We watched Babakiueria today in the class I’m tutoring in at La Trobe in Gender, Sexuality and Diversity Studies. I’m really enjoying teaching again. But how could I not, when we get to watch films like this? The first four weeks are on indigenous history and politics, interwoven with theories around racialisation, representation, ideology. There’s been a lot of talk in tutorials about the actions of the quote unquote Taskforce in the Northern Territory, alcohol bans, compulsory health checks, land grabs, uranium mining etc. I’m pleasantly surprised to find out that most of the students already feel suspicious of the government’s motives; or, better, already have a really solid understanding of what the new laws mean in terms of land control and how it fits into the temporality of electioneering, as well as mining interests.
Otherwise, the whole thing makes me feel depressed. This is what it must have felt like to be anti-racist in South Africa under F. W. de Clerk. Depression, fantasies of escape, questions about how to help resist the extraordinary effects this will have on material everyday life for indigeous people in the NT. I guess there’s one thing about this, though: it becomes very difficult to talk about dispossession as a historical, past event that we have ‘progressed’ beyond when it’s happening again, right under your very nose. I hope this radicalises some folks.