Thursday, November 01, 2012

John Pilger - The Secret Country (1986)

A TV documentary adaptation by John Pilger, The Secret Country is first a disturbing account of the genocide that took place in Australia under colonial settlement. It then details the struggle and successes of the Aboriginal people of Australia from the 1970s to the 80s. I finished high school in rural Queensland the year this program was broadcast. I read Pilger's book A Secret Country when I started university in the late 1980s and it was a total revelation for me. As Pilger states in this program, there was the official version of events that were taught in school, and then there was the truth. I was shocked by this truth and it has effected my whole life since I learned of it. Today things have continued to change for indigenous Australians and the majority community in Australia. Since this program was made we have had Mabo, The Bringing them Home Report, Little Children are Sacred and the Intervention. The attitude towards Aboriginal people in Australia by the wider community has shifted, for the better I am tempted to say. However, there remains no elected collective body for decision making for Aboriginal peoples (ATSIC was abolished in 2005) and health, education and economic conditions for Aborigines remain extremely poor in many parts of the country. Land disputes are still common and Aboriginal incarceration is totally disproportionate. Deaths in police custody of Aboriginal people are regular. Australia must still come to terms with its horrific colonial past and address the inequality and injustices of the present time.

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