North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Sunday, August 29, 2010

First Aborigine in Australian Lower House of Parliament

A seat representing a section of Perth, in Western Austalia, is now likely to go to an Aborigine.

Several weeks ago, Australia found itself with its first female Prime Minister. Since then, elections were held, and her power base eroded to where the control of Parliament would be decided by a handful of seats too close to call (recounts are either likely or underway ...) Today, one of these undecided seats swung to Australia's first Aborigine in the lower House of Representatives. (One other has served previously in the Upper House - equivalent to the US Senate)

Ken Wyatt claimed victory in the marginal West Australian seat of Hasluck yesterday, amid revelations he was subjected to racist taunts during the election campaign. Mr Wyatt said the taunts had come in the form of phone calls to his campaign office, as verbal taunts on the streets and as messages on news websites. He said they had come from both white and Aboriginal people, some accusing him of selling out his cultural heritage by joining the Liberal Party. Mr Wyatt, who has Aboriginal, Indian and English blood, said he was disappointed by the taunts but not deterred.

When asked if he was surprised it had taken so long for an Aborigine to win a seat in the green chamber, Mr Wyatt said Aboriginal people had to make change happen for themselves. 'We can't take a notion that somebody is going to come up and tap us on the shoulder and say stand; you've got take a personal stand, nominate and go through the process of being preselected,'' he said. 'I came from a life of poverty but through my own individual efforts I stand now within the national arena and I will bring my knowledge, wisdom and skills to all the people of Hasluck.'

We often have this sort of image of modern Australian aborigines, and indeed many still live in precarious situations of poverty. Rabbit Proof Fence was a compelling film showing the racial hostility exhibited for decades against this continent's indigenous people. The film Crocodile Dundee actually showed aborigines in non-stereotypical fashion, Dundee's friend combining modern education while retaining a true connection with nature...

Today, however, inroads are occurring. Pride and confidence in their abilities to live and succeed in the modern world can be seen in younger people, as well as seasoned "elders" such as Ken Wyatt. Recent fashion show with aboriginal heritage embedded in the designs.

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