Mellek Steel

Does white Australia want justice for Elijah, or are they just saying it?

The demonstrations against the sentence handed out to Elijah Doughty’s killer is heartening, but I also know that we’ve been here before, and I’m not holding out for sweeping change.

 

 

It heartened me to see the nation recoil in horror to the brutality of Elijah Doughty decision. To those who missed it, a man who ran down an indigenous kid was found not guilty of manslaughter, despite the vibrant callousness of the reported act. Man pursues youth riding a bike that he presumes is stolen, runs down kid in 4WD, man gets a limp sentence.

Angst gave way to anger, as demonstrations were organised over the weekend, and held yesterday in various capitals around the nation. Those who were not present, their voices were magnified by Twitter, kept by the hashtag #JusticeForElijiah, a collective point was made. It was wrong. However, the important day is the day after, when the banners are cast into the bin, and life renews its normal course, what we do today is what matters. Pardon me for remaining cynical, but I’m not keeping my hopes up. White Australia has no ear for true change, no real desire to break the status quo. You’re moved by words, and then you move on.

Things tend to follow a pattern before they fall apart. We both agree that this thinking is wrong, but as soon as we rise up to highlight the problem, and then we all become the problem. I can say this, because I‘ve seen it numerous times, and know that these instances repeat every day, whether the headlines escape the prison walls or outback towns they originate from, or not.

 

The first peoples are second class citizens, and any equality is a lie the uninformed tell themselves.

 

Hopefully, a name you remember is TJ Hickey, the teenager impaled in Redfern back in 2004. Thirteen years removed, and history repeats itself. The instances are similar, it involves the accidental death of an aboriginal youth suspected of a crime, riding a bike to flee his pursuers. They both ended bloody, breathing their last, under the cloud of injustice, be it the red sand of Kalgoorlie or the monochrome asphalt of Redfern, those who were perceived to be at fault were not blamed. The names and facts are interchangeable, but the thinking remains the same.

The first peoples are second class citizens, and any equality is a lie the uninformed tell themselves.

One of the issues is how we’re perceived to be seen, namely our coverage in the media. If we group peacefully to demonstrate, it goes unnoticed, but when we turn to violence, we’re a menace to the law abiding world. We should fear the angry black man, not reach out to him. There’s no middle ground for discussion, the only time black and white unites is under headlines, and miscarriages of justice. But nothing is done, so nothing is won. All we have is nonsense hypotheticals that do nothing to convince anyone. I’ve heard the statement What would the reaction be like if Elijah was white? peppered through conversations over the weekend. The problem with it, is that it doesn’t happen to white kids, it’s pure fantasy, and like all fantasy, you can put it down once you’ve finished reading it.

Don’t get me wrong, we appreciate the support, and something is better than nothing, but this situation presents us with yet another opportunity to heal, to come closer to each other. Hopefully, the death of Elijah will not be in vain, squandered, as the others have; but still my mind wanders. I’m wondering, this morning after the news cycle has rolled on, I’m wondering how many of you still burn with the fire of injustice, or indeed still care as much as you did yesterday.

A great number I hope. Although, its hope that kills more of us than the ruling of a judge.

If justice is truly what you seek for Elijah, then don’t let him pass.

 

Mellek Steel

Mellek Steel is a blue-collar schmo who traded the city in for the bush. Alongside his inability to write a gripping bio, he's keen on fishing and whatever footy team is presently losing the most.

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