Thursday, November 27, 2008

Luhrmann gets political

Baz Luhrmann, director of Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliet, has used the promotion platform of his latest movie, Australia, to comment on Australian race relations, or at least the history of race relations.

Luhrmann noted that had Barack Obama been born in Australia, he'd not likely have achieved anything like he has in the US.

To give context, the President-elect of the United States is 47. If he Was living in Australia, it is absolutely credible that the government, because he had one white parent and one black parent, could have taken him forcibly from his family.

They would have put him in an institution, probably lied to him that his parents were dead, changed his name and reprogrammed him to be European, so he could have some sort of function doing something of service in white society. That would possibly have been Obama's journey.
Sound far fetched, it's not. Note the following from the wikipedia entry on the stolen generation:

In the 1930s, the Northern Territory Protector of Natives, Dr. Cecil Cook, perceived the continuing rise in numbers of "half-caste" children as a problem. His proposed solution was:

Generally by the fifth and invariably by the sixth generation, all native characteristics of the Australian Aborigine are eradicated. The problem of our half-castes will quickly be eliminated by the complete disappearance of the black race, and the swift submergence of their progeny in the white.
Or more recently, from the 1997 Australian national review, Bring them Home (chapter two history of the practice of forced separation):

Dr Max Kamien surveyed 320 adults in Bourke NSW in the 1970s. One in every three reported having been separated from their families in childhood for five or more years.
Luhrmann's comments are no revealation, however, his movie is a partnership with Tourism Australia and intended to boost tourist numbers. I wonder how his government partners feel about his forthright comments?

I'd not really intended to see the movie, though I am a fan of Luhrmann's work, it didn't particularly appeal. Perhaps I now will.

1 comment:

Matt Nolan said...

You have been tagged :) :