13 June, 2009

"Aboriginal 'cooked' in back of police van"

"The family of a Western Australian Aboriginal elder who died from heatstroke after being transported in a prison van is considering a civil lawsuit. In January last year, Mr Ward was transported hundreds of kilometres across the Goldfields in 40 degree-plus heat in a van that had faulty air conditioning. Mr Ward spent four hours in the searing heat and suffered third-degree burns where his body touched the hot metal floor. WA Coroner Alastair Hope found Mr Ward was effectively cooked to death during the trip."

Can you believe this article? I mean, I understand what it is saying, but can you believe it? Can you believe that a man was first, cooked to death, and second, that the biggest punishment offered was a suspension of the guards driving the car?!

Some times I think Australia is starting to make a little progress in our acceptance and treatment of indigenous people. And then I read an article like this and I am confronted with the reality, that for many racist Australians, the indigenous people of this land are treated worse than animals.

We must take our advocacy role seriously. And we need to not only speak out on injustice, but actively reverse injustice. Who among us is going to start making a difference? Who is going to actively correct racism in Australia? Who is going to empower the indigenous community to demand more than compensation, but to demand justice?

I hope it will be you.

Gen

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