Sunday, February 14, 2010

Alison Anderson

Alison Anderson might be another soap opera star. I have this feeling I had a bit of temporary insanity, and added a bunch of soap opera people at once.

Oh! I'm totally wrong this time. She is not a soap opera star. Lord Wiki says she's a politician.

It looks like she's also Aboriginal.

Lord Wiki doesn't provide a birthdate for Anderson, but he says she was born in a remote community called Haasts Bluff. That's located in the Northern Territory. According to Google Maps, that's about three and a half hours west of Alice Springs.'

As Anderson grew up, she lived in other communities as well. These include Hermannsburg and Papunya. Lord Wiki reminds me that Hermannsburg is where Albert Namatjira was born.

I'm looking at Google Maps again. Hermannsburg is closer into Alice Springs. It's about two hours west from there. Then with Papunya, we jump back out west again. That one is four hours from Alice Springs.

Eventually Anderson moved to Alice Springs to attend school. I'm not sure if she did this alone, or with her family. Lord Wiki says she went to Traeger Park School, Alice Springs High School, and St. Phillip's College.

 I'm looking at St. Phillip's homework policy. I like what they say here: It is emphasised that students in Years 7-9 should not be staying up late, losing sleep or using all their valuable recreation time to cope with homework. Any problem with time should be promptly communicated to the school.

Students in years 10-12 are expected to have much more homework. I guess they're recreation time is less valuable?

Anderson later received a degree from Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education. I don't think I've heard of that school before. Lord Wiki says it's the first body of higher education controlled by Aboriginal Australians. It's also unique in that most of it's students are over thirty, and a high proportion of them are female. I'm a big supporter of older adults furthering their education. My belief is that's when people SHOULD get their university education. I think young adults need to take time off from school and do some working, traveling, and soul searching. I think few young adults know what they want to do with their lives. That's probably why we have so many people RETURNING to school wanting a whole different degree from what they originally got. It's like we're paying double for our education. Maybe that' s how the schools like it. They end up with more money.

I wonder how old Anderson was when she got her degree.....

When she was finished, she returned to Papunya. I don't know if I'm pronouncing it right, but I like how it sounds when I say it aloud.

Anderson became Chief Executive Officer of Papunya's Community Council.

I'm going to read what Lord Wiki has to say about Papunya.

He says there are about three hundred people living there. Many of them are displaced from the Pintupi and Luritja tribes.

Papunya is one of those restricted areas. You need a permit to enter. I wonder how hard it is to get one of these permits.

It's one of those places that were set up so the government could feel okay with pushing people away from their land. The area was set up in 1950. By 1970, it was an area of poverty and problems. If I'm reading this right though, things slowly began to improve. Papunya became famous for art. Lord Wiki says there's an art cooperative thing called Papunya Tula. Here's their website.

I think I'll get back to that a little later. Let me continue with Anderson...before I get way too sidetracked.

It looks like she was a strong advocate for the community. In the 1990's, she engaged in conflicts with the Country Liberal Party regarding electricity, education, and health services.

In 1999, Anderson was elected to be the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Commissioner for the Northern Territory Central Zone. In this role, she helped with the creation of an ATSIC women's advisory board.

Anderson tried to get higher up in the organization. She tried to be chairman. And when that didn't work out, she tried for deputy chairman. That didn't work for her either. Lord Wiki says she supported the government's plan to abolish ATSIC. It looks like she saw it as a reform move, rather than a full abolishment. She was not happy when she learned the government planned to replace it with a simple consultative committee. Yeah. I'm not too pleased with that either.

In 2004, Anderson tried to get into the Northern Territory Parliament. How did that turn out? I gotta read, and find out.

She got it. It was quite a struggle though. The seat she went for was MacDonnell. And she still has it. Originally, she represented the Labor Party. Now she's an independent. That wasn't the struggle. The struggle involved allegations regarding her husband being corrupt. That can be a blow to one's campaign. But in the end, it didn't hurt her. She got the seat.

Oh....I just read further. The difficulties didn't end with her getting into Parliament. The accusations continued. There was belief that Anderson's husband had misused funds in Papunya. By this time, Anderson and her husband had separated. Not only that. Anderson had gotten a restraining order against the guy. I wonder what was going on there. Did she believe him to be guilty? I wonder if that's what caused the problems in their marriage.

Well, Mr. Husband fought back. He accused Anderson of being corrupt as well. AND he said she bribed elders during her campaign. Yikes. I'm guessing she's believed to be innocent....well, since she's in office. Either that, or people see her as better than the alternatives.

Lord Wiki says the government investigated and found her innocent. But allegations persisted in the media. This is something I mentioned in comments later. It's really not about trial by jury. It's trial by media. By next week, any one of us can be world famous for committing a crime we never commited. That's a terrifying thought.

In August 2009, Anderson resigned from the Labor Party. She said she did it because she wasn't happy with the government. But also, she was hurt that the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory didn't speak in her defense when a journalist named Nigel Adlam said bad things about her. Yeah. I know. Silence can sometimes hurt more than harsh words. At least I feel that way. I wonder why he didn't speak up. Did he agree with the article? I wouldn't want people to speak up dishonestly. Lying and fakeness is no good. But if they don't speak up, I assume people are not in support of me. So my feeling is if they DO support me, they should say something so I don't jump to the wrong conclusion and feel unnecessary sadness.

Anytime I pour out my heart and people say nothing, I assume they think I'm absolutely ridiculous. Anytime people say bad things about me and others stay silent, I assume the others agree with those who said bad things. That's just the way I perceive things. Those with healthier self-esteem surely interpret things differently.

Here's an article from ABC news about Anderson quitting. The editorial that criticized Anderson was racist. So it's not just about Anderson feeling she wasn't supported. It's about her feeling that the Chief Minister wasn't standing up against racism.

Now there are arguments over whether the piece was actually racist. Oh goodness. It's a debate that's impossible to solve. Who can determine what is racist or not. I haven't yet seen the editorial, so I can't make my own judgments. And if I did see it and had an opinion, I couldn't make everyone agree with me. Plus, I'm not Aboriginal....so who am I to judge? It's like I think I'm a better judge at what is antisemitic compared to someone who is not Jewish. But even then, I can't speak for all Jews. What I find to be anti-semitic, other Jews might feel it is totally Kosher.

Here's the newspaper (Northern Territory News) that had the editorial written by Nigel Adlam. Maybe I can find it?

No, I didn't find it.

Oh well.

Wait. I spelled the guy's name wrong. Oops. Let me try again.

I think I found it. It's from 1 August, and Anderson resigned on 4 August.

I read it. It's harsh. This line I might question. I squirm with embarrassment at the way our elected indigenous politicians behave. Yeah. I think I would call that part racist. He's targeting a whole group of people. On the other hand, I think he makes sense when he says Many Territorians are wary of discussing the shenanigans going on within the NT Government because the key players are all Aboriginal and there is a fear of being branded racist.

It's all a very fine line. We should be able to criticize people and situations without automatically being accused of racism. But before we criticize we need to make sure we're not actually being racist.

Am I making sense? Probably not. I'm trying to think of a way I can explain myself, and I'm failing. Maybe someone out there can read my mind and tell me what I'm trying to say. I'd appreciate it.

Here's an analogy. This might help. Let's say someone criticizes Israel. That doesn't mean they're necessarily anti-semitic. People should be able to criticize Israel....just like people criticize other countries. Israel shouldn't be seen as above reproach. BUT what if this person criticizes Israel excessively and doesn't criticize other countries that do the same things. Then I'd say that they ARE anti-semitic.

If someone is too scared to criticize an Aboriginal politician because they're afraid they'll be seen as racist, then that's not right. On the other hand, if people are too eager to criticize Aboriginal politicians, and they don't much criticize white ones, who do the same negative stuff,....I would assume they're racist.

Let me move on.

I think I'm done with politics and racism for now. I'm going to go back to the Papunya Tula site. You know I just remembered that I read on Lord Wiki that Anderson is an artist as well. I wonder if any of her work is on here. Or maybe I'll search through Google Images. No, I'm not finding anything there....just photos of Anderson herself.

I'll just look at work by other artists.

I'm looking for stuff that I like. So far, most of it's too abstract for me. I think I like the traditional styles of Aboriginal Art BECAUSE it's Aboriginal, and not because I actually like how it looks. I guess that's sort of racist. See, that's how I'm racist. I rarely dislike someone or something because of it's ethnicity. I'm more the type who is attracted to someone or something because of their/its ethnic origins.

This painting is kind of interesting. It reminds me of something biological....like a virus.

This is quite mesmerizing. I could probably stare at it for a long time.

I like this. It makes me think of a comb and lice.

This is kind of like doing a Rorschach test.

This one makes me think of England in medieval times. I don't know why. Maybe it's the colors.

I like this one. It seems to have a figure hidden in the background. Or maybe that's just my overactive imagination.

And I see a calf hidden in this one. It's on the right. Does anyone else see it? Am I totally losing my mind?

I better stop looking. I might start hallucinating or something.

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