Global pandemic of ethnocide declared!

There has been a pandemic of ethnocide over the last 500 years, as European life invaded and imposed itself on the “New World”.

The practice of ethnocide against Australia’s First Peoples has been carried out (on the ground) since 1788. It has been going on for so long it is now accepted as ‘normal’. It is not normal but pathological.

While genocide operates by seeking to destroy the body, ethnocide is a much more subtle process which focuses its lethal ‘beams’ on destroying what can be glossed as the ‘spirit’ of others.

Ending ethnocide against Australia’s First Peoples must be a fundamental objective in the debate about human rights in Australia.

ETHNOCIDE BEGINS AT “HOME”

While we tend to think of ethnocide as a practice carried out by modern Westerners against First Peoples, this is a secondary stage of a process or processes which begin ‘at home’ – in the process which lead to the formation of modern nation-states.

The technics of ethnocide are initially developed by being directed at local people in order to refashion them into an entirely different sense of identity.

The view of Pierre Clastres and Robert Jaulin is that, after bootstrapping itself ‘at home’ , the totalitarianising forces project themselves ‘outside’ and mutate into forms of imperialism and colonialism.

PROJECTED ONTO OTHER PEOPLES

Stated in its most basic form, there is a presumption in ‘modern’ Australia that First Peoples have no real culture of their own of any real value and that their lives must be refashioned to comply with introduced norms/world-views/values etc.

From the non-indigenous perspective, there is a presumption that what is required, to solve some of life’s problems in Australia, that “we” will change “you”.

There is a denial of the agency of the cultures of First Peoples, and a complete misunderstanding of what is required for people to change from one culture to another.

The Northern Territory intervention by the Howard Government is a classic case of ethnocide in its rawest form, and deserves to be subjected to a full study from that point of view.

But even those non-indigenous Australians who may otherwise seek to distance themselves from the actions of the Howard government engage in acts which fail the test of being free of the taint of ethnocide.

Despite the massive changes which First Peoples have already made in order to live with introduced and alien norms, government policies are founded on presumptions that even more change is required from First Peoples in order to them to become ‘equal’ with non-indigenous Australians.

This is a superficial form of equality when what is really required is a ‘deep equality’ which recognises an equality of what may be glossed as social and cultural institutions.

The flip-side of this non-indigenous perspective is the presumption that non-indigenous Australians, and their institutions, will not have to change to better accommodate the realities of the Ways of First Peoples

“We” will change “you” but “we” will not change, nor should we be expected to change.

The reality is that Australia is the long established home of First Peoples, and that non-indigenous Australians have delayed accepting the challenge of adjusting to that fact for over two centuries.

This has caused immense suffering for First Peoples on nearly all levels, and reduced both the quality and duration of their lives.

European/Western acts of ongoing ethnocide have greatly diminished the opportunities for First Peoples’ quiet enjoyment of life – as lived according to the world views, values and cosmologies which life has provided them with.

Ending ethnocide against Australia’s First Peoples must be a fundamental objective in the debate about human rights in Australia.

Just as ethnocide begins ‘at home’ so too must it end ‘at home’.

All of us people who live in Australia – and call it ‘home’ – need to ensure that the introduced forms of practice and representation, from the Australian Constitution and Parliament at the macro scale and to our own sense of who we are at the micro scale, are refashioned in order to end the ongoing ethnocide against this country’s First Peoples.