I had the opportunity this morning (5:30am my time!) to participate in a live discussion on Al Jazeera with John Pilger, the famous Australian investigative journalist, supporter of Julian Assange, and documentarian, about his new documentary “Utopia”, which looks at the current state of Australia’s treatment of our indigenous population. Although I barely got to speak to him (my one question comes in at the 30 minute mark), it was terrific to listen to him explain what he believes is the role of journalism and, in particular, investigative journalism. I want to be him when I grow up.
From the Brisbane Times:
Hidden under an old cane plantation outside the Queensland sugar city of Bundaberg lies an awful secret.
Beyond the weeping fig trees the bodies of 29 South Sea Islanders are buried in an unmarked grave.
(Slavery buried in Qld mass grave: Islanders)
They were called “Kanakas“. Growing up in Bundy I was taught that they were “workers”. Wikipedia claims “Of the more than 60,000 Islanders recruited from 1863, the majority were to be “repatriated” (that is, deported) by the Australian Government between 1906-08 under the Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901 legislation prompted by the White Australia policy.”
Or, as the above story suggests, just murdered and thrown into mass graves.
I’ve started a brand new podcast series with David Cole called “The Dreaming”. It’s going to be a long series focused on indigenous affairs. We plan to talk to historians, anthropologists, academics, journalists, politicians, artists and every day people about Australia’s aboriginal people.
Episode one was launched today!
I’m re-reading The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes and thinking about the great irony that King George III punished thieves by sending them out to Australia while simultaneously stealing the entire country off of its traditional owners.
Steal a loaf of bread = five years hard labour in Australia.
Steal an entire country with incalculable wealth = it’s good to be the King.
Of course, he did go mad, have to deal with the American revolution and Napoleon. Karma is a bitch.
Neomad is a new iPad comic created by and featuring a group of energetic, talented and brilliant indigenous kids from Roebourne in Western Australia.
The guy who has helped them make it a reality is Stu Campbell. On today’s show, I talk with Stu, Max & Maverick about The Love Punks, Neomad, and life in a small Aboriginal township.
NEOMAD : EPISODE 1 : SPACE JUNK : FILM from Yijala Yala Project on Vimeo.
Link for Neomad, the iPad comic.
Also check out Stu’s other comic, Nawlz. It’s amazing.
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