Witness – The Intervention

recorded by Aljazeera English

Recorded over eight months in the Northern Territory of Australia, this film shows the impact of the government’s so-called ‘intervention’ policy on the aboriginal communities it was designed to ‘stabilise’.

And the Intervention hasn’t gone – replaced by a new program that according to Fr Frank Brennan is The Intervention on Steroids


Recent Reading

If there is one article you read from this list make it this one. The Brutal Truth: What Happened in the Gulf Country. Published in The Monthly in November 2009 it presents details of the massacres that occurred in the Top end up until the 1930s. It is a despairing but necessary read.

Drink, death and dollars looked at the “rivers of grog in Alice Springs. It was heard on ABC Radio’s The World Today in December 2010. Following its recent Walkley Award I went and listened to it again. Still relevant.

A read of Three Must-Haves for Using Twitter in a Crisis reminded me of the excellent Croakey Blog post The role of social media in flood response and recovery efforts. Which then led me to the United Nations Foundation report New Technologies in Emergencies and Conflict: The Role of Information and Social Networks. The last two are certainly worth a read.

The National Health and Medical Research Foundation ran its 75th anniversary Scientific Symposium at the end of November. All presentations are on the website but a must watch is that of Indigenous public health medical researcher Alex Brown Voices from the Centre of the Fringe: Chronic Disease in Indigenous Australians

“What scientists hold stock in, is only what they can measure. But you can’t measure the mind or the spirit. You can’t weigh it, you can’t deconstruct it. But only if we do will they see that Aboriginal people are spectators to the death of their culture, their lives….

We watch as our culture dies.

How are you going to measure that?”

His presentation high lighted several areas in chronic disease that we need to be approaching differently

I hope you find something you like from this week’s selection

Recent Reading

Here’s some (i.e: when I remember to note them) of the articles I thought might be of interest I have been reading (also viewing or listening) recently that haven’t made it to the blog.

I hope you enjoy them.

Learning in Both Worlds looks at the loss of bilingual education in the Territory with the first four hours now in English. I think they are being optimistic that government will do the right thing – to change back to bilingual education.

ABC footage taken in Yuendumu in 1976 when language was strong. “m” is like two anthills, “a” is like a lump on the side of a tree.

Indigenous literacy gap must close is an opinion piece from a parent who moved from Perth to Broome and the huge disparity in literacy she found between the Aboriginal students compared to the rest.

Subsidised medicines: are we paying too much? looking at the cost of the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme. Is it putting consumers at risk? Can we afford the cost? This podcast from “Australia Talks” on Radio National is worth listening to.

Desert shrinks get global gong. This Alice springs News article from August reports on the Sixth World Congress for Psychotherapy honouring the Aboriginal ngangkari (traditional healers) of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjtara Yankunytjatjara region with its Sigmund Freud Award the contribution to the field of psychotherapy.

How to write about Aboriginal Australia is a satirical view on how to.. well write about Aboriginal Australia. “First, be white.
If you are Aboriginal, you can certainly speak on behalf of every Aboriginal person in Australia but it is best to get a white person to write down what they think you should be saying.” and carries on from there.

Interstate Exodus, a recent program on Living Black looks at how the Aboriginal Health service at Coober pedy is coping with the more than doubling of the transient population from 3600 to close to 10000 as people flee the Intervention in the Northern Territory

50 Social Media Case Studies Worth Bookmarking. While there is no examples involving health or health education some of these case studes are worth a look.

Snobs and whingers: the new Australia. There’s nothing better than when I reach populated areas of sitting down with a freshly brewed coffee, fresh fruit and a newspaper on the same day it was printed and going out to dinner with friends. What you consider the normal things. So normal that you need to complain when the pattern on the froth on the cappucino is not quite centred. This article is in the same vein

Northern Territory Emergency Response Evaluation Report 2011. I’ve only scanned through this government “evaluation” but they seem to think a few surveys and a few calls for an opinion substitute for good research. Here’s an example: “A survey of 85 government and service providers conducted by the Allen Consulting Group found that 71 per cent of respondents thought that engagement approaches improved over time” – nice to consult the end user.

The authors of the chapters can’t be blamed – they can only work with the data they have.

The intervention is dead, long live the intervention This article by Jon Altman, though responding to a Closing the Gap report is a nice counterpoint to the Intervention evaluation above.

A Personal Journey

Bev Manton the Chairwoman of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council today personally handed to Oprah Winfrey a DVD showing the bits of Australia she won’t see on her tour down under.

ABC 783 Alice Springs Radio Alice Springs

The part of Australia Oprah won’t see is the living conditions of her “brothers and sisters” living in the Northern Territory in third world conditions as experienced by Bev on a recent fact finding mission.

Here is a 7 minute short of the 15 minute video that was given tom Oprah. The full 15 minutes will be available from December 20.

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