Fair-ish and Balanced-ish
Thursday, September 18, 2003
Newsflash: Balanced Article in The Australian
The Oz's recent contributions to the debate over Aborigines and Australian history have been pretty poor. However, a recent article by Greg Sheridan, is worth reading, not as an example of how not to think critically, but rather for it's content.
I have two minor quibbles with it:
* It's tries to hard to link itself to the Windschuttle/Manne debate, when really, it doesn't have much to do with Tasmanian early history, and is more to do with the stolen generation (while Windschuttle has tried to link the orthodox views on Tasmanian history with genocide claims, this reflects more on his reading comprehension abilities, than widespread claims made by Tasmanian historians).
* The last part, where Greg tries to demonstrate the stupidity of the definition of genocide, is really really lame.
However, these are both pretty minor, and in no way damage the article as a whole.
I'm not sure if I quite agree with all of the article. Assuming that historians such as Henry Reynolds can find evidence that the Australian government adopted a policy to trying to eliminate an unwanted race by scientific (at least scientific for the times) breeding programs (which included the forcible removal of children), then a claim of attempted genocide isn't entirely inappropriate.
However, to avoid the connotations with the Khmer Rouge, Nazi's etc, I think that term "stolen generation" is better.