Australia Day on January 26 marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the “First Fleet” to Sydney Cove, carrying mainly convicts and troops from Britain. For many indigenous Australians, who trace their lineage on the continent back 60,000 years, it is “Invasion Day”, the start of Britain’s colonization of aboriginal lands and their brutal subjugation – akin to “Columbus Day” that is celebrated in the USA.
The ruling elite that emerged in Australia made a determination of all those considered acceptable to constitute a nation of themselves based on ethnic, religious, political, physical and intellectual criteria. All outside the criteria were excluded and even exterminated. In fact, this approach became the policy of Nazi Germany. Today this approach requires that all those who do not swear allegiance to the “values” declared Australian, American, Canadian, British, civilized, etc., are qualified for civil death.
Due to colonialism, Australia’s 700,000 or so indigenous people track near the bottom of its 25 million citizens in almost every economic and social indicator. While opinion polls suggest over half the country supports changing Australia Day, the conservative government is still trying to legally entrench it as a national holiday.
On December 17, at the age of 83, ballet icon Raven Wilkinson, the first black woman to sign a contract with a major company, passed away | PEDRO DE LA HOZ
Raven Wilkinson in costume at the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo | historicheroines.org
‘It all played out very suddenly’: Former Globe and Mail reporter on resigning over race dispute | KAREN K. HO, Columbia Journalism Review Continue reading
Freedom of press of the reactionary ruling classes
In 1961 and for years after, the French and Anglo-American media colluded with the state to cover up the 1961 massacre of Algerians in Paris, ensuring impunity for those responsible for this heinous crime such as the Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon, Prefect of the Paris police. This is an apt time to recall what happened. Continue reading
When the Seine was full of bodies – as many as 300 Algerians massacred in Paris by order of the police Prefect, a Vichy Nazi collaborator, who was never prosecuted for this heinous crime. The provocation came in the form of a police order that Muslim “citizens” of Algeria only should be subject to a curfew from 8.30pm to 5.30am, on the pretext that there had been a significant increase in the number of attacks on policemen. What happened on 17 October 1961 is not a matter solely for historians. Continue reading
October 16 marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Black Power protest at the 1968 Olympics 200 metre medal ceremony by African American athletes Tommie Smith (centre) and John Carlos (right), the gold and bronze medalists. Peter Norman (left), the silver medalist from Australia and an opponent of the White Australia policy, displayed the badge of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR). This was – and is – a powerful example of defiance in the face of racist oppression, in particular, and for human rights for all, in general. Continue reading