(I’ve pushed what is chronologically the fifth ‘dispatch’ to the top of the pile because it’s probably the most important).
Dispatch #5 (January 8th- 10th): Delivering supplies to affected areas on the lands of the Gunaikurnai nation (East Gippsland)
Just spent a couple of days delivering supplies with two friends to some of the affected areas in East Gippsland. We went as far out as Orbost, but roads were closed beyond that. Yesterday we made some deliveries around Bairnsdale and Bruthen. We decided to leave the area last night, because conditions were due to get hectic again today. These were my main thoughts from being out there:
The cops shoot dead a young Indigenous man in his home in Yuendumu. The eastern seaboard burns. The coloniser’s logic won’t let them make the connection between genocide, relentless resource extraction and ecocide.
This track is where my head is at. Here are the lyrics:
When the flames engulfed the home of the brave, the stampede toward the border was in vain. Faces palmed, faces paled as the wall they said would make them great could not be scaled. When the free-market fundamentalist steps on a roadside bomb outside Kandahar bleeding to death, I swear to Ayn Rand I’ll ask if he needs an invisible hand. You say #notallcops. You say #notallmen. Yeah you insist #itsonly99%. There’s nothing new for you to learn. Ok, sit back, relax and watch it all burn. The colossal waste of energy: talent upon the talented, freedom upon the free. This whole damn beautiful life wasted on you and me. God are you there? It’s me, in the denim jacket. Are you receiving my prayers through the noise and cosmic static? God are you there? Can you confirm i’m on the right goddamn planet?!? The day the rapture came, a forgettable event. The clouds, they opened up and not a single person went. To the chromatic whistle of a carousel calliope stomp the citizens of our clown idiot dingbat society.
There comes a point when it’s probably better to accept that the most well-developed ethical response has been scattered by the unrelenting winds of shit-baggery and there’s not much to do except roll with the visceral disgust as the stench hits our nostrils. That point occurred last week as we were treated to an online promotional video featuring Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton in an American SUV, cruising into a car dealership and shaking hands with the workers – all to a banging DMX soundtrack. The promo introduces Dutton with the tagline, ‘the baddest MP’, and along with the choice of vehicle and music is a trolling attempt to bring him cred as some ‘badass’, gangster politician who does what’s needed to get ‘it’ done.
(from my notebook): The embassy is spread across three camp sites, each a few kilometres apart. It is a beautiful stretch of bush, a land signposted by awesome gums with secret hollows and gnarly limbs – the sacred birthing trees of the DjabWurrung people. You feel the presence of history in this country, of lives having passed through here for millenia, existing in symbiosis with everything this landscape provides. And all fully framed by the stunning, imposing presence of the sandstone outcrops and ranges known as Gariwerd. The highway cuts through like a scar, and the state of Victoria now intends to prise it open, creating a seeping, exposed wound.
DjabWurrung Heritage Protection Embassy stands as a blockage against the incessant flow of colonising, state violence that attempts to wash away all trace of the cultural and environmental custodianship that Aboriginal people claim over this land. In this moment, that violence takes a most banal form – a state infrastructure project to widen the already existing highway between Melbourne and Adelaide. This would eradicate a site of sacred importance to the DjabWurrung people, including an 800 year old birthing tree that has seen over 50 generations born in the hollow of its trunk (more here).
(Some thoughts and feels post-Christchurch on white supremacy, Islamophobia and eco-fascism after a few days of processing and conversations.)
There is no good to come from
this. There is no good to come from this. There is no good to come from this
and there will be no ‘but’ as an appendage to that assertion. It’s not like I
needed to be thrown into an abyss. It’s not like it took a white supremacist
terrorist murdering 49 Muslims in a mosque in Christchurch to send me towards hopelessness
about racism in this country. My nihilist tendencies already had me here and
from here – with no real hope in things changing – I am content to foment my
own little moments of resistance to this white supremacist, colonial state. But
spare me the light that shines its harsh glare onto my futile, scrambling