Sunday, October 21, 2007

Rapid Creek Revival

Rapid Creek Revival

So much fun! Heaps of people turned up to the Rapid Creek shops on Saturday to enjoy a full day of entertainment and community involvement. I imagine that this event was called a revival because about two or three years ago the center was in a state of decline. There was a fair bit of vandalism around the area, very few people came to shop here because there is a much bigger shopping mall not far down the road. Sometime along the way the place was re-painted and started to be re-populated with community organizations and service bodies. Now it seems the whole center is being used again. The New Environment Hub is located in the shopping center and brings together various lobby groups, there is 'Greenies' the organic food store, Napcan, Down's Syndrome association, Mat Bonson MP's office, Asian food stores, Art space and framing shop, and heaps of other community based services that I can't remember now.
At the Revival there was heaps of stuff for kids to do and most of it free. Kids were running around all over the place, painting, drawing playing games and generally having a ball! The breezeway was full of stalls and people were deeply engaged in the community building event. For me this was the first opportunity I've had to check out some of the organizations whose stores are always closed by the time I knock off work. The day was a huge success thanks to a very determined and civic minded organizer and of course all the people who came together to create a very special atmosphere.

At 4:30 I peddled off to the Casuarina coastal reserve Landcare anniversary! We all met down on the Cnr of Tiwi Gardens Rd and Rocklands. Met some very nice people and saw how effective their land management and rehabilitation program has been. These landcare groups are essential to our open spaces being maintained and kept free of weeds! The local park ranger payed tribute to their work and confessed that Parks and Wildlife would struggle to manage these spaces without their help. We wandered down to a rehab area at the Freebeach which was growing very successfully. Too bad I had to leave before the BBQ... Thanks Guys!

Protest at Mindil

where da love?
The question of the Millennium

After racing home I stripped out of my sweat drenched shirt (It's getting pretty humid these days), chucked on my black T-shirt and we all headed to Mindil beach to protest against the Federal Government's obviously racist intervention into Indigenous communities.

It may seem a bit naive and presumptuous that a bunch of mostly non-indigenous city folk should be protesting against actions that are supposed to improve the lives of aboriginal people in communities most of us have never been to. How could we possibly understand what these people need? How dare we stand against an intervention that could protect the lives and welfare of innocent children from the most deplorable treatment? Well these may be valid arguments. But as far as I can see the Governments attitude toward aboriginal people has been heavy handed and insensitive.
As an Australian citizen I am particularly concerned when I see legislation created that, with the stroke of a pen, negates rights that took so long to establish. After such a long time of neglect and dysfunction I am suspicious of this military style invasion into indigenous communities. As if they will be able to drive the problem out by force. Considering the violent history between Indigenous and Balanda people in this country I can only imagine this will further feelings of alienation and lack of respect for Indigenous peoples rights. The distinct lack of community consultation only proves the governments lack of good will towards the people they are supposed to be helping.
What has astounded me even more than the Federal Government's dubious approach to save the children, was the response within the NT! Here is where I have truly noticed racist remarks and attitudes amongst our so called leaders! Immediately after the federal Government attempted to reduce the flow of alcohol into indigenous communities the minister responsible for alcohol in the NT Mr Chris Burns took up the cause of demanding exemptions for non indigenous people entering aboriginal land! Rather than recognizing and addressing the issue of excessive alcohol consumption he chose to demand what could only be described as racially discriminatory amendments to the legislation! Surely non-indigenous Territorians and visitors are capable of refraining from drinking while they are visiting these areas! Instead of supporting indigenous communities and creating laws that apply to all people on Aboriginal land our leaders demainded exemptions that would divide Territorians along racial lines! The only premise being that the non indigenous people should not be inconvenienced in any way for the sake of indigenous communities! To add insult to injury a group of prominent CLP members even took a cruise out to the Tiwi Islands where they anchored somewhere off the coast and had a little party which included the consumption of alcohol in very close proximity to a prohibited area! Why would they do this? If this was not a deliberate act of malice against the indigenous people of the area then it was a perfect example of the complete contempt and insensitivity these people have FOR their fellow citizens!

So! I must ask the question, and with the greatest sincerity and urgency! WHERE IS THE LOVE?

When we arrived a pretty large group had already assembled and ready to take the march to the shores of Mindil beach, traditional meeting and business place of Larakia People and their neighbors. A fitting site to make a stand against an out of touch government's racist policies!

Protesters gather at the market
The crowd gathers

A banner at the beach
Can we say we've really tried to help if so many recommendations are ignored?


Leighton Cooke said...

I like the photo collage.

David J said...

It's a Picasa trick. They were really crappy photos from my mobile phone so could only possibly look good if I messed them around.

Leighton Cooke said...

Picasa eh! Never knew that app could do this. Must try it out.