Thousands of people in major cities gathered to defend remote Aboriginal communities over the weekend. It’s incredible seeing this get off the ground, since the media was quiet about what was going on. Following the announcement that the WA State Government would be dismantling up to 150 remote communities, people gathered at Matagarup which has previously been an important site. Twitter was alive with news and photos of the issue. Especially when the police horses were called in again to disperse the elders’ meeting.
At the time it struck me as anachronistic. Now it looks even worse.
Fortunately the news got out and people in the cities have joined in to support those who live in the bush. The rallies in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide grew out of Australians’ concern for each other, in spite of the media spin. The Hun, predictably, responded by calling them selfish rabble. The same publishers that accept advertising money from the supermarket duopoly while keeping quiet about farmers and country towns going broke. Colour me not surprised.
Contrast this with a handful of people who rallied over Easter to carry on about Muslims and Sharia law. Fortunately there were only a few of them. In some of the pictures they’re proudly wearing or holding an Australian flag. You know, the blue one that wasn’t around before the 2nd world war but revisionists love to say diggers fought for it. Leaving aside that Afghans helped explore inland Australia and the Darwin train line is named in their honour because they’re a part of Australia now, the whole divide and conquer thing is wearing very thin.
People remember how this picking on Muslims took off around the time when a simulation of public consent was required for the invasion of Iraq. People have noticed how the loudest critics of Islam are frequently extremist religious politicians who push for ideals that come from the same basis as Sharia. We know it’s a sham and we know what we are not now, nor have ever been, an exclusively Christian nation. Freedom of religion is the civil right that is enshrined in our constitution. Extremists of any stripe are regarded with the same disdain.
Most Aussies want to get on with life rather than be conned into another war or pointless fight on the basis of some rubbish in the papers. Divide and conquer doesn’t work when we stand together.
Well, here’s Australians acting collectively. In spite of little formal news about the issue, it got out. People are willing to gather in public to defend the rights of those whose homes are being destroyed to further flog a dead
horse mining boom.
Regardless of whether it turns into a wider protest raising awareness of issues in rural communities, (of course I hope it does) this is a great example of how we are revitalising our democracy. This is using social media for a good cause. This is a perfect illustration of how the old paradigm is a zombie, and the new one is spreading its wifi enabled wings. Remember that old saying about first they came for the Jews, but I wasn’t a Jew? Well, the bulldozers were coming for Aboriginal communities and people aren’t standing around with their hands in their pockets. At this time, with the technology and knowledge that we have available we can and are building a fairer, more inclusive Australia. That’s something to be proud of.