9:25 pm 16 Jan 07

One UN (UK) soldier did do something useful once, Johnboy. Apparently a tuti or a hutsi was methodically slashing refugees from the opposing side with his machete, including babies on their mother’s backs, the idea being to start a stampede and cause more deaths, and this soldier sort of breached protocol and quietly, and without shooting so as not to panic people, pursued the savage and plunged his knife through his heart!

Naturally Lefties would be appalled because the soldier didn’t first use non-violent methods to resolve the situation eg meaningful eye contact …

Seepi, I’m not sure the imperative to improve black conditions need be as urgent as what you seem to suggest for the simple reason it might come to a dead end very quickly!

Behaviour modification can be very difficult to achieve and changes may only be attained slowly and my point is – perhaps we are getting a little too hot and bothered over living conditions in the communities!

By analogy, drivers are pouring $millions into Greenfleet but Greenfleet has run out of land on which to plant trees!

You, my friend, could end up with many thousands of houses either used as animal enclosures or trashed in weeks so as to be unusable!

Perhaps a significant number of aborigines prefer to live in the long grass? Dunno but neither do you so your proposal is not evidenced-based.

And another thing, there are about 5-600,000 black people in Australia who collectively receive about $3-4 billion in Commonwealth funds but when added to State/Territory funds, the figure rises to approximately $16 billion. So, you know, if half a million blacks can’t be housed with this money then something is hideously wrong!

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 9:17 pm 16 Jan 07

Surely someone in the federal government can come up with something that can guarantee education, health, and real jobs?

Let me know when you’ve figured out what that “something” is – and no, “it’s obviously a bit more complex but you get the idea” won’t cut it. Nothing’s obvious, and we haven’t begun to think about ways of grasping the complexity involved. It’s a policy conundrum that’s foiled some of the best minds in government, academia and the private sector for almost thirty years. If it was just a matter of “durely…coming up with something”, don’t you think somebody would have by now?

Generalisations about a “welfare mentality” that is only displayed by a small proportion of the Aboriginal (and non-Aboriginal) communities doesn’t help anybody, and nor do suggestions that the vast majority of people on both sides of government and Aboriginal people themselves aren’t doing their level best to resolve the situation.

As for the Tent Embassy not being representative – you said it yourself that Aboriginal unity is a myth. The Tent Embassy represents a core of people who believe in land rights over native title, acknowledging an honest view of history rather than sweeping it all away under the guise of “reconciliation”, and in keeping it all in our privileged, well-to-do faces as much as possible. Is it perfect? Hell, no. Is it effective? Well, it certainly keeps people talking, and it’s a big motivator for me, and I always see plenty of tourists to OPH taking pics and talking about it, so I guess that’s a yes. Is it an eyesore? I think it’s pretty clean and well-ordered myself, and I walk or drive by it most days. Do I agree with the means and methods of some of the people there? Not particularly. But I believe in the Embassy as a symbol, and a reminder, and an agitator of public opinion. Aboriginal people need all three more now than ever.

I think it’s hilarious that the barely literate ee cummings wannabes that populate this forum have the gall to criticise somebody else’s written communications skills. Perhaps we should silence everybody who has difficulty writing a concise press release about complex and emotional issues? It’d certainly be a lot fucking quieter around here.

As for arguing, I’m not here to argue about anything. I just think it’s dangerous for people to claim that because they’ve hung around a few blackfellas that they know the solution to everybody’s problems. You, and everybody else for that matter, including me, really don’t have the faintest idea how to deal with multiple, diverse interrelated and ‘wicked’ social, cultural and economic problems with complicated and often unknown causes. Something that works here fails there, and it takes months or years to find out why. More often than not pulling a lever here causes an explosion over there, and even if we learn why it doesn’t mean it will or won’t happen next time someplace else because we don’t understand yet another chaotic element. At least we’re doing our best, and at least we’re not blaming the victim or making vague generalisations while we’re at it.

seepi seepi 8:35 pm 16 Jan 07

Apparently luca does tho, and perhaps there are others who think squalor is approprate for ‘some blacks at this stage of their progress’.

johnboy johnboy 8:32 pm 16 Jan 07

That’d be the same UN which does nothing as each genocide unfurls?

You can keep them with the Germans.

I think we should be ashamed of the conditions of indigenous Australia and considering the small numbers more could be done.

But I don’t need Germans or the UN to tell me that.

seepi seepi 8:24 pm 16 Jan 07

I think if the tent embassy weren’t there people in Canberra wouldn’t think about Indigenous people at all.

The UN has described Australian Indigenous living conditions as poor, which i find embarassing.

Obviously it isn’t as simple as giving everyone a house, new solutions need to be worked on that take people’s lifestyle and family connections into account. But doing anything has to be better than doing nothing. Did your cousin have any ideas of a way forward?

luca luca 8:08 pm 16 Jan 07

Yeah but seepi, in my opinion the connection you talk of (reminder of appalling living conditions) isn’t being made (not that I can prove it)!

I don’t think people do think “christ, is this how aborigines in the communities live!”.

I think they think “yukky poo! What a bloody mess! I’m glad they don’t live next door to me! Why can’t they smarten themselves up a bit. Evonne Goolagong scrubbed up well”.

In short, I think the embassy is a bad advertisement for the black man and does more harm than good and indeed exists because the baby boomer activists see it as a poke in the eye of the Establishment!

Yet another example of whitey activists using the black movement to further their own aims at the expense of black Australia!

And as for this comment: “But it is still an embarassment(sic) for Australia that we have people living in such shocking conditions.”, you are using a white middle class yardstick of what constitutes “appalling conditions”.

It may be that such conditions are normal for some blacks at this stage of their progress?

My cousin once worked for the WA Public Housing agency (HomesWest?) and she said they’d make houses available for the black people in the communities and some/a lot (I can’t remember the quantity) would put their animals in the houses while they’d live outdoors. The houses became a pigsty, literally!

So, you know, if a significant number of aborigines are incapable of appreciating that their conditions are substandard (and I don’t know if that is the situation), then using the tent embassy to showcase those conditions wouldn’t seem to achieve much. Put simply, you can take a horse to water but …

I stress I’m not saying that community-aborigines would not live happily behind a white picket fence and keep their homes clean and tidy, I’m saying the solution to the problem might not be as simple as you seem to be implying (“just…just give them all nice little houses so they won’t live in appalling conditions!”).

seepi seepi 11:40 am 16 Jan 07

The Gernam suggestions seemed to centre around banning alcohol etc. I had to point out that having lawas based on colour is kind of like apartheid.

But it is still an embarassment for Australia that we have people living in such shocking conditions.

VYBerlinaV8_now with_added_grunt VYBerlinaV8_now with_added_grunt 11:14 am 16 Jan 07

And yet when a previous govt tried to take aboriginal children away to assimilate them into society they get branded as child thieves. Please note, I am not condoning this program, but simply want to make the point that this is an extremely difficult area, and although drastic action is needed, there will be many criticisms.

Personally I’m all for programs that help them to help themselves – whatever that means!

johnboy johnboy 10:38 am 16 Jan 07

Considering the German record on race relations they can go f*ck themselves.

seepi seepi 10:27 am 16 Jan 07

People in Germany are also stunned that Australia can’t seem to do anything for our Indigenous people.

Luca the present embassy has nothing to do with generating funds. That is done via official channels. A bit of busking money is not going to solve the Indigenous housing and health problems.

It is a reminder that Indigenous families are living in conditions like that shipping container, and we are dong nothing about it.

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top

Search across the site