Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

The problem in believing in the inalienable rights and freedoms of, and equal opportunity for, all people is that some people or groups within society are more free and more equal than others (ie. more cashed up, more able to advocate for their “inalienable” rights, whatever those might be). The problem in also believing in a just and humane society in which the importance of the role of law and justice is maintained, is that one must actually abide by the law and apply it consistently.

In Australia, none are affected more by these problems than Indigenous Australians. Over the last week, mass rallies have been held in Australia in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The rallies aim to highlight the discrimination against Indigenous Australians. In particular, protestors point to the over 400 Indigenous Australians who have died in custody since 1991 and Indigenous Australians disproportionately higher rate of incarceration, as well as the social and economic disadvantage of Indigenous Australians more generally. Presumably, protestors want action to be taken (by Australian governments?) to address these issues. Senator Pat Dodson who was a Commissioner of the 1991 Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody, has repeatedly acknowledged the complexity of the issue and the integrated social justice solutions required to reduce the rates of incarceration and deaths in custody. Read his thoughts on the matter here.

I am not sure what more I can write on this matter except that, clearly, all lives do not matter when a person can be stigmatised based on the colour of their skin, when racism and poverty is institutionalised, and when equal opportunity requires an unequal response in dealing with past hurt and trauma.

Why do I care deeply about this? Perhaps because when I was teenager, I was privy to a conversation between two people, one of whom had migrated from South Africa to Australia. The words of the South African man horrified me. He was clearly disturbed by them too. They went something like this:

“You know, they are very racist in South Africa. There were big floods recently in South Africa so I phoned my parents to ask whether anyone was hurt. They said that no-one was hurt, only a few blacks were killed.”

I heard it with my own ears. Those are words that a young, impressionable teenager doesn’t easily forget. That is why black lives matter, ladies and gentlemen. Whether it be in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, America, South Africa or Australia, they matter.

Anyway, back to the song. I’ve finally made it to the 21st Century for my Friday song choice. Today I’ve chosen the song, Locked Up, written by Felix Riebl and Australian Indigenous artist, Briggs, and performed by Briggs and the Marliya Choir. It is a song about the incarceration of young Indigenous Australians.

Thank you for reading, although it is not me, you should be listening to.

Kind Regards.

31 thoughts on “Another Day, Another Indigenous Australian Incarcerated

  1. Canada is currently struggling with many of the issues you raise. Bigotry is evident in Canada’s institutions. Our PrimeMinister talks about systemic racism in our institutions and in society in general. Many Canadians do not think of themselves are bigots so the term “Unconscious racism” is offered as an out to those who deny any involvement in bigotry. A balm to hurt egos.


    1. Thank you, Kate. I hadn’t seen that clip. It is very powerful. Made me think twice about whether I should have introduced the song in my post as being performed by indigenous artist, Briggs ….
      I am acutely conscious that my blogging circle is not very diverse, partly due to the fact that I cannot speak any other language apart from English. I have more chance of speaking a few words of French or German to someone in another country than I do of speaking Gundungurra/Ngunnawal (?) which is the traditional language of the Ngunnawal people in whose country I reside. That seems incredibly wrong to me, since I spent a large part of my schooling and working life in Ngunnawal country.

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      1. there are now online language classes which are great, my local dialect is on there not sure about yours .. maybe check it out.

        Our First Nation Peoples prefer that title … I lean towards traditional landowners but go with their choice!

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      2. Thank you, Kate. Yes, I do refer to First Nation People in other posts. But it is confusing because it changes often depending on the source document and I have people using different terms also.
        Do you have a link to your online language classes?

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      3. oh my goodness what bubble do you live in … people actually suggest that I am troubled just for volunteering with them! I can honestly say I’ve only met one other white women as respectful and keen … one 😦


      4. lol I am impressed, you do seem like a top person … got to just get my head around it! Sort out my biases ❤
        So you don't mind the cold?


      5. Kate, that is an incredibly gracious invitation. Under normal circumstances, I would be happy to leave my family for a brief sojourn. However, they have made considerable sacrifice to stay at home with me because my chronic illness puts me at considerable risk of Covid, and they continue to do so. So it would feel like I wasn’t taking this seriously if I just skived off now. Plus, I’m an absolute coward and am worried about hidden community transmission. Thank you for the offer though.

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