What makes Australia’s genocide better than Germany’s?

german vs australian genocide

Quite a crazy question isn’t it? Genocide shouldn’t be compared from one to another. Any attempt to wipe out a race is a disgraceful crime against humanity no matter how small or big that population might be.

But if you’re living in Australia right now, you might be under the impression that the genocide of Aboriginal people in Australia wasn’t so bad compared to other genocides in history.

This attitude is being passed down by Australia’s political leaders who claim there is no problem with continuing to honour colonial figures that led or directly took part in the killings of Aboriginal people. Yes, there are currently statues, plaques, rivers, highways and electorates named after men who were part of the attempted genocide of Aboriginal people in Australia.

lachlan macquarie aboriginal massacre statue
Lachlan Macquarie is currently honoured with a several statues across NSW.

In Germany, these kinds of attitudes are illegal. Germany has actively tried their best to remove statues & symbolism that are representative of inhumane times gone by. Any attempt to deny what happened in Germany is an offence under their laws that are punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Furthermore, Germany has set out to honour the victims with national memorials throughout Germany. This is also the case in neighbouring countries like France, Poland and Austria.

Soviet statue being removed in Poland

Why are things so different in Australia? Last week, Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull claimed that any attempt to remove these statues was an attempt to rewrite Australia’s history. This statement alone suggests that he does not believe the facts surrounding the colonial figures. Malcolm Turnbull is in denial about the attempted genocide of Aboriginal people. He wants to deny the true history and uphold a false history.

Harold Joseph Thomas' artwork depicts the Myall Creek Massacre
Harold Joseph Thomas’ artwork depicts the Myall Creek Massacre

Turnbull argues that “those were the times”, & “this is our history”. Why does Australia think it’s ok to honour history when genocide is at the core of that history? Perhaps if we as Aboriginal people were not here, they could get away with it. But we are here and it is deeply insulting.

In Australia it is very hard to find any memorials that honour the memory of the thousands of Aboriginal people who were killed right across Australia. But it is easy to find reminders of those who took part in the killings. Meanwhile in Germany, the opposite is true. It is easy to find memorials for the millions who were killed during the holocaust and very hard to find any trace of the leaders from those times.

Holocaust memorial in Berlin

I hope this has given you all a bit of perspective on this issue. Australia is often guilty of being a very insular nation that is reluctant to look outside of its borders in relations to human rights. The current attitudes are detrimental when it comes to truth and reconciliation in this country. Please help us share this message if you want things to change.

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