Lest we forget — the continued genocide of Aboriginal communities

Issue 

Hone Harawira, leader of the MANA Movement of Aotearoa (New Zealand), has called on all those who support justice to join in the Day of Action to Stop the Forced Closure of Aboriginal Communities on May 1, both in Australia and in New Zealand. He has released this statement.

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“The last time I was in Canberra was for Sorry Day 2008, when I listened to [then-Prime Minister] Kevin Rudd apologise to generations of Aboriginal people for the theft of their lands, the destruction of their culture, and the dehumanising of their people” said Hone Harawira, leader of the MANA Movement of Aotearoa (NZ).

“Today I am back in Canberra during Anzac week 2015, and I am reminded that television channels, radio stations and print media on both sides of the Tasman are full of the remarkable stories of courage and heroism exhibited by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp during World War I, right across the Western Front of the European campaign, and the beaches, hills and trenches of Gallipoli” said Harawira, “And as it happens, to cement that union of battle, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is today unveiling a memorial to Australian soldiers who died in WW1, at Pukeatua Memorial Park in Wellington, New Zealand” said Harawira.

“But today, as he unveils a memorial to the mindless destruction of a century ago, Tony Abbott is quietly drawing a veil across the genocide being committed by his own government in Western Australia through the enforced closure of remote Aboriginal communities.

Genocide is defined under the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide as "(e) forcibly transferring children of one group to another" and "(c) deliberately inflicting on one group, conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part" This is being done in Australia through measures such as:
• removing children from their families
• cutting off basic medical needs
• ignoring needs for basic infrastructure such as public transport
• labelling remote communities as breeding grounds for paedophilia
• taking away community work programs
• neglecting aboriginal housing programs
• withholding and freezing bank accounts.

The forced closure of Aboriginal communities is genocide — plain and simple — something that colonialists have been trying to do ever since their arrival, originally through the gunbarrels of white settlers and now through the legislation of overwhelmingly white governments.

Although the United Nations recognises the overwhelming authority of the Indigenous people to the land of Australia, it seems that Australian governments simply refuse to accept the reality of their continued racism.

When John Howard introduced the hated Northern Territory Intervention Plan back in 2007, he earned the universal animosity of Indigenous people the world over as “a racist bastard imposing racist policies on a people who are not in a position to fight back”.

Tony Abbott’s backing of Western Australia’s Closure of Remote Communities in 2015 is exactly the same, and deserves exactly the same response — “Tony Abbott is a racist bastard imposing racist policies on a people who are not in a position to fight back”.

White Australian governments happily dumped Aboriginals into the outback, out of sight and out of mind — until they realised that they had inadvertently given them rights to millions of acres of land beneath which sat vast deposits of billion dollar minerals and oils.

The Intervention Plan, and now the Closure of Remote Communities, is genocide with a blunt instrument — put an end to Aboriginal title by forcing them from their land, let the big mining companies bully their way in, and force the Indigenous people to take their case to court where they stand no chance of ever winning.

As the leader of the MANA Movement in Aotearoa (NZ), I join with indigenous leaders across Australia and the Pacific in condemning the Closure of remote Communities, and I call on all those who support justice to join in the Day of Action to Stop the Forced Closure of Aboriginal Communities on May 1, both here in Australia and back in New Zealand.

If the Anzac spirit truly lives 100 years after the defence of the British Empire, let it be in the defence of our own indigenous communities in 2015.

Hone Harawira
MANA Leader
Canberra

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