Alcohol addiction is the problem in many communities, and addicts make easy targets for companies that sell the stuff. In European communites addiction is hidden away or treated under covert conditions to protect our reputations, families, and jobs. In many Aborigional communites it is highlighted thus allowing governments to more easily poiliticise the problem. These governments then use welfare money as a means to say "hey. we're dealing with the problem." When all they are doing is perpetuating the welfare dependency cycle and all its attached social evils.
History is history....you can't change it what ever happened.
This thinking is quite flawed if you follow the logic through. This would also mean companies like James Hardie and tobacco companies should not need to compensate people for their wrongdoings. The reason it is flawed is that history is NOT simply history. A company can't change its directors and cease to be responsible for its wrongs. Nor should a country be allowed to change its leaders and consider itself forgiven. Heck, why stop there.. if history is indeed 'history', why should anyone be in prison or need to pay a speeding fine? In fact, why do we need courts at all?
In fact, history affects everyone's present. People's children and their children's children are affected by what happened centuries ago. Look a holocaust survivor (or their child) in the eye and try to tell them that 'history is history'. To this day, there are (large) companies around the world whose wealth is built on holocaust money. To this day, living Australians benefit from their theft of Aboriginal land. And to this day, Aboriginal Australians suffer from the loss of that land. Try looking them in the eye and telling them it is all 'history'.
The British Museum continues to hold Aboriginal remains stolen from graves in the 1800s and are making a lot of fuss about returning them to Tasmania where they were stolen from. London uses this museum as a tourist drawcard. It only follows that Londoners are continuing to benefit from the theft of these human remains. That's not to mention all the other loot contained in that museum or in other similar museums around the world.
A final point is that there are many Australians still alive who took part in bringing about the 'Stolen Generation' or who were affected by it. That period barely ended 40 years ago and certainly is not ready to slip into the realm of 'History'.
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 26, 2007, at 9:52 PM by Peter ]
In regards to the Natural History Museum in London holding Aboriginal remains, here are a couple of other links people might find useful:
Press Release from NHM (November 2006)
News article from BBC News
I'm not wishing to enter the debate in regards to the Aboriginal remains that the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre are requesting the return of, however the BBC article suggests that the 3 month period of testing that began in January is a "compromise position" between what the scientists want and what the TAC want.
A more recent press release from Natural History Museum
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 27, 2007, at 1:53 AM by mojorob ]
a "compromise position"
translated as "we'll do what we bloody well like but we'll be quick about it. Now stop complaining"
The quote that follows from Michael Mansell of the TAC is particulary telling.....
"That they intend to mutilate our ancestors without our consent shows that they have not lost the same primitive mindset of the first English settlers, who treated our people as sub-humans."
It appears that in some aspects atleast, we the evil colonialists are not as progressive as we misguidedly thought.
Incidently, I don't think that the Natural History Museum has a problem with respecting Aboriginee culture in particular - we have a huge stock of Ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian antiquities but I guess thats ok as they're not around to protest any more