First, two of my posts here seem to have disappeared somewhere along the way, so I’ll try to make up for that later.

A lot of my experience here so far has been very interesting, funny and different from Sweden. I’ve just read about the riots in Stockholm where young people have burned cars and attacked the police, firefighters and ambulances. As often when these things happen in the suburbs of bigger cities, attention is pointed towards immigrants as the source of violence and chaos. This leads as always to “reactions” on facebook, and a friend of mine ‘shared’ a statement supposedly from Julia Gillard,

“Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented…”

Taking the ‘Australian Indigenous Worldview’ class it always stings me in the eye when Australian politicians claim that white people and Christianity founded Australia. In a sense, yes they did, there were no such thing as ‘Australia’ before white people settled here. I’m not really sure where I want to come with this, however, the experiences I have had with the Indigenous people of Australia have so far been limited to two incidents except from interaction with some in the classroom.

First time was quite some weeks ago when I talked to a girl when I was waiting for the bus. She was very upset and wanted to borrow my phone to call the police because her boyfriend had slapped her in the face. She looked alright, but I gave her my phone. After a while some police showed up in a van. It was obvious to them that she had been sniffing glue and did not really take her seriously. Anyway, they took her into their van and drove away after some discussions. The whole incident made me feel really uncomfortable because of the way the police treated this girl. It is hard to describe why, but it felt that they regarded her as an infant, someone that could not take care of herself.

The second one happened yesterday when I was walking home from the bus. I live in a rough area of Townsville so I’m very aware of the situation here. People are screaming at night and alcohol is involved in a high degree together with poverty. Anyway, yesterday I meet a guy wanted a cigarette from me, which I could not give him because I don’t smoke. Then he wanted to borrow my phone to call a taxi (I was talking to a friend on the phone), when I declined also this, he got upset and called me some stuff not appropriate to write down in this blog. I walked home, and did not think about it until just now. If it would not have been for me taking the class on Australian Indigenous Worldviews, I might have been frightened, angry or judgmental about this incident. Now I know the background of why the situation here is the way it is. There is a history behind all this that have shaped the community, it is not an excuse for bad behavior, but an explanation. Therefore I am not afraid, I do not think degrading thoughts about the Aborigines, and I do not let myself get stuck in the belief that this is a problem caused by the Aboriginal culture, but of multiple reasons that should not be generalized.

This also leads me back to the riots going on at night in Stockholm. It is of course correct to condemn these actions, I totally agree on that. But after the smoke is gone, and after the media coverage has disappeared, then what will happen? If there is a chance for the lesson to be learned, we have to understand why this occurred and be able to make changes on the basis of the real problem and not only fight the symptoms.

(Long text, and probably a bit disorganized, but hope the message gets through)

Cheers, John


About johnbergergronros

Spending one semester at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia.
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