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An aboriginal victory
by Thanos Kalamidas
2007-01-07 11:15:29
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It always makes me happy reading on the news something like the following: An aboriginal tribe in Australia has won joint control of world heritage-listed rainforests in a major land rights claim. The deal covers 6,000 square kilometers in New South Wales State.

This agreement came after a decade of talks and legal arguments between the Githabul people and the state. I don’t want to provoke the Australian people but really what was the argument? We bought this land while holding a rifle to their head and then gave them a couple of bottles of gin and cheap shiny rocks? All that because they had big plans for the area, like breeding crocodile dundees?

It’s very important for people to understand that they are part of the environment. The environment consists from its flora and fauna; and humanity is part of it just like the kangaroos and the desert rats. They know how to protect each other and through the chain of life help the environment improve and prosper. But, and this but is huge, these humans must be the humans that grew in this environment and who are the best to preserve the Australian environment from the ones who worship it. In this case, it is the aboriginal population.

The same counts with South America, with Peru and Chile, the same goes with North America. Unfortunately North America, with the exception of Canada, has led native Indians to nearly extinction seen only in Hollywood and circuses. Of course, there are institutes, museums and people who try to preserve the traditions and the language but all that is secondary nature. In Australia the aboriginals are a breathing and active community, part of the society and are strongly following their traditional ways. Ways that led them through the centuries far before the Europeans stepped upon their land.

Because it was their land and still is - just like the native Indians in America - they never thought that the boats with the few hundred of immigrants were just the scouts for thousands more to follow. Worst of all, they could never have imagined that the industrial human had changed into an animal that only recognized the power of arms. This is something history has seen often, these people who welcomed the strangers but were often led to slavery or non-existence.

This is why I’m glad for this little victory of the aboriginals in Australia and I was also happy to see justice, even though it is a little late and faced all the legal tricks, prevail. The ruling not only protects the indigenous rights, but also hands the protection of the environment and its natural habitats back to its rightful protectors. Let’s just hope that others will follow.

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