I can’t think of much to say about the fact that the Senate has passed the legislation permitting the ‘intervention’ in the Northern Territory. It sickens and angers me, and I feel like I can’t capture the multitude of ways it is wrong in any way adequately, least of all in words.
Still. How can it be that political dialogue in this country has reached the point that the moment when indigenous land rights are being utterly undermined, the only response the discursive space of the media will permit is that it is ‘misguided’. Misguided? Yes, if you believe that child sex abuse is actually the target. If not, it’s a precision missile. A racist—oh, no, sorry, so long as *whites* are saying it’s for their benefit, it escapes (the legality) of that label because what *whites* intend is all that is—precision missile.
Tangentially, but relatedly, I was deeply grateful to a man I thought I’d never be grateful to, yesterday: Cameron Stewart took me for the law course that nearly killed me—property law which was seriously the most tediously boring course I’ve done (and which makes me sad, now, because property’s so fascinating!) But at the seminar [pdf] I attended yesterday, in response to Catherine Waldby’s great paper on the commercialisation of biomaterials, Stewart roundly and—this was part of what astonished me, actually—passionately lambasted the government and the courts for their failure to rethink, to reconsider, to reorganise our conception of property, and worse, to fail to recognise the injustices that are being committed in the name of that failure. He spoke at length about the conservatism of Mabo, and the way that that has permitted the gradual undermining of native title; and he decried the astonishing lack of public interrogation of this latest erasure. The conversation that was prompted I’ll post some stuff on later, because it too was interesting, but his swift demonstration of the ways that the rights of indigenous people, of ‘donors’ of organs to biotech companies, and so on are undermined in the name of a deeply conservative notion of property (that conservatism a substantial disavowal of its rather fluid history, I might add!) was inspired and inspiring. I had feared that the day would pass without reference to indigenous rights at all, and this seemed wrong. Then I got home last night, and discovered what had transpired…
… and grief. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. My heart hurts; and the grief and suffering of those involved slips swiftly beyond my imagining.