Call for Solidarity with Aboriginal People in the Northern Territory

24 10 2007

Stop the Invasion!

International Day of Action, November 17th

In June this year, the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard,
announced that there would be a ‘National Emergency Response’ to
combat child abuse in Aboriginal communities in the Northern
Territory. The measures announced included the quarantining of half of
all welfare payments, the abolition of the Community Development
Employment Program, the appointment of managers for 73 prescribed
communities, compulsory sexual health examinations of children, and
the abolition of the permit system, amongst other things.

These measures are a violation of human rights, and is obviously
racist and authoritarian. The passage of the Emergency Response
legislation is dependent on the suspension of the Racial
Discrimination Act, and the Northern Territory Native Title Act.
Federal police and the military have been sent into the NT to enforce
these measures.

Aboriginal people that work through the Community Development
Employment Program (CDEP) manage their own wages and money.
Abolishing CDEP will push people onto welfare and the welfare income
management system that allows for quarantining and tight control of
how people’s money is spent. Many people running businesses on CDEP in
remote outstations are already being forced to move into larger
regional towns. The extraordinary measures give the Federal Government
power to seize lands and property without compensation. The owners of
those lands and properties have no right of appeal. Lands will be
leased for five years, but the government has plans to extend these
measures for 99 years. It is entirely up to ministerial discretion
whether rent is paid on those lands or not.

The Federal Government has appointed non-Indigenous business managers
to the ‘prescribed’ communities.  These managers have the power to
decide who lives in a community and who must leave; they can observe
any meeting of an organisation working at the community, they can
change any local programme. Many Aboriginal communities consider these
measures, often being administered by under-prepared military
personnel, as an invasion rather than an intervention.

These measures return Aboriginal people to the days of mission
stations, where life was tightly controlled by authoritarian managers.
It is a return to times of colonial control on Aboriginal life, and
the complete absence of any autonomy or self-determination. The
removal of basic property rights as enjoyed by all other Australians,
with the abolition of the permit system, is a gross violation of human
rights. Even the Northern Territory police oppose this measure, for
the likely adverse effect it will have on crime.

Some $570 million is being spent on these measures. Half of that money
will be spent on the salaries of 700 new bureaucratic positions
created to regulate this intervention. $88 million will be spent on
measures to control the incomes of Aboriginal people on any government
payment (including aged pensions and veterans payments).

This is an insult to the hard work of Aboriginal people who have been
campaigning for basic services in remote communities. Roads, schools,
health care, housing and social services are desperately needed by
these communities. It is estimated that the housing backlog alone for
Northern Territory Aboriginal communities is half a billion dollars.
Moreover, with the publication of the Closing the Gap report by Oxfam
earlier this year, it has been shown that Indigenous life expectancy
is 17 years below that of non-Indigenous life expectancy.

A week and a half ago, the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard,
announced the Federal election for November 24th.

This came shortly after Australia voted against the UN Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous peoples (along with Canada, New Zealand and
the USA).

It is time to stand up for justice for Indigenous peoples everywhere,
to demand either a change of policy, or a change of government!

One week before the Australian Federal election, on November 17th,
various groups across Australia will be taking action to show
opposition to the Federal government’s intervention into the Northern
Territory. We hope that those outside Australia will join us in
calling for an end to this government, an end to racist, colonialist
policies towards Indigenous people, and support for the strong
self-determination that Indigenous people demonstrate every day.

With allegations that the Australian Federal government is
manipulating international media about the intervention, it is vitally
important that information about the intervention and views of
Indigenous people in the Northern Territory are widely disseminated
through social justice networks. Please use your community and
activist media to promote the interests of Indigenous Australians, and
Indigenous people worldwide!

Learn more:

National Aboriginal Alliance: http://www.nationalaboriginalalliance.org/
Combined Aboriginal Organisations of the Northern Territory –
alternative to the government’s Emergency Response:
http://www.snaicc.asn.au/news/documents/CAOreport8july.pdf
Women for Wik: http://www.womenforwik.org/
Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation: http://www.antar.org.au/
Oxfam: http://www.oxfam.org.au/world/pacific/australia/
Koori Mail: http://www.koorimail.com/

Things you can do:

1. Organise a protest outside the Australian Consulate in your nearest
city. Make it clear that the Howard government’s shameful opportunism
on human rights is gathering international criticism.
2. Donate to the National Aboriginal Alliance. Find out more on their
website, here: http://www.nationalaboriginalalliance.org/
3. Spread the news of this horrendous violation of human rights to as
many people as possible. Write an article about it, post to your blog
about it, send the news to your friends via email. Encourage your
friends to speak out about it as well.
4. If you are part of a political organisation, collective, or group,
please send your words of solidarity and support to the National
Aboriginal Alliance. Send messages of solidarity to: secretariat at
nationalaboriginalalliance dot org.
5. Write letters to Mal Brough, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs,
or John Howard. You can find guidelines here:
http://www.antar.org.au/action/current_actions/

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NEW!: “NO!” Study Guide

14 10 2007

Unveiling the Silence: NO! The Rape Documentary Study Guide

Created by Salamishah Tillet, Ph.D. and Rachel Afi Quinn

With the Creative and Editorial Direction of Aishah Shahidah Simmons, Producer, Writer, and Director of NO!The Rape Documentary

Graphic Design by Kavita Rajanna & NO! Logo Design by Traci McKindra

Funded by the Ford Foundation

NO! The Rape Documentary Study Guide  (available as for free as a downloadable pdf in its entirety and in sections; and for purchase)

A tool for educators and workshop facilitators. This study guide may be used within a workshop, class session, or semester-long course. You may decide to screen the documentary film in its entirety or use segments integrated into a broader course addressing race, gender, and sexuality. Viewing the film in segments allows for discussion related to themed sections. You may choose to work through the study guide chapter by chapter, or use it as a jumping off point for student-led exercises or longer activities.

A tool for everyone. Our hope is that this study guide will be used as a companion to the film NO! by all individuals who are taking action in their communities to educate themselves and each other about rape and sexual assault. The film will get conversations going in your communities and on your campuses. You might host a screening of the film as a one-time event in your dorm, classroom, church, mosque, rape crisis center, shelter, correctional facility, living room, or in a community space, and facilitate a group discussion immediately following the screening or in the days following.

This 100-page guide includes:

• Producer/Director Statement

• Summaries of the different DVD chapters of NO! The Rape Documentary

• Excerpts from the transcribed testimonies of rape survivors and quotes from the documentary to spark discussion

• Myths and facts about rape and sexual assault so participants in discussions have relevant information regarding the truth about sexual violence and its impact

• A glossary of terms useful for talking about sexual assault in the African-American community

• Discussion questions about the subject of sexual assault to promote positive and informative conversations for participants

• Worksheets and handouts for participants to use to reflect on what they think they know about rape and sexual violence in their communities

• Additional essays on the role of religion in violence against women and the role of dance in healing sexual violence

• Production stills from the documentary.

• A bibliography of books, journals and articles on sexual violence

• A detailed listing of national organizations that address all forms of sexual violence

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD


http://www.NOtheRapeDocumentary.org
http://www.myspace.com/afrolez

“A Song for New Orleans” featuring Monica Dillon
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14097457

Check out the most recent media coverage on Aishah and NO! (The Rape Documentary) http://www.notherapedocumentary.org/reviews_press.html

“I have seen a lot of documentaries about sexual violence in my 15 years as a film programmer, and ‘NO!’ is by far the most well made, riveting, and poignant… The strength of ‘NO!’ in reaching its viewers is significant, it’s scope and ability to compel are astounding- all women can relate to this film.”
KJ Mohr, Film & Media Arts Programmer, National Museum of Women in the Arts

“If the Black community in the Americas and in the world would heal itself, it must complete the work [NO!] begins.”
Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author, The Color Purple