louis

06 Sep 2007 1,260 views
 
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photoblog image The Magic Prison
The Magic Prison|

The Magic Prison

This picture is of an one inch high statue of an Aboriginal child that is in my house. The lattice covering the picture is a filter I have found. With certain monitor screens an optical illusion becomes active - the crosspoints of the lattice start flashing white.

This posting focus on the plight of Aboriginal children.

An extract from an article in the NY Times of 24 August 2007 - the full article can be found on www.nytimes.com/2007/08/24/world/asia/24outback.html

Now the government has decided to address the ills, but critics say it is doing so in the paternalistic fashion it was supposed to have discarded decades ago. On Aug. 17, Parliament completed approval of legislation that, among other measures, requires welfare recipients to spend half their income on food, fines them if their children do not attend school, bans alcohol and pornography in Aboriginal areas in the Northern Territory and clears the way for the government to purchase five-year leases on Aboriginal town land.

The catalyst for the legislation was a government report that uncovered widespread sexual abuse and neglect of children in indigenous Australian communities. But critics note that the problems the legislation is intended to address are not unique to indigenous communities and argue that the fact that it applies only to Aboriginal communities makes it racist.

Aboriginal leaders have made similar accusations in the past. Relations were poisoned by a policy formally abandoned in 1969 in which Aboriginal children, the so-called stolen generation, were forcibly taken from their parents in an effort to assimilate them into white society.

In part because of lingering guilt over those practices, the government has been reluctant to take forceful action about the social problems in indigenous communities.

The shortest Aboriginal web article I could find that provide a good overview of the Aborigine people is at http://www.ebgymhollabrunn.ac.at/projekte/abori.htm  Wiki also have an article.

I think these articles says it all. Especially the one from the NY Times on current happenings. Some of my own comments:

1. It is horrible that children are abused.

2. It is horrible that laws are made to apply to certain communities in a country, especially if they are punitive laws. If these laws are supposed to cure an ill, why does it not apply to other communities with similar issues? We all know about recent revelations from the inner circles of the RC Church. And do tell me that white communities have no child abuse ...

3. Can these laws cure the ill it is supposed to address? A little fact that has receded into the past - the first apartheid laws in SA were touted as laws that will set the scene for separate development. They were supposed to be for the good of the 'backward' communities. Apartheid was launched from this base.

4. These new Aboriginal laws can and will not uplift the children from their current plight. My suspicion is that the intensity of their plight will increase when parents are fined (income decreased) or chucked in jail. And believe me, there will be the overeager administrators of these laws.

5. What I find most horrible is that people appoint themselves as superior to other people. They install themselves on high pedestals.

The only solution ever can be to get down from the high pedestal, reach out a hand of friendship and actively start supporting people on a face to face basis. Apply time, sweat and money to seriously uplift and I am sure that a better chance of success will prevail.

I guess that there will be those who may feel different about the whole situation, but my point is not about who is economical the most astute, opportunistic or whatever. It is about the plight of the children - what hope do they get out of the new laws?

comments (20)

First, excellent image. I can see the optical illusion. Very cool!

In response to your comments: you make a lot of good points, and I particularly agree with #5 and with the idea of reaching out a 'hand of friendship' to others.
Louis: Thanks for the comment and understanding Red Pen
Wow, Louis. An impressive image. It has hit to me and it seems to me of a very special beauty. In addition, visually an effect is created that watching the photo quickly, in each intersection of the grate, appears white points that they move without stopping. An optical illusion! smile
Louis: Yes, this is a special filter that provided the effect. I believe it is the combination of colours that causes the effect.
It pardons, I have read your text after commening out. You have made me put the end hairs! When one is children, any subject is necessary to deal it with greater seriousness.
Louis: First - no issue with reading afterwards. Thank you for the comment and understanding.
  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 6 Sep 2007, 02:05
An outstanding image, Louis, and a very clever title.

I found your accompanying essay on the sad situation of Australian Aboriginal peoples to be very moving and thought-provoking. I applaud your care in trying to present a balanced picture and, especially, in avoiding fatuous "simple solutions".

very fine post, Louis.
Louis: Thank you Ray and thanks for reading so carefully.
  • Kay
  • United States
  • 6 Sep 2007, 02:58
Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention, Louis. I wonder why some people cannot see the full picture...they only choose to see one half of it...and not the consequences their actions cause.
Louis: People tend to fall prey to their own little rules and selfish value sets. In the end you become your own prisoner and can't see beyond your own prison bars. Thanks for your comment Kay.
I like that statue! This is probably the first aboriginal art I have seen. Now I have to go looking for some more smile
Louis: I have a set of three small statues. The mother and two children - this is one of them. The set comes from Australia and depicts aborigines, but I don't know if it was made by aborigines. Anyhow, if you like it, happy hunting and thanks for the comment Martin.
Provoative shot.Thanks for informing us a little on the plight of the aboriginal people.
Louis: Thanks for the comment and appreciation E Etomi
  • shakara
  • Nigeria
  • 6 Sep 2007, 08:04
Top shot sir !!! Wow I see the flashing !!
Louis: Neat hey! Thanks for the comment shakara
  • Ginnie
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 6 Sep 2007, 08:57
My crosspoints, I'm afraid, aren't flashing white, Louis, but there is enough dynamism in this pic to make up for it!

As others have already said, thank you for your sensitivity to this plight and for bringing it to our attention. The "Power of One" comes to mind, as one by one of us does our part to ease the conflict.
Louis: Thanks for the comment Ginnie. I have later added the reply: Although I have lifted out this community here, there are many similar communities worldwide, including Africa and South Africa. The common factor seems to be where no hope and reason for good future vision exists. It results in despondancy and a weak value system.

What hope is there for endangered animal species, world heritage sites and incidently, what kind of value system looks after animals, buildings, eco systems and not other people.

The issue at hand is greater than just local in australia.
Louis, this wonderful photograph and heartfelt commentary is a great way to focus attention on the plight of these `innocents`. Well done. (:o)
Louis: Thank you for the understanding comment Rosalyn
  • Aussie
  • Brisbane Australia
  • 6 Sep 2007, 10:05
Alcohol and petrol sniffing are the major causes of both child abuse and domestic violence among the aboriginal communities.
I do not condone the governments latest attempt, but a solution to the problem has to be found soon, as there are reports of babies being raped and women beaten to death. These are not isolated incidences. In some communities you would not expect to find a female over the age of 10 who had not experienced some form of abuse. Many solutions have been tried over the years with limited success.
Louis: These things happen and it remains horrible. Although I have lifted out this community here, there are many similar communities worldwide, including Africa and South Africa. The common factor seems to be where no hope and reason for good future vision exists. It results in despondancy and a weak value system.

I am sure there are many individual aborigines who don't participate in these horrible practices and have built a good life for themselves. Academics, athletes, etc. They have a future view and reason not to sink in the mire.

I believe that is where the answer lies - to work on sharing a prosperous future (government aid programs?) which can bring hope. That should be the tilling soil of growing positive values, where interpersonal sharing with other communities will be required.

I do believe that any solution where the community is looked down upon or contains mainly punitive measures is bound to fail.

The plight of these children should not be an australian issue only. Facts that I haven't mentioned yet - the biological classification system recognise 5 main racegroups of which the aborigines is one group the australoids. The one article I have linked indicates that at the time when Sydney's settling started there were 750 000 members of this race group and there are now about 200 000. Will we as people be responsible by neglect or whatever happened in the past for the dissapearance of a whole racegroup? What hope is there for endangered animal species, world heritage sites and incidently, what kind of value system looks after animals, buildings, eco systems and not other people.

The issue at hand is greater than just local in australia.

Thanks for your contribution Aussie.
  • Tracy
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 6 Sep 2007, 11:49
Love the shot Louis as mentioned previously its the first aboriginal art I have seen too.
Your info about child abuse is very saddening and makes you wonder what sort of person could do such a sickening act.
Louis: As I have mentioned in one of the replies - Although I have lifted out this community here, there are many similar communities worldwide, including Africa and South Africa. The common factor seems to be where no hope and reason for good future vision exists. It results in despondancy and a weak value system.

I am sure there are many individual aborigines who don't participate in these horrible practices and have built a good life for themselves. Academics, athletes, etc. They have a future view and reason not to sink in the mire.

Thanks for your comment Tracy
  • nev
  • Australia
  • 6 Sep 2007, 14:07
Well you certainly have posted an extremely powerful post Louis. I am not even sure where to begin especially since i was about to quietly go to bed.

Whilst i couldn't get into the new york times article (i did not go to the trouble of trying the tried and true tricks of reading the nytimes archives) i wonder whether the tune of the articles are going to change now that Murdoch has taken over.

I am writing from memory as i cannot the exact facts so a grain of salt is needed. There have been a number of reports into the treatment of aboriginal people and the conditions under which they live. Here are some which i copied from the greens.org site
* Bringing Them Home: Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families (1997);
* The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1991);
* The NT Coroner's (1998, 2002),WA Coroner's (2004) and SA Coroner's (2002, 2005) reports on petrol sniffing related deaths;
* The Gordon inquiry into Family Violence and Child Abuse in WA (2002);
* The HREOC Social Justice Report (2005) into achieving equality of outcomes within a generation;
* The Senate Community Affairs Committee petrol sniffing report (2006); and
* Report on the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 (1996 ’The Evatt Review’).

One of these reports had hundreds of recommendations. The current conservative government which has been in power for 3 terms has failed to act on any of them. in OZ we are about to have an election announced and the gov is not doing well in the polls. Surprise Surprise the government suddenly cares about what is happening to aboriginal children and wants to be a friend of the cause all of a sudden.

I am not forgiving the mistreatment of children in any shape or form. as you say it is happening around the world. genocide has been happening in northern Africa and still the UN refuse to call it genocide.

The problems that face these people are so complex. The aboriginal people have such complex social structure and white influences like alcohol and then petrol when you cannot get alcohol tears away at those complex rules that held the communities together for tens of thousands of years.

I am all for changes to stop children and women being abused. About time. we do need to think about our fellow man more globally and locally. i have to stop typing before i have to start doing bibliographies. i just dont trust a government who chose to
use children as a political pawn in a previous election.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_overboard_affair

very powerful work Louis. well done.
Louis: That wiki article is something else. A political leader playing havoc with voter fears to gain another term. Sounds familiar - I am aware of another current leader (actualy there were two of them, but one stepped down recently) that took their countries to war to ensure re-election.

Sorry for disturbing your bedtime ritual And thanks for your illuminating contrigutio.
I like this very much - I see the optical illusion - Can't explain why but the filter really lifts the pic imho - It's a Likey for me smile
Louis: I am honoured Aksel. Thanks for your comment.
Gah, there is so much I want to say but not enough time to put it together coherently. Canada has many of the same issues with mistreatment of native peoples. And the gasoline sniffing... here it is a problem of the young people themselves, and leads to an unusually high rate of suicide among aboriginal youth in isolated communitites. These are very complicated issues, and I don't know what the solution is, but it won't be solved either by paternalism or by turning our backs and ignoring it.
Louis: Thanks for this comment and contribution Karen. I think your last sentence is a good summary of what's cooking.
  • Magnus
  • Norway
  • 6 Sep 2007, 20:09
Both the picture and the illusion works.
This is a powerful shot Louis
Louis: Thanks for the comment Magnus
interesting shot Louis.
Louis: Thank you ChaCha
Well done for exposing this though the medium of photography. As a fellow SA I think we understand the horror of this abuse. Amazing how similar Aussie's report of what is happening to children and women, in Australia, is to the plight of our woman & children here. You have certainly hit a pressure point.
Louis: Thanks for appreciating and the supportive thoughts Gale
Bravissimo !!
this one is really wonderful !
Louis: Thanks a lot Zebigleb
  • Scarlet
  • Netherlands
  • 12 Sep 2007, 21:48
After just arrived home I was quickly going through my standard 'must see' photoblogs. This photo is all the more amazing because of your essay re this issue. Thank you for posting more then just a photo.
Louis: Thanks Scarlet, sometimes I get caught up in these kind of issues.

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