International Day of Action on the NT Invasion, November 17
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International Day of Action on the NT Invasion, November 17

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John Ahni Schertow
November 3, 2007
 

close up shot of 97 protesters holding up the recommendations from the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ report – recommendations which have been ignored in the Federal government’s heavy handed response. more photos here

On November 17, there is an international Day of Action for the Indigenous People in the Northern Territory of Australia, who have since June been the subjects of a thoroughly-planned-out draconian scheme that has undermined indigenous rights, done away with the land title system, abolished community projects, quarantined welfare payments, and perhaps worst of all, enforced it all under the guise of ‘saving the children.’

That’s right. The Howard government used the concerns raised in the Little Children are Sacred Report as justification for this so-called intervention; but then the government refused to implement any of the 97 recommendations made in the report. In fact, it’s as if the intervention was drawn up long before the report came out, seeing as how most (if not all) of the legislated measures have literally nothing to do with saving the children.

Removing the land title system, for example. What does that have to do with it? Or how about seizing the assets from community development programs? Or quarantining every family’s welfare money if they don’t send their kids to school (and how is that any different from what the government did to the Stolen generation)?

On top of this, I can’t help but point out that after all these months, there has not been any evidence found that a child has been abused. That’s not to say abuses have not occurred, but rather to add proof towards showing how unnecessary this cruel and invasive military-backed program is. The most any doctor has discovered so far, is that the kids should have more tooth paste!!!!

Truth, Lies, and Resistance
Another component of the intervention scheme that’s not regularly talked about is the ongoing propaganda campaign. Truth be told, the government–along with the media and various think tanks and special interest groups have been working over-time disinforming us about the facts; and doing everything they can to justify the intervention scheme and to make it look like there is no opposition – or at least, that anyone who opposes it either ‘supports the abusers’, or are nothing more than a group of uneducated bafoons who don’t know what they’re talking about.

In light of the election

In light of all this, and since there is a Federal Election coming at the end of the month, prior to which the upcoming international day of action has been organized, I wanted to throw in one question for any/all Australian voters. I want you to think long and hard about it…

If the government is willing to go this far against Indigenous Australians, what’s to stop them from doing the same thing to you? What’s to stop them from seizing your assets, taking your children, searching your home, taking away your rights, and going through every facet of your life? Remember now, the intervention scheme has given the government permission to do this to every Indigenous Person.

As long as Howard’s in office, there is nothing to stop them from doing it to you too. If you’re voting in the upcoming election, you best think very carefully about that.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some voices in the government who have been speaking out, but it seems most are either too afraid, too ignorant, too apathetic, or too racist to do anything beyond regurgitate what they’ve been told.

On the other hand, Indigenous People have been protesting and imploring the truth since even before the intervention scheme was first applied. Many voices have spoken out–calling it a land grab, a massive human rights violation, and a fundamental abuse against a race of people (which by definition, constitutes the crime of genocide)

You may also recall the previous International Day of action in July of this year, which most certainly helped to raise awareness about the facts and dispell at least some of the propaganda.

Shortly after these protests, a number of conferences and gatherings were organized by/for Indigenous People to speak out even more against the intervention scheme.

Since then, there have have been several more protests, meetings, and gatherings. There was just one such gathering in Redfern just 5 days ago; two speeches from which you can listen to below.

Michael Mansell is a lawyer and lands rights activist of Tasmanian descent, who’s worked with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Center for more than 25 years. Download
A member of the Gabi Gabi Community, Les Malezer is the President and Founder of the “Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action.” Download

Things you can do:

1. Organise a protest outside the Australian Consulate in your nearest city. Make it clear that the Howard government’s shameful opportunism on human rights is gathering international criticism.

2. Donate to the National Aboriginal Alliance.

3. Spread the news of this horrendous violation of human rights to as many people as possible. Write an article about it, post to your blog about it, send the news to your friends via email. Encourage your friends to speak out about it as well.

4. If you are part of a political organisation, collective, or group, please send your words of solidarity and support to the National Aboriginal Alliance. Send messages of solidarity to: secretariat at nationalaboriginalalliance dot org.

5. Write letters to Mal Brough, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, or John Howard. You can find guidelines here

6. See this page on Women for Wik for more things you can do.

More Information

For more information, speeches and videos, please go to federalintervention.info, nationalaboriginalalliance.org, communitiesresponsetosexualassault.wordpress.com, and www.antar.org.au

Thanks to Ana for posting the news release about the day of action on her blog; and to Holly Creenaune (from Friends of the Earth Sydney) for the speeches

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