Editor and senior columnist
Black Agenda Report
“The encounter between aboriginals and the invading British resulted in extermination and an oppression which continues until this very day.”
On January 26th, a holiday known as Australia Day is celebrated in what is colloquially known as the land down under. On that date in 1788, the first British settlers arrived on the island continent we now know as Australia.
Of course, there were already human beings in Australia when the British went looking for new lands to conquer. These people had been there for at least 40,000 years and probably arrived by boat in a series of migrations from Africa and what is now New Guinea. Like the indigenous peoples of North and South America, they were very nearly wiped off the face of the earth by the migration of Europeans to their home land.
Australia’s history is no different in this regard. The encounter between aboriginals and the invading British resulted in extermination and an oppression which continues until this very day. Their lands were stolen, they were killed by new diseases, and even their children were taken from them as late as the 20th century. Today these people are the poorest of all Australians, are the most likely to be incarcerated, and die at younger ages than other groups in their country.
There is one simple word that describes the treatment of the original Australians by the invading people, and that word is genocide. To their credit, the aboriginal people have never stopped expressing their righteous indignation about the near total destruction of their race. No people so treated should ever cease protesting, demanding an end to their oppression, or petitioning for a redress of their grievances. Righteous anger is not only appropriate but necessary for all the peoples of the world whose lives and rights are so cruelly taken from them.
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