In solidarity with First Nations: An interview with the Anticolonial Asian Alliance

Author:Mr Paul Gregoire
Profession:Sydney Criminal Lawyers

Something is rotten in the state of Australia. And it's a long-term collective denial that Anglo-Australians have lived by, which started when the first British ships arrived and has subsequently been passed down through the generations.

It's the belief in terra nullius: that the continent was vacant when Britain began its takeover. This legal fiction was asserted as the justification for the requisition. Yet, the issue was already around 500 First Nations established on this island in the late eighteenth century.

The British were dab hands at colonising the lands of other people. These gentrified, tea-drinking colonialists were well-versed in moving into territories and brutalising, enslaving, incarcerating and killing the original inhabitants.

And this is exactly what was done in this country. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land was stolen, while it was simultaneously claimed that First Nations people didn't exist. And as the decades ticked over, Anglos taught that the poverty and criminalisation of First Peoples was their own fault.

For the crime of existing

Three weeks ago, two armed police entered the house of Warlpiri teenager Kumanjayi Walker and allegedly gunned the unarmed 19-year-old down. One police officer has been charged with murder, which is the first time an officer has ever received such a charge in relation to an Aboriginal person.

This is the same violence that's marked the settler colonial society since its inception. Kumanjayi's death in the remote Aboriginal community of Yuendumu is no different from those who were killed in the first days of the occupation.

Yuendumu elders have called on white authorities to stop patrolling their town with guns. But, Australian authorities have responded by sending in special police counterterrorism units to Central Desert communities.

Meanwhile, the land's First Peoples have conserved for tens of hundreds of years are burning, while in some parts, the water has run completely dry. And the people who hold the knowledge as to how to preserve these ecosystems, are either ignored or locked away in prison.

The white Australia problem

In so-called Australia, Anglocentric racism is in no way simply confined to Indigenous people. Indeed, within white culture there's the concept of "it's their turn", which means when new groups of migrants come to this continent, it's somehow legitimate to subject them to racial abuse.

Of late, we've witnessed ongoing Islamophobic violence, which at its most extreme saw an Australian shoot dozens of Muslim worshipers in Christchurch. But prior to this, various Asian communities bore the brunt of the illogical hatred that good old "Aussies" have bred into them.

These days, a group called the Anticolonial Asian Alliance (AAA) has formed in solidarity...

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