Archives

Tagged ‘Indigenous‘

Junk Food Journalism: Why Annabel Crabb’s Kitchen Cabinet Is Toxic

New Matilda

October 29, 2015

by Amy  McQuire

 

When Crabb breaks bread with the Morrisons and Macklins of the world she helps further marginalise the people being punished by their policies, writes Amy McQuire.

ABC journalist Annabel Crabb last night began her sickeningly sweet profile of former Immigration Minister and current Treasurer Scott Morrison like this: “People describe Scott Morrison as ambitious, hard-line, even arrogant. But I’ve also heard compassionate, devout and a rabid Tina Arena fan. Clearly the man requires some further investigation.”

Well, yes, he does require further investigation, but probably not on his infatuation with outdated popstars (no offence to Tina, of course).

Crabb has been hosting her cooking show Kitchen Cabinet for five seasons now, and no one has pulled her up on the fact it’s about as nutrient rich as the majority of her desserts. She fluffs her way through interviewing some of the most powerful people in Australia by coating their numerous acts of structural violence with sugar frosting, and expecting us to become so dizzy on sugar highs that we can’t process their numerous failures.

It’s akin to spending a life gorging on sweets and then finding out later you have diabetes. This insidious spread of propaganda, soft interviews with hard-line politicians who wield enormous power over the lives of the most vulnerable, is sold as a fun, light-hearted look into the lives of the people we elect. But this taxpayer-funded sycophantic date with power will end up making us all sick. It completely dumbs down debate and again re-ingrains the perception that politicians are just like us, while the people their policies hurt, aren’t. They are the others who don’t dine with famous journalists on television.

Morrison is only the most recent example of this sycophancy, and Crabb’s episode last night with the former Immigration Minister rightly raised the temperature of many.

It began with Crabb greeting Morrison at the door of his holiday home with roses.

“This is amazing; this is the first time I’ve been greeted with flowers, sort of like the Cabinet Bachelor or something!” Annabel exclaimed as both exchanged a series of Cheshire Cat grins at each other.

Crabb seemed to think we actually cared about why Morrison began cooking as he made his ‘scomosas’ and Sri Lankan curry, because apparently he had fallen in love with ‘Indian and Sri Lankan food’ while on a trip to the country as shadow minister. Obviously, he had not fallen similarly in love with the people, enough to show any semblance of compassion to those who still remain under persecution.

Crabb smiled intently, her eyes glistening, as Morrison told her since he became Social Services Minister and later Treasurer, he has a lot more free time. This is evidently because selling internationally condemned human rights abuses that have left deep scars of trauma on so many lives used to take up a lot of his free time. Now he can spend more of it with his family, while the victims of his policies wallow in detention centres in Nauru and Manus Island, living a life far removed from his own.

“I had quite a significant trip with Julie Bishop and Michael Keenan while we were in opposition… we were over there obviously working with the then Sri Lankan government in how we would be pursuing our policies with them… it was a really important trip, and we went and had this meal at this fairly dodgy restaurant… and it sort of said to me, wherever you went in Sri Lanka the food was fantastic,” Morrison says.

That trip was undertaken in 2013. Morrison used a press conference when he returned to justify his party’s hard-line policy to ‘stop the boats’, which would later help them win an election. He was adamant Sri Lankan boats wouldn’t cross Australian borders.

“They won’t cross our borders, they’ll be intercepted outside of our sea border and we’ll be arranging for their return to Sri Lanka.”

Only a few months later, while in government, the Immigration Minister was taken to the High Court after holding 157 Tamil asylum seekers, 37 of them children, on a customs ship for more than a month while he tried to deport them back to their country. At the same time, he continued his attempts to defame Human Rights Commission head Gillian Triggs who was spearheading an inquiry into children in detention.

This came at a time when Triggs told the media up to 128 children had self-harmed at Christmas Island over a 15-month period. Crabb didn’t ask about this. Instead she let it slide, because Morrison sure can cook a mean Sri Lankan curry! He even makes his own chapatis!

“What! You’re making your own chapatis?!! What a renaissance man you are!” Crabb exclaims.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 3.01.25 pm

A renaissance man with a talent for locking up traumatised children.

Crabb wasn’t interested in that of course, because this show is about humanising Morrison, while the thousands of vulnerable asylum seekers who have been incarcerated for seeking refuge remain faceless and nameless, tucked behind bars thousands of kilometres so they become ‘others’, less than people.

Crabb asks Morrison about his demeanour while delivering ‘militaristic and impassive’ press conferences as Immigration Minister. She says “I’m interested because I can’t be the only person who watched you on the telly and thought, I wonder what it feels like to be that person?”

“You’re a human being like anyone else,” Morrison says. “The same things impact me that impacts anyone else.”

The only problem is – he isn’t. He is a man with a great deal of power who can perpetrate acts of structural violence that irrevocably change the lives of our most vulnerable with largely no sanction or accountability.

Crabb’s questioning, her curiosity about how Morrison must be feeling as he rolls out sociopathic border patrol policies and slanders people like Triggs shows that, as a journalist, her allegiances lie with propping up power rather than speaking truth to it.

I’m just wondering if she would ever think to ask that of an asylum seeker stuck in Nauru? Would she ask “I’m interested, because I’m not the only person who wonders, what it feels like to be that person?” Has she ever thought to ask that of those who are crying out for help, who are the victims of Morrison and his cronies? Would she cook a cake for them?

I’ve never liked the format of Kitchen Cabinet, but my disgust was heightened when in 2013, Crabb interviewed then Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin, who coincidently also made a curry.

Macklin was a minister who continued the greatest human rights abuse in Indigenous affairs in modern history – the NT intervention, a policy which led to a quadrupling in self-harm and suicide rates, and a severe feeling of disempowerment. At the same time she tried to sell her government as one that wanted to ‘reset the relationship’ with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. During the Rudd and Gillard governments – the time Macklin served as minister – the gap in life expectancy widened, the employment gap widened, Aboriginal children were removed at exponential rates, and Australia continued to jail more black men, women, and children.

Of course, none of that mattered to Crabb, who was more excited about the contents of Macklin’s spice drawer. Macklin never gave interviews to Aboriginal media, who would question her on her complete failure and the devastating consequences of her government’s policies. In fact, she would often only talk to sympathetic media, like The Australian. She once walked out in a huff from an interview with one of my closest friends – Kamilaroi journalist Chris Munro, who as the National Indigenous Television’s political correspondent used one of only two interviews he was ever able to secure with her to grill her on why she wouldn’t deliver reparations to members of the Stolen Generations. He never received another interview.

Maybe he should have cooked up a dessert, but Munners, from my knowledge, isn’t a very good chef.

Jenny Macklin
Jenny Macklin

When Macklin left the Indigenous Affairs portfolio, The Australian’s Patricia Karvelas delivered a glowing but completely irrational portrait of her tenure, claiming she had brought along the left to completely ‘transform Indigenous affairs’. It was completely ridiculous, but was a style of reporting that is alive and well in Australia – and it’s in the same camp as Kitchen Cabinet. There is nothing new about this. They’re just different styles of propaganda.

Crabb has her own type of power. She is very well-paid as one of the ABC’s ‘top’ political analysists and is complicit in framing the very limited discourse we have around issues affecting our most vulnerable. Giving Morrison a platform to sell himself does nothing in uncovering the dark, damp underbelly of Parliament House, the places where cake quickly turns mouldy.

In interviews leading up to last night’s Kitchen Cabinet, Crabb seems to have anticipated a bit of backlash. Questioned by the Sydney Morning Herald about how some journalists may think her show comes across as soft, she said: “My view is that when you sit down with someone in a peaceful way, or when you go to someone’s house… you get something different… For my money, I think it adds something and gives a more rounded sense of who this person is.”

Crabb seems to have a fascination with ensuring we realise that politicians are people too. She wants to humanise them because she feels they have somehow been unfairly maligned. She told the Herald Sun: “In my experience, they’re far better motivated and nicer people than is widely believed.”

But Crabb fundamentally misses the point of journalism. It’s not about humanising those in power, it’s about humanising those who are let down by those in power. But perhaps it is symptomatic of a wider problem, the fact that our most famous journalists, with the greatest platforms, now have more in common with those they are supposed to challenge, rather than those who are being let down by a corrosive political system.

Crabb claims that this was never the intention of the programme, that it is supposed to be soft, but the fact is in a space that is so crowded with soft, unquestioning journalists who are a complete disservice to the public, this high profile format provides only more of the same. We trust those we think we know, and we unconsciously prejudice their opinions above those who are unfamiliar. Crabb is helping Australia wash down the lies of our nation’s politicians.

This is certainly the case in Indigenous affairs, where solutions that are more palatable to white journalists are privileged over the solutions put forward by Aboriginal people themselves. The black voices of those who tell white people what they want to hear are accepted by non-Indigenous journalists because it mirrors their own experiences. That’s why white politicians can get away with so many lies, and spread their neoliberal agenda insidiously through Aboriginal policy – because white journalists are blinkered and, for the most part, don’t realise they are. They are more more likely to trust those who are like them – and sadly those people are likely to be a white politician than a blackfella dealing with multiple forms of complex trauma trying to heal his or her community.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 3.21.23 pm

The same can be said for Crabb and her ridiculous, sickening show. You can spice it up as much as you like, but the ingredients used to cook up Kitchen Cabinet are the same used in the majority of political journalism today. And until we start to realise that this is still largely propaganda, it will keep us, and our standard of political debate, dangerously unhealthy.

 

[A Darumbul woman from central Queensland, Amy McQuire is the former editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine.]

350: Agent Saboteur

September 18, 2014

by Cory Morningstar

 

Knowledgeable people and authentic activists that are going to the “People’s” Climate March must re-ignite the “People’s Agreement” (Cochabamba, Bolivia, 2010), reject 350’s corporate agenda, and step aside for the Indigenous nations to resume their proven leadership in protecting Mother Earth.

cochabamba06

Participants sit in bleachers at the packed World People’s Summit on Climate Change and Mother Earth’s Rights, Photo by The City Project

 

The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth that took place in April of 2010 in Cochabamba, Bolivia, was the first and only climate conference that 1) was led by Indigenous Peoples (approx. 35,000 people attended), 2) was hosted by a state with an Indigenous President (Bolivia’s first Indigenous President) 3) was presented by a state with a very strong position on climate change (still to this date, the state that holds the strongest position in the world), and 4) produced the first democratically written document by its members as an answer to climate change – later to be submitted and recognized by the United Nations (due to the State of Bolivia representatives, no thanks to climate justice groups.) The resulting declaration, the People’s Agreement that resulted from this conference, would come to represent the only climate declaration ever written that could serve as an ideological and scientific foundation to build upon; that could have possibly (and realistically) averted, or at least mitigated, advancing climate crisis and ecological collapse – if only it had been acted upon at that time.

It was during this conference that American 350.org co-founder, Kelly Blynn, had a tantrum. The People’s Agreement was calling for a maximum of 300 parts per million of carbon dioxide. When pressed (by the former Green Party Canada leader and activist, Joan Russow, and myself) to consider the necessity of changing the 350.org logo (by crossing it out with an x and placing the new number/logo “300” beside it), an irritated Blynn stated that she and her co-founders would never agree to do so as 350.org was “the most powerful brand in the world.” (For the moment, let’s ignore the fact that “the most powerful brand in the world” aside, 350 ppm is a death sentence for coral reefs, small island developing states, and billions of people living along low lying coastlines. A fact disclosed in an Alliance of Small Island States Briefing prior to COP15.)

 

350UnderminesBolivia

 

Whiteness & Aversive Racism

In the ultimate display of arrogance, it was clearly demonstrated that 350.org’s sole purpose for attending the conference in Bolivia was to literally undermine the host country’s official policy position on climate change (300 ppm, 1ºC limit, etc.). After exhausting all resources to have the “brand” (numeral 350) adopted as the official target cited in the evolving text of the draft document (350 ppm rather than 300 ppm), their efforts were finally defeated after both Russow and I challenged the 350.org colonial superiority at that evening’s plenary, which was packed with Bolivian citizens. Ultimately, the pre-industrial measurement of 280 ppm was rightfully added to the document. [1]

Ironically, the Bolivian-hosted conference was created in direct response to the December 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15 or “Hopenhagen”) in Copenhagen, Denmark, where Avaaz and 350.org, under the umbrella of TckTckTck (a campaign created by Havas advertising agency), undermined the necessary targets and radical emission reductions courageously put forward by the some of the Earth’s most vulnerable states. The Copenhagen conference’s proposed climate goal was a full one degree Celsius higher than the one put forth by the State of Bolivia, thereby knowingly sentencing these populations to certain death in order to maintain white Euro-American privilege. [The Most Important COP Briefing That No One Ever Heard | Truth, Lies, Racism & Omnicide]

While the State of Bolivia demanded that a 1ºC temperature increase not be exceeded, and the G77 called for severe, radical and necessary emission cuts, the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC), including most “climate justice” groups called for double this: the target of a full 2ºC temperature increase. A few of the more legitimate groups barely mustered the valour to “demand” the world not exceed 1.5ºC. One may wish to note that over 20 years ago, both Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth fully recognized the global average temperature increase must not exceed 1ºC (as clearly evidenced in documents). Yet at COP15, two decades later with climate change advancing rapidly, both groups under the TckTckTck umbrella participated in the 2ºC lie and the manipulation of civil society.

 

 

 

[1] “Developed countries shall take the lead and strive towards returning greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to well below 300 ppm CO2eq with a view to returning concentrations to levels as close as possible to pre-industrial levels in the longer-term, and to limit the average global temperatures to a maximum level of 1ºC with a view to returning temperatures to levels as close as possible to pre-industrial levels in the longer-term, with deep and adequate economy wide emissions reductions in the medium and long terms and taking effective measures to fulfill their commitments relating to the provision of substantial financial resources, capacity building and to provide technology
development and transfer of environmentally sound technologies and know how to developing country Parties. These enabling means are critical and an important measure to enhance the contribution and voluntary efforts of developing country Parties to the efforts of stabilizing of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.”

Reflections On Power Shift 2013: An Impromptu Interview

Groundwork for Praxis

October 27, 2013

powershift collage

See Also: “Are Mainstream Environmental Groups Keeping Racism Alive?” By Kat Stevens.

*Notes Via Kat Stevens: “This piece originally appeared as part of a series called, “Millenials Take On Climate Change” on the website, Policy Mic. The title I had wanted to go with for this piece was, “How  Big Green NGOs Are Harming the Environmental Movement”. Only 800 words were allowed. Policy Mic asked me to become a regular contributor after this piece but I declined once they repeatedly told me that a piece featuring an interview with a frontline indigenous organizer fighting tar sands pipelines wasn’t relevant for their readers.”

 

Why Indigenous and Racialized Struggles Will Always be Appendixed by the Left

Originally published  July 19th, 2011
Cross-posted from Unsettling Settlers

by Zainab Amadahy

Inspired by artists, academics and activist colleagues who have rolled their eyes at the spiritual beliefs of their Indigenous counterparts as well as protested the inclusion of prayer and ceremony into political, academic and artistic activities, I have decided to share my thinking on some fundamental differences in values and knowledge ways that impede relationship-making across our communities.

While I can’t generalize about what Indigenous or other racialized peoples mean by the words “decolonization”, anti-racist or “anti-colonial”, I can certainly observe how SOME philosophies and action strategies employed in leftist movements relegate anti-colonial and anti-racist struggles to the periphery.

EDITORIAL: Asymmetrical Warfare

By Jay Taber

Jan 13, 2013

Intercontinental Cry

There was no illusion of collaboration between Ottawa and the Assembly of First Nations on Friday. AFN is wholly dependent on Ottawa for its existence. They are collaborators by colonial design. They may see themselves as making the best of a bad situation, but they are not challenging the system of dominion.

Chief Spence Calls for Indian Act Chiefs to “Take Control” of Grassroots Movement

“An uncomfortable analysis, but one we must carry over to other struggles.” -d.
December 30, 2012

by Zig Zag,

Warrior Publications

During a Dec 30 press conference on her 20th day of hunger striking, Attawapiskat chief Theresa Spence called on other Indian Act chiefs to take control of the grassroots movement, stating in a written text (read out by one of her aides):  “First Nations leadership needs to take charge and control of the situation on behalf of the grassroots movement.”

WATCH: Indigenous Peoples Aggressively Targeted by Manipulative NGOs Advancing REDD Agenda

© SommerFilms 2010

In an exclusive interview (August, 2010) with documentary filmmaker Rebecca Sommer, Chief Aritana Yawalapiti explains how his people and his region are aggressively targeted and lied to by NGOs (ISA). This video demonstrates how disturbingly manipulative and deceptive NGOs can be when seeking compliance for their funders, in this particular instance for REDD+ projects.

The Following Anti-REDD declarations (compilation) and commentary below are by Kjell Kühne:

If you are against REDD, you are not alone. Around the world, a growing number of communities, organizations and movements as well as experts are not limiting themselves to asking critical questions about REDD any more, they have explicitly declared their opposition to the mechanism. A coalition of indigenous peoples’ organizations has called for a global moratorium on REDD projects. Bolivia has a mandate (from the Cochabamba People’s Summit) to not let REDD pass at the UNFCCC level.

Belém Letter, October 2009, Belém, Brazil.
Peoples Agreement, April 2010, Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Amigos de la Tierra Latin America and Caribbean Position on REDD, August 2010, Paraguay.
Declaración de Cancún, December 2010, Cancún, Mexico.
Declaración de Cancún de la Vía Campesina, December 2010, Cancún, México.
Declaration of Patihuitz, April 2011, Patihuitz, Mexico.

Brazilian environmental and social movements oppose REDD offsets, June 2011, Brasilia/Bonn.

Letter from the State of Acre, October 2011, Rio Branco, Brazil.Open Letter of Concern to the International Donor Community about the Diversion of Existing Forest Conservation and Development Funding to REDD+, October 2011.

Quem ganha e quem perde com o REDD e pagamento por serviços ambientais?, November 2011, Brazil

Indigenous Peoples Condemn Climate Talks Fiasco and Demand Moratoria on REDD+, December 2011, Durban, South Africa.

Pronunciamiento CAOI, March 2012.

No REDD+! in RIO +20: A Declaration to Decolonize the Earth and the Sky, June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Here is a more complete list with an analysis of the elements and arguments of each of the declarations.

Some resources that explain some of the reasons why REDD is not a smart choice for people and the planet:

REDD Monitor, continuous, Chris Lang.

REDD Myths, December 2008, Friends of the Earth, English, Spanish.

Reaping Profits from Evictions, Land Grabs, Deforestation and Destruction of Biodiversity, November 2009, Indigenous Environmental Network, English, Spanish.

REDD Realities, December 2009, Global Forest Coalition.

REDD: The realities in black and white, November 2010, Friends of the Earth, English, Spanish.

NO REDD! A Reader, December 2010, English, Spanish.

Why REDD is dangerous, Kjell Kühne, January 2011.

Key Arguments Against REDD act sheet, Global Justice Ecology Project, June 2011.

Why REDD+ is bad and will make the climate crisis worse, Kjell Kühne, Powerpoint presentation, November 2011.

No REDD Papers: Vol. 1, November 2011.

REDD Fairy Tales, Global Forest Coalition, November 2011.

Juggling with Carbon, Kjell Kühne, Video, December 2011.

A Darker Shade of Green: REDD Alert and the Future of Forests, January 2012, English, Spanish, Documentary.

REDD: la codicia por los árboles, February 2012, Spanish, Documentary.

REDDeldia, August 2012, Spanish, Website.

Stand Up and Say No | Harper Launches Major First Nations Termination Plan

Center for World Indigenous Studies

Fourth World Eye Blog

by Jay Taber

November 9, 2012

In my June 26 editorial Extinguishing Sovereignty, I discussed how the extortion practiced by the Government of Canada toward its indigenous First Nations — as a means to terminate their continued existence as culturally distinct peoples — was in violation of all international law related to racial discrimination and human rights. While not a surprise, given Canada’s notorious track record in the international arena, the persistence of Canada’s government in this modern era ethnic cleansing project is nonetheless disturbing.

As Russell Diabo observes in his essay from First Nations Strategic Bulletin, Canada’s termination plan for First Nations has hit a snag, and due to its perpetual habit of reneging on both modern and older treaties, First Nations leaders may eventually determine there is no longer anything to gain and everything to lose from negotiating with Canada over its aboriginal and inherent treaty rights. If anything is to be learned from the bad faith process of negotiating with someone who only wants to destroy your people, it is that there is really only one legitimate response, and that is to resist.

As Diabo notes, to contemplate Canada’s take it or leave it approach, by compromising their constitutional and international rights, indigenous lands and resources will be auctioned off in fire sales to China and other bidders looking for bargain basement deals, that over time will leave their peoples impoverished in body, mind and spirit. Given what’s at stake, he says, it’s time for First Nations to stand up and say no.

 

Watch “Emergency All Nations Great Peace Gathering July 15-20, 2012 – Urgent memo to all Nations”:

 

 

BRAZIL: MUNDURUKU CHIEF CLARIFIES REDD CONTRACT FARSE with Celestial Green Ventures

By human and natural rights activist, Rebecca Sommer

Source: Earth Peoples

March 27, 2012

It created waves of headlines around the world when the Munduruku, an Indigenous nation of approximately 13000 living in the state Para, Brazil, signed a carbon credit sales contract (REDD) with Celestial Green Ventures.

Photo © Rebecca Sommer

But it wasn’t the community, that signed the contract.

I uncovered this fact during my 2 1/2 month visit in the state of Para where I was investigating the Belo Monte dam issue. Upon hearing the announcement, I called a human rights and climate justice colleague Marquinho Mora from the organization Faor, who informed me that the Munduruku community was indeed very confused about the news themselves.

Interestingly, at the same time I was able to get my hands on 3 REDD contracts signed between Indigenous nations in Altamira area, and an criminal individual, by the name Benedito Milenio Junior.

Yet Milenio did not sign on behalf of his company, he signed as an individual, with no references to the company he claimed to the indigenous chiefs he represented.