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20 January 2014

Another dangerous fib about our past

Our racial resentment industry really is out of control:

Melbourne City Council will build a memorial to two Aborigines who in 1842 were the first people executed in Melbourne.

On this day, January 20, in 1842, 5000 Melbourne citizens watched as Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner were hanged for the murder of two whale hunters while resisting white settlement.

Resisting while settlement or simply stealing and killing?

At a time of violence between European settlers and indigenous people, the Protector of Aborigines, George Robinson, brought Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner and 14 other native Tasmanian Aborigines to Melbourne in 1839 as intermediaries.

In 1841 Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner and three indigenous women stole guns, and in a six week, guerilla-style campaign against authorities in the Dandenongs and the Mornington Peninsula, burnt and stole from houses and killed two whalers.

So the settlement they were 'resisting' was not even of their own lands. And note the use of the term 'guerilla-style', freighted with political meaning. By this measure Ned Kelly and every other bushranger ran 'guerilla-style' campaigns.

A buoyant Councillor Cathy Oke ... said Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner were 'freedom fighters' whose crimes should be taken in context at the time that this occurred. It's a time in Melbourne when the tensions between whites and the traditional owners, or Aboriginal people, was obviously quite heightened, she said.

Oke is plain foolish and misleading. Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner were in no sense tradtional owners of these lands. Indeed, if anyone in these events were traditional owners of the land on which they operated they are the eight Aboriginal trackers who helped to catch them. Nor is there evidence that Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner were fighting for freedom.

And there is this consideration. George Orwell, a Leftist, in writing about conservative Rudyard Kipling, conceded this about the Okes of his own generation:

One reason for Kipling's power ... [was] his sense of responsibility, which made it possible for him to have a world-view. He identified himself with the ruling power and not with the opposition. In a gifted writer this seems to us strange and even disgusting, but it did have the advantage of giving Kipling a certain grip on reality. The ruling power is always faced with the question, In such and such circumstances, what would you do?, whereas the opposition is not obliged to take responsibility or make any real decisions. Where it is a permanent and pensioned opposition, as in England, the quality of its thought deteriorates accordingly.

In this case, too, the quality of the Left's thought has deteriorated for the same reason - the refusal to take responsibility and answer the question In such and such circumstances, what would you do?.

We should imagine Oke as the judge presiding in the case of Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner, faced with two Tasmanian Aborigines in Victoria who'd murdered two civilians, wounded five others and burned down stations. Could she seriously have declared the two Tasmanians freedom fighters and acquitted them? What would have been the consequences, in terms of anarchy and bloodshed?

This is a case of Leftists re-imagining our history without a thought for the real-life choices faced at the time by those who were there. It is lazy and intellectually dishonest. Worse, it feeds the racial resentment industry, leading not to reconciliation but its opposite.

Shame on Lord Mayor Robert Doyle for going along with this destructive and dishonest farce. Power above principle, I guess.

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