Thursday, August 19, 2010

Down blunder

When I was young, the first blunder indicating that something might be rotten in my native land was the Orr case, in 1955. In an atmosphere evoking the trial of Socrates for moral misconduct, a professor of philosophy in Tasmania, Sydney Sparkes Orr [1914-1966], was castigated on the grounds that he had been involved in an intimate relationship with one of his female students, named Susan Kemp. At that time, I was convinced that a professorship of philosophy was surely the most noble calling that could possibly be imagined in Tasmania or the civilized world at large, and that such an academic incumbent should certainly have the right, in certain circumstances, to screw his permissive libertarian students. Retrospectively, I don't deny that I probably imagined myself already as a future teacher of philosophy, in exciting Tasmania, initiating a harem of splendid young virgins (all of whom were taking notes conscientiously) into the subtle sins of sex. Alas, I never made it to Tasmania…

Starting in 1980, my compatriots have perpetrated a vastly greater blunder: the case of Azaria Chamberlain.

For ages, it was called Ayer's Rock. Then somebody in a government administration, bowing down to the sentiments of the survivors of an indigenous people that had once been slaughtered, said it should be known henceforth as Uluru. Why not? For me (who's never set foot there), it's Dingo Rock.

The amazing details of the many ways in which Anglo-Saxon fuckwits screwed up this investigation and legal case can be found on the web. To my mind, it is a harsh indictment of almost everything about naive and uninformed Australian attitudes towards crime, law, guilt and innocence. The notorious legal pursuit of Azaria's mother, Lindy Chamberlain, was a case study of Down Under ignorance, stupidity and injustice.

Today, those of us Australians who respect historical evidence and arguments must visit the following excellent website, and read Lindy Chamberlain's 30th anniversary "letter to open-minded Australians":

I ask the following rhetorical question: Are we Australians in fact sufficiently open-minded to hear Cindy Chamberlain's plea for justice?

No, globally, many things make me fear that we Aussies are still too astronomically stupid…

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