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Australia’s Hidden History

Other | Tuesday 7th February 2017 | Zoe

John Pilger’s documentary Utopia unearths the sobering truth about the treatment of indigenous Australians in their country.

This film covers the colonisation of the country and the endeavour to stamp out the aboriginal culture in Australia. Black Australians face persecution and racism on every level, displayed in this heart wrenching biopic.

Utopia exposes the harsh living conditions that these people endure. Such as thirty-two people living in one house condemned for asbestos, with three to four children sleeping on a single bed mattress. Many native communities struggle, living with no basic utilities, no public transportation and no steady health care. They suffer from blindness by trachoma and preventable deafness caused by cockroaches living inside their ears.

Pilger goes on to interview government officials that to promise help but the lack of assistance and support is bewildering and reprehensible. A smear campaign was taken out against the natives; the government stating that they were hosting an “intervention” to protect native children from abuse by sending in the army. In truth the aborigines lived on land that was rich with uranium and other precious soils. This area became the new mining frontier for Australia.

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The colonisation of the natives hits atrocious levels, creating a ‘stolen generation’ where children were taken from their families, under false pretences, to be assimilated. In the hopes of wiping out the culture and traditional practices of aboriginal Australians. This practice of removing children from aboriginal families, sometimes hours after birth is still occurring.

The film shows Rottnest Island, an isolated Prison in 1838, where thousands of indigenous men and boys were tortured and killed. The structure was a concentration camp not mentioned in the history of the island, and now remodelled into a hotel.

John Pilger’s work demonstrates that even in the 21st century, people are being subjected to living conditions similar to 19th century England, and ignored by the government and public. Pilger reinforces this point by interviewing random Australians on Australia Day. Exposing the public’s bias and ignorance to the struggles of these native communities, some choosing to believe that they want to live in these debasing conditions.

To the aboriginals, Australia is an apartheid state lacking the blatant label. 

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