Although very different, similarities exist between the tension that surrounded the Berlin Wall and Australia’s division over Australia Day.
In the years after WW2, Berlin found itself isolated from the rest of Democratic West Germany. It became an island surrounded by Communist East Germany. Germans in this region were divided by political ideologies and a 155km wall.
In Australia, we aren’t dealing with Communism Vs Democracy. Both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people are relatively in favour of a democratic system; even though the current model is failing. But there are some very different ideologies that exist between those in power in Australia compared to ideologies held by many Indigenous people.
The most stark difference between Indigenous ideologies and the government’s are in regards to land management. The government seeks to exploit and profit from the land whereas Indigenous people prefer to protect the land for the survival of future generations. There are differences in other areas (like education and families) but land management lies at the core of the divide here in Australia.
So I’ve highlighted one of the main ideological differences, but what about the wall?
Up until the late 1960’s Australia had walls too. Indigenous people were isolated from non-Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal people were forced to remain in mission camps or reservations under strict control of the government. This all changed after the 1967 referendum where Australians decided that Indigenous people were ready to become citizens in our own land. Interesting concept hey?
Well this concept came with the belief that we would eventually integrate or assimilate into non-Indigenous society and adopt all of the western ideologies. We are now 60 years down the track. The government propaganda in our education systems and the media have failed to convert our ways. We are now seeing more independence in our communities with a resurgence of traditional language, cultural education and leadership. Unfortunately the government propaganda has influenced a majority of non-Indigenous Australians who feel our ideologies belong in the stone age. They struggle to understand why we don’t want to assimilate into their way of life.
The government would love to wrestle back control and keep pushing assimilation agendas down our throats but our people are simply ‘too woke’ for that and the government will not get away with it again. As our cultural revival grows we are beginning to shine (ever so slowly as the the government still tries to apply an economic strangle-hold). But nevertheless we are survivors and now more and more of the non-Indigenous population are starting to see us shine. Some are even starting to understand and respect our ideologies too.
Unfortunately our people only make up less than 3% of the population in Australia. Not everyone is going to have the chance to meet an Aboriginal person, let alone understand our ways. The government knows this and continues to feed the majority with an ongoing narrative that Australia was settled (not invaded) and that their western ideologies are the best thing for Australia.
No other day does this become more apparent then on Australia Day. The 26th of January has always been a celebration of British colonisation. Australia Day is now the biggest propaganda tool the government has to force a divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia.
Australia Day is the wall that divides us.
Will you help us knock it down?
Join us when we hit the streets on Jan 26.
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