Thursday, January 31, 2008

An old Movie Rabbit-Proof Fence

photo of Rabbit-Proof Fence, Tianna Sansbury Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) - Tianna Sansbury

Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury and Laura Monagan

Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) A fourteen year-old Aborigine girl escapes with her sister and cousin from a 1930s Australian government camp intended to forcibly assimilate them into White society. [Dir: Phillip Noyce/ Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury, Laura Monaghan/ 94min/ Adventure-Drama/ Government as Bigot, Government vs. Native Peoples]

One of the things that so often makes government cruel is physical distance. The people who create law and the bureaucrats who interpret it are in a faraway place, well-defended against troublesome protest and remote enough not to see and feel its full effects. That's the only way to understand the actions portrayed here of A.O. Neville, then "Chief Protector of Aborigines" in 1930s Western Australia, who ordered the roundup (i.e., kidnapping) of all half-caste girls (girls of half Aboriginal and half White descent) from their Aboriginal families for mandatory education into the ways of White society, leading to eventual low-level employment as domestic servants.

Neville was simply enforcing the "Aborigines Act," a law designed with the happy intention of "salvaging" half-caste girls from Aboriginal life and integrating them to the degree possible into the modern world. So far away, Neville likely did not see such girls being ripped from their weeping mother's arms, or hear the unending wail of a parent's loss, or see the huddled, terrified girls carried away by train.

That is still going on today in a quiet way, by helpful people in their white World of religion or  not ....... to help make a Poor Stupid Native more white ..... just like them? Now who is the Poor and Stupid one?

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