Australia Day (January 26): solidarity campaign in Berlin
Aboriginal people mourn and protest on Australia Day (Press Release)
On occasion of the official National Day of Australia on Thursday (January 26), there will also be a solidarity and protest campaign against the festivities of “Australia Day” in Berlin: Supported by the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), the Berlin Aboriginal Solidarity Network will meet at the Brandenburg Gate from 10.30 am to 12.30 to draw attention to the fact that many Aboriginal people are mourning on this day. On January 26, 1788, the first ship with convicts from the United Kingdom reached the continent, and the cultural destruction of their communities by the European colonizers began. Many aboriginal people refer to this day as “Invasion Day” or “Survival Day”. Activists are calling for a new national holiday for all Australians – the indigenous and the non-indigenous.
“The seafarers from Europe robbed the Aboriginal people of their sovereignty and their country, destroyed their culture, brought them death and suffering, and founded their state on stolen land –illegally,” said Yvonne Bangert, the STP’s expert on questions regarding indigenous peoples. “The original inhabitants of the continent are complaining that ‘white Australia’ does not acknowledge the crimes of colonial history and the injustice of the present, thus refusing to come to terms with its own history.” Regarding the colonial history of their country, many of the aboriginal people – who lost their identity and were culturally uprooted – would welcome a remembrance culture similar to Germany’s coming to terms with the Third Reich.
“The brutal colonization of Australia still has consequences today,” Bangert emphasized. “The life expectancy of aboriginal people is still 15 years less than for the non-indigenous Australians. Discrimination and racism are part of everyday life and apartheid is a bitter reality in the northern part of the continent, due to specific laws for aboriginal people. The judicial system treats them unjustly, and more and more are being locked up in prison. In consequence, the number of aboriginal people who die in custody has been dramatically high for years.”
ATTENTION EDITORS: In Berlin, Roxley Foley, a Gumbaynggirr activist from Adelaide and guardian of the sacred fire of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, will light a holy fire on the Pariser Platz. In addition, he and his fellow Berliners will invite passers-by and interested parties to talk. The action will take place as part of the Invasion Day program of the Aboriginal protest organization FIRE (Fighting in Resistance Equally), which has called for demonstrations in all major cities in Australia.