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Saturday, February 16, 2008

A fool and a bigot. Herald's home to holocaust denier

I think I owe Garth George an apology:
...it might well be the aging reactionary Garth George who penned it - I can't really think of anyone else that out of touch...

Well meet the New Zealand Herald's John Roughan, ladies and gentlemen. He's actually more out of touch than old George - the man who writes from the perspective of being told as a child by his father that he would shoot him with his revolver should he hear the siren for a Japanese invasion. Now taking on the type of characteristics of your own dad who during your childhood threatened a Goebbel's-style family murder-suicide massacre would be enough to traumatise and deeply affect your way of thinking in later life - but what excuse has Mr Roughan got exactly. He must have been raised by a Grand Dragon High Cyclops of the White Knights of the Order of the Ku Klux Klan my friends because the shit he wrote in today's Herald will make your fucking hair stand on end. It doesn't deserve a dispassionate response.

John Roughan: Stolen generations story a distortion of history

Draw near to heareth our sermon, brother Klansmen. He starts badly enough:

When you see history being written you realise how much of it is mere legend.
Australia hasn't got a particularly exciting history. Once you've read past the convicts it becomes quiet and constitutional.
The closest they came to a civil convulsion was a goldfields rebellion by drunken Irish miners, much celebrated today at the "Eureka Stockade", that lasted all of a Sunday morning in 1853
They have nothing like the colonial wars in this country.
The displacement of Australia's ancient pre-colonial population was a largely private, casual and dimly recorded atrocity. It haunts the country's story rather than leaving a catalogue of battles that could be mythologised today.

For a man about to embark on a path of extreme historical revisionism he doesn't even have an historical grasp on his subject matter. He either thinks the NSW Rum Corps coup d'état was nothing, the convict rebellion of Castle Hill was nothing, the massacres of Aborigines were nothing etc. etc. At least Irving is an historian.

So they have invented a legend from living memory. By "they" I do not mean only Aboriginal revivalists. The "stolen generations" story, now carrying the official imprimatur of this week's Federal Government apology, is as much a creation of white authors, journalists, film-makers, scholars and even jurists freed from the need of forensic proof.

And setting up some arbitrary standard of "forensic proof" that (by implication) somehow excludes the people alive today who went through it? Irving excludes the stories of Jews, Roughan the Aboriginal stories.

Just about everybody now believes that as recently as the 1950s Aboriginal children were being dragged from the arms of clutching parents by cold-hearted agents of the state for purposes that could not be good.

Well it wasn't until the 1930s that Aborigines stopped being massacred wholesale. They couldn't vote in Queensland until the mid 1960s.

I would believe it too if I hadn't read a paper delivered by a Melbourne lawyer, Douglas Meagher, QC, to a seminar in 2000.
His suspicions of the stolen generation story had been aroused when reading the 1997 report of an inquiry by a fellow jurist, Sir Ronald Wilson.
Meagher, whose father was in the state government, was surprised by a reference to someone he had known quite well.

And the truth and the context flies right over Roughan's head. The lawyer is trying to vindicate his father. That seems rather obvious; but not to Roughan because he wants to believe. He allows himself to be duped by a personally involved man on a crusade to rehabilitate his father and what he stood for. Having such an overt conflict of interest in telling the historical narrative you would think he ought to be discounted, as an advocate for letting the Crown off the hook you would think he ought to be discounted... at the very least in the same way that Roughan so blithely discounts the stories of the living survivors of the policy in question.

At this point Roughan is at his weakest and most dismal, but then his history lesson dives into the truly risible:

These people had a typical 1950s education, lacking today's cultural sensitivity. That's bad enough if you believe constant cultural connections to be essential but it probably fails to outrage you. Hence the hype. Ever the lawyer, Meagher was reluctant to say the distortions were wilful. But they are, I suspect. They are a symptom of a late 20th century intellectual disease called post-modernism.

It fails to outrage Roughan. The Stolen Generations fails to outrage Mr Roughan, who then makes the mistake all bigots do: the arrogance to presume that everyone else of the same race shares his prejudice. The Federal Government and even the opposition leader (albeit disgracing himself) supported the motion to apologise for the policy and both of them quoted the people directly affected. Mr Roughan however thinks they are being "post modern". Not stopping at this point Mr Roughan then insists on performing intellectual hara-kiri:

Post-modernism holds that nothing can be known for certain, that anything is valid if enough people need to believe it.
Post-modernism does not do history, it does 'histories". Writers don't have to verify what they are told, they are saluted for enabling the downtrodden to tell their stories.

And that's precisely it, isn't it? Roughan doesn't do history. He has rendered a bizarre tale at odds with the evidence - a flimsy, unresearched, uncontextualised, hearsay, unverified "history" - in order to promote, validate and enable.. well, white pride. Whites being the downtrodden and maligned minority sector in his view.

When post-modern social propagandists use terms like "stolen" most people take them literally.

And when post-modern social propogandists use terms like "legend" and "mythologising" I hope most people have the ability to see the polemicist for what he is.

He is a fool and a bigot. The editor of the Herald let this man write a leader that puts that paper right back to the day it was founded in 1863 - as a vehicle to campaign for the invasion and destruction of Maori and the theft of their land for the white population. That is his writing's pedigree in relation to the New Zealand Herald.

Roughan is a man who knows nothing of history and cares even less for the facts. When he looks back on that piece I hope he has the sense to be ashamed of it and understand why many who read it are disgusted and offended by it - and think a lot less of him.


At 16/2/08 6:21 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No comment yet about the white UK chidlren stolen and abused by the catholics.

It is the religious zelots who should have apologised.

Anyone see the Magdalen Sisters, it really happened (and worse) in many countries and was still going on into the 1970's in the UK as a friends of mine was in one.

At 17/2/08 6:16 am, Blogger Bomber said...

very well said, I couldn't believe Roughan wrote that.

At 17/2/08 2:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what did Roughan say in the article that was factually incorrect?

At 17/2/08 5:06 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Meagher's self interest makes his views unreliable, then doesn't that disqualify any who claim to be personally involved?

The Cubillo v Commonwealth case referred to:

"The judgment is valuable for the evidence it contains about administration[13] of the 1918 Ordinance and the Welfare Ordinance — evidence drawn from historical records and officials appointed under those laws — but disturbing for the apparent lack of fit between most of these accounts and those of many affected Aborigines, including the applicants. Like Kruger,[14] Cubillo undermines some claims made by or on behalf of former ‘stolen’ children in other contexts. Kruger undermined the finding by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission inquiry that removal was genocidal.[15] As discussed below, Cubillo undermines claims that post-war Commonwealth removal policy was ‘blanket’ and eugenicist. However, although tabloid newspaper commentary would have it that O’Loughlin J found the ‘Stolen Generation’ disproved by the evidence,[16] his Honour went to some lengths to explain that ‘the evidence ... cannot be used as a base to examine the breadth of the term “the Stolen Generation”. [It] showed that broad generalisations cannot be made.’[17]"

At 17/2/08 6:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim, I would like some reliable authority on what happened because I find it absolutely incredible. I have a wee 2 year old and I would be suicidal if any state authority just grabbed him. I would like to read some background on this as I'm a wee bit ignorant on Australian history.

At 17/2/08 9:31 pm, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

According to the Bringing Them Home Report, at least 100,000 children were removed from their parents, and the figure may be substantially higher (the report notes that formal records of removals were very poorly kept). It stated:
“Nationally we can conclude with confidence that between one in three and one in ten Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and communities in the period from approximately 1910 until 1970. In certain regions and in certain periods the figure was undoubtedly much greater than one in ten. In that time not one family has escaped the effects of forcible removal (confirmed by representatives of the Queensland and WA Governments in evidence to the Inquiry). Most families have been affected, in one or more generations, by the forcible removal of one or more children."
In Western Australia, the Aborigines Act 1905 removed the legal guardianship of Aboriginal parents and made their children all legal wards of the state, so no parental permission was required.
in the 1930s, the Northern Territory Protector of Natives, Dr. Cecil Cook, described as follows the aim of the policy of removing "half-caste" children from Aboriginal communities in the hopes of marrying them into the white population:
“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."

- Wikipedia entry.

At 18/2/08 1:32 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roughan is the Deputy Editor of the Herald.

It's wider editorial slant should be more in context now to people who didn't know that.

At 18/2/08 1:43 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops, reading Tim's post again, I noticed he said that.

I had just always wondered who he was to get a place on the Weekend Perspectives page.

As an aside, the Herald's reporting is so weak when you take out the agency/wire stories. They seem to have more columnist/commentator/reviewer and soft news (TimeOut etc) reporters than hard news.

I'm serious - look at the source and many stories you'd assume are Herald produced are NZPA...

At 18/2/08 2:05 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I would believe it too if I hadn't read a paper delivered by a Melbourne lawyer, Douglas Meagher, QC, to a seminar in 2000."

How can you say Roughan is an idiot if you haven't read Meagher's paper?

Even Robert Manne, the academic who campaigned strongly for an apology, noted that the 'Bringin them Home' report may have overstated the number of removals & the reasons for them.

That said, there still seems enough evidence to warrant the apology, which should have happened much earlier.

At 18/2/08 3:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still curious to know, once you've all finished attacking Roughan, what he said that was incorrect?

At 18/2/08 4:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus wept.

Opinion/commentary are just that. The *facts* are not particularly in dispute, but the meaning/interpretation/opinion/spin of the facts may be.

The point is anon@3:14, why does Roughan feel the need to be such a contrarian on this issue?

At 21/2/08 9:29 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Opinion/commentary are just that. The *facts* are not particularly in dispute,

So he hasn't actually said anything wrong - glad we cleared that up

but the meaning/interpretation/opinion/spin of the facts may be.

Ahhhhh, I see now - you don't like it that Roghan has a different opinion than you.

The point is anon@3:14, why does Roughan feel the need to be such a contrarian on this issue?

What the FUCK? Contrarian? How dare he have a different view from the standard mainstream party line - where does he think he is living? An open democracy? This dissent from our Universal Truth must be crushed at once!
You could very easily say that Bomber and Tim are "Contraian" on nearly any given issue OR you could act like a grown up and see that other people have different opinions, no less valid than your own and that while you may not agree with them it is healthy to have your perspective challenged - you might even change your mind - I know I have from time to time when reading Tu Meke, even if I do disagree with what Bomber says most of the time.

At 23/2/08 7:51 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inventing the motivations and attitudes of other posters is the classic modus operandi of an internet kook.

"Roghan has a different opinion than you."

Yeah, sure buddy... Pretty skonky reasoning there given that the comenter didn't give his/her view.

Oh, and the "act like a grown up" is another classic kook ad-hom.


At 25/2/08 8:23 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OOOOOOh "an internet kook" and "moron"! Who is dishing out the ad-hom now?

Do you actually have anything to say about the topic? No?

the comenter didn't give his/her view.

Yes your right, given that the commenter started off with a "Jesus wept " and finished by calling Roughan "contrarian" I'm sure he completely agrees with and is defending his right to this "contrarian" opinion.

Please come back when you actually have something to say for yourself.

Er given that he is decrying Roghen


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