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Old 02-20-2004, 05:57 AM   #1
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Redfern Riot

Redfern, Sydney has always had an Aboriginal population. I have a photo somewhere of my father as a child with his Aboriginal schoolmates, all neat and clean in their school uniforms, in the 1940ís in Redfern.

Somewhere between the 1940ís and now Ďití all seems to have deteriotated and I donít understand why.

We have a Perth suburb called Cullacarbardee which periodically flares up. But the gist of the problem is that many different (and sometimes feuding) Aboriginal families have all been dumped in together in inappropriate housing. Basically a huge cock up by the government. Cullacarbardee was destined to fail. I will be highly surprised if it ever functions.

But Redfern is an old suburb. Once upon a time it was a functional suburb. What I donít understand is Ė what happened? Why has there been so many tussles with the police over the last twenty or so years. Arenít the smiling, well behaved children in my fathers photo the grandparents of the current adolescents? What has destroyed their souls? Or is it the police? Or both? Or wot?

Its all very sad whatever it is. And I donít think sending in more cops is ever the solution.
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Old 02-20-2004, 08:30 AM   #2
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I am very interested but not very well-informed about this situation in Austrilia. Could somebody fill me in with an unbiased view? Thanks.
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Old 02-20-2004, 09:13 AM   #3
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The incident which sparked this riot Beli is talking about, was because a young Aboriginal youth died after impaling himself on one of those horrid spike fences. A police patrol was cruising the area, known as The Block and the young man who was on a push bike pedalled off but fell and landed on the fence. The police are maintaining they were not in persuit and the young man was mistaken and it was a horrible accident, but many in the local Aboriginal community are of the opinion this is not the case and they were harrassing him, thus causing his death. The evening after which it happened, the first riot started and a stand-off between the police and many young kids occured, with missiles and molotovs etc being hurled at them. It went on for something like 6 hours and everybody has an opinion on it one way or another. That's the gist of this particular part of the story.
The larger picture has a lot to do with history as Beli described. Sydney over the last century and maybe more has had a habit of placing all ethnic groups together, in whichever location that might be. It has been no different with Aboriginals. The Block was built as a unit of flats to house them all, built poorly, with little else to assist the community. It has become an equivilant I suppose of a Bronx. Crime is high, poverty is rife and the locals are incredibly pissed off. I could sit here all night typing descriptions of all the issues which surround this whole problem, going right back in Australia's history. The whole area, The Block should be condemned. It's not a view I am alone in. Even the locals feel this. It has been a spectacular failure in so many ways.
No matter what the truth is with the latest flare up and this riot (being the police failing to act accordingly, or him being unfortunately mistaken), this young man dying was at least as a result of the environment so many of them have little choice in living in. No matter where someone's bias might be, I'd think anyone would agree the whole situation is incrdedibly sad and needs urgent attention.
I'm not sure which aspect of the whole thing you wanted some info on wolfwill, the history or news on this actual incident. I can look up some different news articles if you are interested, and dig around for some good sites with info on it in general if you prefer.
Has this made the news overseas?
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Old 02-20-2004, 10:44 AM   #4
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I haven't seen anything about this in the local Birmingham newspapers Angela. It may have been in the New York Times or another bigger paper. How dreadful.
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Old 02-20-2004, 06:44 PM   #5
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So do you think its an architecture thing in Redfern too? Like Cullacarbardee?
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Old 02-20-2004, 07:06 PM   #6
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There was a brief mention of the incident on CNN but I heard about it in alot more detail on the BBC World News. It's a very sad situation. Something fishy was going on with the police in Redfern that night.
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Old 02-20-2004, 08:14 PM   #7
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Not a good situation. In the Brisbane paper today was a whole section about people here planning what to do in the event of a similar riot. Scary stuff ... and I agree with you, Beli, that more police are not going to solve the problem. If anything they'll make it worse.
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Old 02-20-2004, 08:21 PM   #8
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Thats sad. Instead of planning how to combat a riot 'they' should be thinking of ways to fix the situation so it doesnt flare up into a riot.

I havent bought our paper today, yet. Im sure there will be some similar crap in our paper too.
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Old 02-21-2004, 07:57 AM   #9
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To be honest Beli, I am not familiar with Cullacarbardee. I've heard of it, but dont know a great deal about it. It wasn't the development the government built only to have it burned to the ground (and then rebuilt) a while later? The Block has architecture as one problem, sure. I think, anyway. I've sometimes wondered what kind of data exists on people living in medium and high density housing, and I'm sure it exists, but in a very simplified view you cannot put in a group of people with many generations of resentment and angst, mix in alcohol and drugs, lack of ammenities and services (strange when you consider it is a stone's throw from the heart of Sydney's CBD), unemployment and a sense that this is all not worth living for - you end up with a cauldron ready to boil over at any given moment. Honestly, the whole place should be bulldozed. It is a disgrace.
This whole debate on the actions of the police is becoming more political fodder. Walk a mile, is all I'd say on it. It cuts 2 ways.
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