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The Forum > Article Comments > Silent tears > Comments

Silent tears : Comments

By Stephen Hagan, published 22/10/2007

Auntie Rhonda tells her story and that of four generations in her family - all of them from the 'stolen generation'.

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"its conclusion was an inevitability that only Aboriginal people understand. It is Aboriginal knowledge (intuition of knowing of a far-a-way illness and individual movements) that I didnít really expect students to understand and is something I will discuss with them in a later class."

I had to stop reading after this.

A sob story based upon "oral history" (i.e., what someone makes up), then pure racism about the difference between the thought patterns of Aboriginals and non--Aboriginals.

This guy teaches at a university? It's worse than I thought.

When is Australia going to stand up and say, "enough of this nonsense!"?
Posted by lizz-the-yank, Monday, 22 October 2007 8:56:23 AM
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lizz-the-yank

I will apologise for your arrogance and insensitivity to Stephen Hagan and Auntie Rhonda on behalf of those white Australians whose hearts and minds are touched by this amazing story.

Your red-neck comments - after not even having the courtesy of finishing the article or having the intellectual capacity to listen to another point-of-view - are crude, and sadly typical of the inability of some Australians to reach out to understand the Stolen Generation.

When even John Howard has very belatedly started to rethink his old position, it's tragic that people like you can't get your blood running from your brain to your heart.

Thank you Stephen for sharing Auntie Rhonda's story with us. And to your student for having the wit to think of inviting her to the presentation. Please pass on my thoughts to both of them.
Posted by FrankGol, Monday, 22 October 2007 12:25:15 PM
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Nice article, Stephen.

I wouldn't pay too much attention to lizz-the-yank, who appears to be an American racist with a strange fixation on Australian Aboriginal people - about whom her entire paltry knowledge seems to be derived from the Internet.
Posted by CJ Morgan, Monday, 22 October 2007 12:52:20 PM
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I am 52 years old and grew up in an era when history was sanitised and whitened (I expect it always will be to a point). At school we were indoctrinated and programmed with a very white history and a principal who pressed loudly that all indigenous people were dirty, lazy, no-gooders, incapable of adjusting to civilization while at home it was re-inforced by parents who were ill-informed as products in turn of their parents and education. Shamefully, I was 40 years old before I read some factual histories and began to understand the lifestyle, traditions, ingenuity, bravery and beauty of our indigenous people. As a mother I try to put myself in the place of indigenous mothers and feel the pain they must have felt at having their children torn away or of a child deprived of family and suffering the deprivations, dispossession and indignities forced upon them. Worse still I cannot fathom nor comprehend European women allowing the unjust practices and mistreatment of other women and children nor justifying it because of the pigment of oneís skin. I canít help but wonder would I have had the courage to speak out had I lived 200 years ago Ė I hope I would have. Thank you for sharing this incredible story.
Posted by Stanners, Monday, 22 October 2007 12:52:38 PM
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I think one of the things that White Australia (meaning, "everyone else not indigenous") has struggled with is that most of the programs to establish missions and to place children into white homes and institutions, were actually well intentioned. But we didnt understand the potential consequences at the time. One of the things that grates a little is the accusation of racism because "we" put these kids into institutions, but "we did the same with white kids as well. We still struggle today with how to provide adequate services to the indigenous, whilst at the same time respecting their cultures, but requiring enough input from them to maintain their own sense of dignity. How to you bring a 40,000 yo culture into the now 21st century so that they have equality of opportunity, but not impinge on cultural grounds at the same time? I dont think you can. Perhaps the best we can hope for is to westernise all of the indigenous population, whilst preserving as much of their culture as we can??
Posted by Country Gal, Monday, 22 October 2007 12:56:46 PM
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Country Gal's comments on placing children in institutions are interesting. While these days, we know that orphanages are not where we want children to be placed because of the horrific abuse and injustices done in them and none of us would want to see our own children in them, we still fork out money by the millions to place Ugandan and other children (usually orphaned by HIV/Aids) into them. Culturally they are far better off in their own villages being cared by relatives as they don't lose their rights to family land and financially it is far more astute to support a child in this context by providing money for education, health, vocational training etc. Yet we are content to repeat our same old mistakes and impose our culture on others.
Posted by Stanners, Monday, 22 October 2007 1:22:00 PM
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