Secret River

Steven Katsineris writes about a recent television programme that highlighted the plight of indigenous Australians. Steven Katsineris is a Melbourne based writer and activist.

I hope that many Australians saw the programme Secret River on ABC. Even though it was at times difficult to watch, especially the last episode, it gave a genuine insight into the profound atrocities and ordeals inflicted upon Australia’s indigenous peoples by colonialism.

Those watching would have gotten some measure of understanding and appreciation of the cruel nature of the subjugation, dispossession, displacement and destruction of the First Peoples way of life, society and culture. The present plight of the Aboriginal peoples is a direct result of the past gross suffering and blatant denial of their inalienable rights by the imposed settler state.

It is vitally important that we recognize this sordid history of inhumanity if we are to move forwards and make some amends for what terrible, callous wrongs the European invasion perpetrated.

Many Europeans believe that the superiority of their ideas, culture and values enabled them to dominate the world, but as was rightly shown in Secret River, the truth is different, that the force of superior weapons, the use of organised violence and sheer brutality won the conflicts that gave rise to the western colonial settler states (in Australia, USA, Canada, NZ, Israel, Ireland and others).

And real harmony will only come about when past and present injustices are fairly and properly resolved.

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