Many people appear to be shocked and confused about why Aboriginal groups are protesting the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
There has been widespread condemnation towards the Aboriginal protesters who are currently protesting against the Commonwealth Games this month. Even some Aboriginal people don’t understand why the protests are happening. You might be thinking, “what did the Commonwealth Games do to deserve these protests”? or “how does a sporting event relate to the protests”?
Let us clear that up for you as we outline 5 reasons why you should be supporting and even joining the 2 week protest on the Gold Coast.
- First and foremost, these are not the first Commonwealth Games protests. There were protests during the 1982 games held in Brisbane, the 2006 Games held in Melbourne and the same reasons those protests were held still stand today (see point 3,4 & 5).
- These non-violent protests are an effective way of getting our voices heard by overseas nations while the international spotlight and media converges on the Gold Coast.
- Issues such as remote community closures, youth detention, the suicide crisis, deaths in custody, mining and the corruption of Indigenous funding towards health, housing and education are all treated without any genuine concern.
- Australia still has no agreement between the European settler population of Australia and Aboriginal people. Many of us do do not recognise the occupation as legal and in no way consider this land to be part of the Commonwealth. Many of us do however use the term “Stolenwealth”.
- The current Indigenous representation at the games is a complete joke. The Games organisers claim they have a reconciliation action plan that aims to deliver legacy outcomes for Indigenous people. So far all we have seen is token symbolism with dancers and performers and token athletes used for promoting the games. Meanwhile Aboriginal artists have been robbed by non Indigenous businesses who were awarded contracts to provide Indigenous artworks. One genuine Indigenous business was even excluded from selling products inside the games village by yet another non Indigenous gatekeeper contractor. The so called RAP is nothing more than CRAP when we see absolutely no action being taken to rectify these clear wrongdoings. We have witnesses the Games organisers impose harsh penalties on Channel 9 for showing vision of the opening ceremony rehearsals but no action towards the blatant abuse of powers that has seen our own people miss out on genuine opportunities.
Enough is enough, if you can’t see the reality right now, you must be blind. The games organisers don’t care about reconciliation. All they care about is token representation to keep up the fake lies that everything is fine in Australia. They definitely don’t care about economic Indigenous empowerment.
The only empowerment we will achieve is the empowerment we demand. Rights to self determination, rights to our waterways, our land, our children, our languages, our past and our future.
Just like apartheid was toppled by international sanctions, we must call upon the international media to demand changes to the way we are treated here in our own country. So will you be supporting or joining the Commonwealth Games protests?
You can support by purchasing games protest shirts from the Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance Facebook page, and by following and sharing updates from WAR and the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy or by joining the protesters who are camped up for the next two weeks enjoying mean feeds, mad yarns and the cool ocean breeze.
Don’t be a sheep, get up, get active and be part of history.