Ben Moretti on 24 Jul 2000 03:35:43 -0000

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<nettime> The SOCOG Follies

 The SOCOG Follies
 by Ray Jackson 

 posted 4/6/00 (Reprinted from Djadi-Dugarang, Newsletter of the Indigenous
 Social Justice Association.)

 On the 6TH March I was invited to attend a meeting, along with four other
 Indigenous people, to meet with representatives of SOCOG Security at
 their security bunker in the old Fairfax building situated in Ultimo,

 The meeting began late, as usual, and quickly degenerated into a classic
 exercise and example of the Secret English Syndrome. I do not intend to
 name those with whom I attended the meeting, but on their side there was
 the self-identified Security Supremo, Roland Tisdale,
 Superintendent---Precinct Commander, Sydney Olympic Park/Sydney
 West Precinct. He sits under the umbrella of the NSW Police Service
 Olympic Security Command Centre. He further claims to be at the head of
 a 25000+ security "army" to protect the interests, commercial and
 otherwise, of SOCOG, along with the "protection" of the mismanagers of
 the Follies. 

 Also representing the interests of SOCOG at the meeting was Gary Ella,
 Programme Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Relations.
 There were of course others present but it was Roland and Gary that
 mainly spoke in support of the SOCOG dream. An authoritarian nightmare
 with no apology. 

 We five were asked to identify ourselves, our particular organisations and
 our "interest" in attending this meeting. I stated that, along with tens of
 thousands of others, both Indigenous and non- Indigenous, we fully
 intended to peacefully march into the Homebush site, their "sacred site,"
 and that we wanted this to happen without putting our Elders, women and
 children at any risk of any physical assault from their forces. It was
 strongly put by our five that we would most definitely march in and we
 accepted that we had the moral and innate right to do so. 

 Tisdale then, very quietly, asked what was our intention, and the intention
 of the tens of thousands of those who would join us, once we had marched
 into the prohibited SOCOG areas, both within and without the Homebush

 Our reply was very clear and precise. That having marched into the
 Homebush site, hopefully unmolested, we then intended to march around
 the site and then camp in and on the Traditional Land that they have named
 Bicentennial Park. After proper discussion, representatives would be
 selected to remain at the Bicentennial Park site to be in an ideal situation
 to allow our representatives to be able to truthfully educate the many
 overseas and Australian visitors to the site. Our representatives would also
 be in the ideal place to truthfully educate the overseas and Australian

 We explained that this was absolutely necessary to allow us to truthfully
 explain to all that for 212+ years the Indigenous Peoples of this Land,
 Traditional Land, have suffered the genocidal actions of our black and
 white history, and that the current howard Government was most racist in
 its actions and nature. We could no longer accept with equanimity the
 constant rewriting of our shared history in a most futile and divisive
 attempt to deny us our Human Rights, Culture and Land. 

 Their reaction was instant. Apoplectic indignation. No way, under no
 circumstances would ANY protesters, Indigenous or otherwise, be
 permitted to enter the Homebush site. The only Indigenous people allowed
 inside would be the Indigenous Olympians, security cleared Indigenous
 invited guests, (not too many either, I reckon), and those Indigenes who
 have paid their way. (and who have been security checked, I assume). 

 Much discussion revolved around the question of numbers,---theirs and
 ours and where "we" may be legally(?) able to camp. The sporting ovals of
 La Perouse and Blacktown were seen by them to be obviously suitable sites
 at which we could camp, if we were allowed to of course. It became
 extremely difficult to keep a straight face! 

 We were informed that they had, roughly, a 25000+ security force,
 including police, army, special forces, special security forces, water police,
 aerial forces and, perhaps more dangerously, the "legal empowering" of
 the hundreds of "volunteers", to be given more powers than the police have
 now. These "volunteers" will include lunatic racist KKK types who will
 go out of their way to harass those who fit their warped thinking for
 special treatment. 

 These Temporary Enforcement Officers, (TEO`s) will be given sweeping
 powers to monitor and keep a tight control over the SOCOG prescribed
 areas. Most of Sydney it appears. 

 Hawkers, street vendors and buskers become persona non grata and will be
 moved on. Unless perhaps they agree to subscribe to the Games with a split
 of monies earnt. The TEO`s will be given the dubious right to control
 entry of people and vehicles to all the prescribed sites. Penalties range to
 more than $5,000. 

 On the spot fines of $200 will be able to be made against pedestrians and
 vehicles entering closed roads/footpaths. They will be able to search
 people, and to obtain names, and addresses of people entering the
 prescribed sites, including bag searches, etc. Those whom are perceived -
 proof not required - to be causing an annoyance or inconvenience to
 ANYONE can be and will be removed from said sites. 

 Did I miss the curfew if you happen to be seen as a non-Olympian person
 and have no commercial interest in the Huff-n-Puff? 

 We informed Tisdale that a ratio of 4:1 against his "army" was fair enough
 odds, even though our numbers would very much include our Elders, our
 Women and our Youth. Hence our attempt for a win-win outcome for all.
 If such was possible. 

 The next bombardment from their trenches was that we may be able to
 camp OUTSIDE of the Olympic Site as long as we kept our numbers to
 "roughly 200". 

 These 200 would somehow control the other 99,800 of our Brothers and
 Sisters to camp elsewhere and allow the chosen ones to speak for them.
 Perhaps they could assist us to obtain "council permits" to camp at
 Bressington and Mason Parks outside the Site perimeter. 

 The Site perimeter as it was explained to us included Homebush Bay
 Drive, Western Motorway, Silverwater Road and either or even both the
 Parramatta River and Victoria Road. 

 We salvoed back that we would all March into the Site because it was our
 right to do so. It was, after all, Aboriginal Land - Always Was, Always
 Will Be Land Never Ceded. They were not too thrilled to hear that. We
 then further informed them that under no circumstances could we, or
 would be, even attempt to "control" our Peoples. We spoke only for our
 own mobs {mine being ISJA] and what the other mobs would do was up to
 them. In 1988 we marched in peace, in 2000 we would do the same. If we
 are but given the chance. 

 We explained to them that the parks outside the Perimeter would be
 dangerous for our mobs. Apart from the TEO's giving us a hard time, there
 was also practically a guarantee that the right wing lunatic fringe would be
 out to attack us for daring to stand up for our rights. Weapons would be
 used by these fringe groups and in those parks our People, including our
 Elders, Women and Children could possibly be attacked, even to death.
 The camp inside the Site at Bicentennial Park is the safest place for our
 mobs. And we will camp there. 

 Now there are perhaps three scenarios by which we can obtain the camping
 site inside: 

 The first scenario, certainly my (our) preferred scenario, is that the
 security managers, (those who will best understand the complexities of the
 situation), will be able to convince the politicians that to attempt to stop
 us marching into the Site would be both an Australian and International
 disaster. The world media will be present in great numbers, whether they
 are approved or not approved, and SOCOG security has already accepted
 that we can all sit on King Inland in the Bass Strait and the media will
 come to us. Access to the media is not the problem. 

 That is not the aim of the March and the camp. Our right, our inalienable
 right to march into the Site and to camp there is really non-negotiable.
 What is negotiable is how it is to be done with the least aggravation to all.

 I do not want to stop or to get up a boycott on the Games. Kathy and the
 others will do our mobs proud. They will win gold, and even if they
 don`t---so what? At least they were a part of the best, and always will be.

 The SOCOG gurus, Knight and the other brainwashed and/or braindead
 sycophants of the SOCOG Follies, will need to be convinced that when
 they mouth the rhetoric of "our games", then we happily accept that they
 are in fact "our games." Common sense, logic and a moral acceptance---a
 Human Rights acceptance---must be brought to the fore. We will be
 doing what we quite simply need to do. We need to make the people of
 Australia and the World acutely aware that we have Survived; we ARE
 here; it is still Our Land. To highlight the ongoing racism still being
 perpetrated against us by the Australian Society/Culture and its so-called
 leaders, especially howard and herron. 

 To highlight the plethora of problems that still beset our mobs in the areas
 of health, housing, education, employment and our absolute right to access
 our Traditional Lands. To highlight the racist justice systems of this Land
 that perpetuates the genocide and the smashing of our Families, Law, Lore
 and Culture. To highlight that approximately 300+ Families are seeking
 answers, real and true answers, as to how their loved one died in custody,
 dating back only 20 years. 

 Where is the pride, or whatever, for those who are pushed to the
 extremities of Australian Society; who have been robbed of their
 birthrights; are alienated and then "blamed" for the nightmare that our
 lives have become. 

 Our joint history is rewritten to better suit the "white-blindfold view" We
 need ALL to listen and hear Our Stories, Our Life. It is for this we are
 being denied access to the site. They hope to keep us as hidden as possible,
 for their systems know no shame. They certainly do not accept our need for
 full, open and mutually respectful power sharing. 

 It is up to SOCOG Security and their Masters to come to terms with OUR
 needs and then allow those needs to come to fruition. That will bring kudos
 to us all. A first firm footstep on the road to a real Justice based

 The second scenario is a Clayton's scenario. That we accept the role that
 SOCOG and its political Masters, along with other politicians, have set for
 us as artists, dancers, musicians and sports men/women. Nothing else. We
 all "hide" from public view AND "do what is right for the Games." The
 200 somehow control the 99800 and the crimes and moral cowardice of
 our political leaders (sic) are swept under the National Carpet. For the
 good of all of course. The National Psychosis in all its resplendent glory.

 Forget it! It is never going to happen. EVER! 

 The third scenario, their scenario, is the one I fear most. Violence.
 Premeditated violence. Violence with malice aforethought. Civil violence
 perpetrated upon us by the misnamed guardians of the law and order. Their
 law, their order. 

 Tisdale, backed up by his silent sentinels at the meeting, is obdurate. One
 black foot on to the Olympic site, (white land?), and we will be stopped. 

 Whatever the cost. Whatever the pain. Their words, not ours. 

 In the cross discussion that tends to occur at these events, as they play their
 favourite game of splitting the opposing numbers so that there are three or
 four discussions at once, it was stated that they, SOCOG Security, had
 hired "every black security group in Australia," or at least those who could
 not or would not recognise the pitfalls inherent in their role. 

 The day or days, (which we will pick), dawns brightly as they say. Our
 mobs are swelled by thousands upon thousands of trade unionists, Left
 groups, ethnic groups, Women's groups, gay, lesbian and transgender
 groups---all the unsatisfied and vilified masses that will join us IN
 SUPPORT of our struggles. It must be clearly understood and accepted by
 all non-Indigenous peoples that whilst we will welcome their support with
 open arms, the time and timing is ours. We want you with us in support, in
 solidarity, in respect of our current needs. 

 We ask that you remember our March of 1988. To emulate that March
 must be the goal of all. We will lead the march into the Homebush site.
 There is basically only one way to get to our camping ground. We march
 into the Australia Street entrance, left into Sarah Durack Avenue, right
 into the Olympic Boulevard, past the stadiums, right into Kevin Coombs
 Avenue and Marjorie Parkway, thence down (aptly) Bennelong Road to our
 Bicentennial Park campsite. Which will have already been set up for us. 
 Facing us will be thousands of police, army, specials and other well-
 trained forces to break us up, to force us back and out. Our Elders Women
 and Youth will be with us all the way. I am cynical enough to expect that
 the black security groups---Maoris, Pacific Islanders, Africans and
 others, perhaps even including our own Indigenous groups- --will be put
 in the front line. At the vanguard of their forces. It has always humoured
 them immensely to watch blacks belt the shit out of blacks. It always has

 It is not in our nature to emulate Ghandi or the Rev. Martin Luther King
 Jnr. We have only survived because we have fought, and I believe, because
 our strong, proud women have fought---and they and us will fight again
 and again. The gaols and police lock-ups will not hold us. The Courts can
 do their worst. Such repeated displays of historical violence against our
 mobs will only attract more and more of our people and our supporters
 until we absolutely choke the filthy racist system that has denigrated us
 and denied us Justice for 212 years. 

 It seems that the Systems have not and will not learn. 1982? or 1988? 

 There will be violence, but not initiated by us. Innocents will possibly die.
 There will be bloodshed. The bottled up frustration and hate will erupt
 from both sides in a blind fury. There will indeed be Sorry Business on
 both sides. 

 All this and possibly more will happen. We will march into the Homebush
 site and we will sit on Our Land. The choice lies with SOCOG. I have
 heard that there is some already talking retaliation against any violence
 that is used against us. Using your terrorist tools against you. I personally,
 and I know that I speak for many others, do not want violence under any
 circumstances, but we do claim the Human Right of self-defence. 

 We cannot turn the clock back 212 years, that is an impossibility. What
 must be possible is that we accept and recognise our respective strengths
 and weaknesses and work together as one. Sharing the power of power
 sharing for a true, just and lasting real Reconciliation and not the ignorance
 and insult of the howard Government. 

 Should SOCOG Security go the way of intimidation and violence as an
 answer to what in reality is their problem, then the final flimsy vestiges of
 the ersatz Reconciliation processes that some are still attempting to breathe
 life into will be obliterated for perhaps another one or two hundred years.

 The choice belongs to SOCOG and the politicians. 

 1982 or 1988. Which? ISJA asks for letters of support for a peaceful
 resolution to our rights to march and to camp to be sent to Roland Tisdale
 at Sydney 2000 Olympic Headquarters, Level 8, 235 Jones Street Ultimo
 2007. Copies to Knight, Carr and anyone else you care to and of course, a
 copy to ISJA. We only have a short time to truly turn "our games" into
 Our Games. Let us all work to allow SOCOG to see reason in our just
 request for a non-violent Games. I would assume that SOCOG has their
 "spies" everywhere but in case they may have missed it I bring to the
 notice of all the following information which is titled WALKING THE

 "This historic walk is a journey for peace, freedom and healing the land
 and its peoples. We walk for the sovereign rights of Aboriginal peoples to
 our land and our culture. The walk will begin from the shores of Lake Eyre
 on 10 June 2000, walking to the Sydney Olympic Games, arriving
 September 2000. We are walking in honour and respect for our ancient
 rights and law ways, for freedom and our obligation as carers for our

 As we walk in the footsteps of our ancestors and the tracks of the animals
 and the flight paths of the birds, we will travel from the old lake, crossing
 deserts, sandhills, plains, ranges and crossing the mountains to the sea. WE
 OF COUNTRY. We will carry the peace fire to heal and warm the hearts
 of all peoples. All peoplesare welcome to come and join the walk, to share
 this experience. Bring your message to the world, your spiritual symbols,
 music, songs, dances, poetry, swag, transport, food, medicines and love for

 On 19 June we will travel from the shores of Lake Eyre, walking to Maree,
 Copley, Nepabunna, Beverley Uranium Mine, Lake Frome, Broken Hill,
 Wilcannia, Moree, Dubbo and onto Sydney. At each community we will
 be joined by the traditional carers for the country and all other peoples are
 welcome to join the walk at any point along the journey. 

 The walk will be led by Arabunna Elder, Kevin Buzzacott" 

 I have a 10 page document which sets out the information on the March
 and other information on KOLE, (Keepers of Lake Eyre), and Uncle
 Kevin's charges by the Adelaide police for loitering on an Adelaide street
 corner! Contact me on 0293180947 and I will send a copy of it to you.
 Uncle Kevin is seeking your help to bring this WALKING THE LAND to
 fruition. He can be contacted at PO Box 28 Maree 5733. South Australia.
 Phone 0417838906. 

 Roland and Gary. Our respective Dreams have begun. 

 passed onto the realgames crew by;
 Louise Boon-Kuo
 UTS Community Law and Legal Research Centre 

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