Art of Woman

Genocide

Last entry I made a comment about shooting "in Iraq". This is only a recent example of a very extensive and ubiquitous problem. Humans often use violence to "solve" problems - and often the bullies (or bullets?) win. Shooting, bombing, warfare, violence, rape, starvation and genocide touches us all. I do not know of a country without genocide in it's history, including my own country, Australia.

I have been reading, "White Christ Black Cross" by Noel Loos, 2007 ISBN9780855755539. It is very humbling to read of the white settlement of Australia as an Aboriginal Holocaust, Chapter 2. The aboriginal population of Australia was devastated by 87% to up to 97%! This depopulation occurred over a relatively short time, causing extreme trauma to the survivors. Causes include deliberate "rounding up" and shooting and poisoning. Also many died of easily treated disease, loss of food resources and poor water. They suffered loss of land, resources, malnutrition, loss of culture, language and social and family structure. The last "dispersal" occurred as recently as 1928, page 25, and children were taken from their parents well into the 1960s. Clearly some hurts are within living memory and Australia has a lot of work to do to gain true reconciliation.

I'm very encouraged by our new prime minister Kevin Rudd expressing "sorry" to Aborigines. Deputy prime minister, Julia Gillard, also said Labour wanted to take "practical measures that would make a difference to the huge life expectancy gap and the lack of opportunity that so many indigenous Australians face." It is not a county's overall wealth that predicts the health of the population, it is the distribution of wealth, especially the social equity of the country. This idea is backed up by studies. "the per caput GNP in Costa Rica is only one-twelfth that of the USA, life expectancy is the same (75 vs. 76 years). And, whereas the per caput GNP of the poor Indian state of Kerala is considerably less than that of India as whole, life expectancy is over 70, very much greater than the Indian average of 57. Sen attributes these islands of health in their seas of relative poverty to Costa Rica and Kerala's widespread pubic education,comprehensive social epidemiological and personal health care, and subsidized nutrition." Amartya Sen (1992) in "Death Hope and Sex" by James S. Chisholm, 1999, ISBN 0 521 59708 0, page 224. Any effort to improve equity of health and education will be a positive step.