Down under in the vast open space that is Australia, there has been an ongoing controversy over the right of aboriginal people to develop their land. In the Kimberley region of Western Australia, the native people have successfully negotiated to have a gas plant built along a section of their shoreline. The plant will bring jobs, housing, schools, etc. for a total package worth $1.5 billion for the aborigines. Sounds like a great deal, but….
Enter Bob Brown, former head of the Australian Green Party, openly gay environmentalist, and virulent opponent of the construction of the gas plant. Mr. Bob was the boob who back in 2003 repeatedly heckled George Bush during the presidential address to the Australian parliament. This green drama queen has a long history of grandstanding gambits and silly stunts all performed in the name of saving every creature under the sun. And now Mister Brown believes he knows what’s best for those sad little child-like indigenous people of Western Australia that he regally deigns to perceive as his personal pets.
Well, the Jabirrlabirr clan of traditional owners have not taken kindly to Brown’s haughty interference nor to his threats to bring the gas project to a halt. In an open letter addressed to this egotistical knight-errant by one of the elders, Rita Augustine, the clan makes clear their feelings about being treated as progressive pawns.
It is great that you care so much about our country and our culture. We are proud of our history of caring for this country over thousands of years. The country tells us who We are. It gives us strength and determination. But now we face great challenges; not only about our country and our culture, but about our survival as Indigenous people.
Our people have had to make a choice about allowing development on our lands. It hasn’t been easy, but we have made a decision – a majority decision – to face up to our own challenges, and to build a better future for our children, our people, our culture, and our country.
Dr Brown, it is hard for us to understand why you think it is necessary for you to speak on our behalf, about our country, our culture, and our futures.
The only thing We need saving from, is people who disrespect our decisions and want to see our people locked up in a wilderness and treated as museum pieces.
We are a living people and a living culture. We have faced severe change over the last 200 years, and most of it has been far beyond our control. Now We have a chance to make decisions about our own lives and our children’s futures.
There are people, like you Dr Brown, who disagree with our vision for our future. And that’s a good thing in our democratic society. But please, don’t use us to push your view. We can speak for ourselves.
I am an old woman now and I have witnessed and lived the despair and hopelessness of many Kimberley Aboriginal people. Dr Brown, do you know what it is like to be taken away from your family, to not have money to buy food, to live in a house that is dilapidated and beyond repair? To see your children grow up in despair, die before they are 50, or even worse, take their own lives before they get to their 20s?
My people have lived this life, and we don’t want it anymore. It is not your place to tell Aboriginal stories of culture to the world, for they are our stories about our traditions and our culture.
I know that saving the Kimberley is important to you, and maybe my humble Words won’t change your opinion. But please, while you are in our country watching the whales, spare a thought for our people and what we are trying to achieve. News Australia