Nothing New Down Under the Sun

To say that I am emale is a necessary fiction is not to denigrate its value. If anything, it is by virtue of the imagination, we know and strive with ourselves, against the earth and all its inhabitants, on paper, in figures, red and black. Whether we imagine the state of the world in conflict to be true or not, one must still render an account of one’s desire: decisions are reached, sacrifices are made, trespasses are forgiven as we forgive those who trespass against us.

In this manner shall ye pray.

In his mother tongue, Jesus preached to the Jews: Love your enemies… that ye may be the children of the Father which is in heaven. Translated into today’s scriptures, the Holy Word of God, it is called by some. There is no new thing under the sun. All is vanity. For better or for worse, others pay the price for our pleasures. All things are full of labour. In the third world, developing countries, half a world away, sweatshop and child slavery are the means of production. Else they would have no jobs. Eighty per cent of the earth’s resources are consumed by twenty per cent of the earth’s population.

Every body consumes. There is nothing new under the sun.

During the days of the Preacher, in the hours Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, in the moment Saul was blinded travelling the road to Damascus – Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me and my people? – the Australian aborigines were walking the land down under. They were still walking the earth when men with pale faces and black rifles came; fences were erected, planted crops and put sheep out into pasture on the hunting grounds of the indigineous population – on the grounds that all things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing – a gun in one hand and a Bible in the other. The State apparatus raped and murdered the women, grandwomen and daughters.

Progress they called it. Jesus said, suffer the little children. And they came and they took the half-caste children into institutions, taught them to read and write and the white folk were considered mad by the natives who learnt in the table of the white man’s values, the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, taught and handed down to Moses – thou shalt not kill.

If the meaning of the earth took on a different value, it was a European civillisation that drew up the tablelands known. Circumnavigating the continent, crossing its interior: Terra Nullius is there to be discovered, mapped and fenced in. Burke and Wills died of thirst a hundred metres from a water source.

The aborigines had already been there. For forty thousand years, in harmony with the earth, reciprocity of visibility and statement. Word of mouth, unwritten, the tales recorded, passed down to generations. The land writes: cave paintings. If one could only think to ask… but no one knew their language. If one cannot speak of it, can one be said to know?

For the ‘primitive’ Aborigines, the earth is no longer the same. Still the land writes. There’s no going back. Can any people’s relationship with the earth not be identified with the soul of race? Mining, its mine, the Northern Territory action will hold the indigineous population to account – the Racial Discrimination Act will not apply here, in a state of emergency – for their sins… suffer the little children. In the middle, the race continues, the walkers now running striving… there is no new thing under the sun.

The Head of State – the Logos, the metaphysical sun of being-[Australian] – will not render an account and accept Kanyini. The nomadic war machine is not a creation of the State; the State apparatus can only appropriate it. If the Federal government said “sorry” (love your enemies), the rush on land rights, the lawsuits, would add to the renumeration for sins past gone unpunished, relinquishing the centralised control of the means of violence – cases of small towns and pets poisoned, bashings… The State says “I…” the ego. Where egoes I follows. Into the Northern Territory. Coldly the State lies when it says, “I, the people…”

The “people.” The idea sits funny with us today.

There is no society.

It’s the economy, stupid.

A critique of the political eckonomy of the sign. The meaning of (self) production. At first, people’s were creators, then individuals… indeed the individual is the latest creation. The individual’s heart is the interior in a land personified. Choices made within reason, accounting and rendering indebted to the State, raised us to the nth degree. Taught us to read and write. The moral of Patrick White’s Voss – his native guide cut Voss’s head off as he lay in his tent, sick and dying – and the boy went mad.

The individual is raised to the power of the nth degree – everybody has an equal opportutunity to labour for the good life. Australia is the land of the “fair go,” the Lucky Country. Follow the yellow brick road. So says the neo-liberal ideologues. The conflict is over, the battle is won. The quarterly statement won over a season for all things. Resigned to vanity, we forget the country’s first imaginings, an ancient culture, a people(s), forty thousand years old, the Dreamtime, fenced in and, paradoxically, set free – to be held accountable.


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