Erwin’s comments on 40 years’ reporting of the Peacenik Protests …

Comment on Pine Gap: Important talks but who was listening? by John Bell.

Erwin’s comments on 40 years’ reporting of the Peacenik Protests at Pine Gap makes interesting reading.
With the passage of time, minus the nuclear holocaust in the Central Desert that was so gloomily predicted by the presence Pine Gap in the 60s and 70s, we have all gradually settled into our various comfort zones; ageing Peaceniks in one camp, ageing space base supporters in another; and ageing apathists back in alice – perhaps the biggest group of all – in a third camp.
Maintaining law and order, the Cops camp has settled into a low-profile, stand-by-and-look-on role, keeping a benign eye on the ageing camps, no doubt with paramedics and heart resuscitators at the ready to deal with the odd turn or three in the gathering of all those happy seniors enjoying their moment in the Red Desert.
Everyone happy, all in a good comfortable cause, together. Nothing to report here, folks. Move on, everyone.
In this modern age of symbolism and identity politics, the media attention-grabbing burning of beds and crashing the gates in Pink Simcas is but a fond memory.
We do not have a modern day Bernadette Devlin to mount the barricades or storm the citadel of the Establishment, whether it be Yank, Soviet or Mandarin.
Which makes Erwin’s call for public debate on the Pine Gap facility, and for that matter, Putin in the Ukraine, the Chinese sovereignty push in the South China Sea, the increasing Chinese financial interests in our ports, natural resources and residential CBDs in our major cities, India in the cricket Establishment – all the more relevant, all the more urgent.

Recent Comments by John Bell

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
@ Evelyne Roullet. Yes. Could not agree more.
Used to meet Mrs Higgins at the gate, every year, at the sports on Bangtail Muster Day and at the gate at Traeger Park, for 31 years.
Wonderful memories of a great lady who put her heart and soul into all the kids of Alice. The Youth Centre and the Gap Centre. Great places.


Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
@ Evelyne Roullet. I bet that the late Mrs Joan Higgins, a WW2 nurse who nursed the wounded in Alice, and whose Youth Centre sits under the shade of ANZAC Hill where so many town kids came together for sport, would be looking down and smiling on your beaut idea.


Will we say sorry to the Abandoned Generation in 10 years?
@ An Alice extended-family member. Thank you for perhaps one of the most thoughtful and compassionate comments that I have ever had the good fortune to read on the saddest of all social issues – the dysfunction and tragic breakdown of family – whether in the Aboriginal or wider community. Your comment is now pinned to my cerebral noticeboard for future reference and citing.


Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
@James T Smerk. Conjecture on the appropriate hill to fly the Aboriginal flag is intriguing. Anzac Hill is the highest hill in the heart of the town of Alice which has a majority non-Aboriginal permanent population on my understanding of the urban stats. Spencer Hill and Billygoat Hill are in town too.

The two high points on the MacDonnell Range either side of the Stuart Highway as you come through The Gap or even Mt Gillen would seem to me to be a better place more representative of the bigger traditional Aboriginal population of Central Australia outside the immediate built-up town precincts. Harold’s view on this would be interesting. Certainly, these latter places would help to defuse the highly contentious debate around the commemoration of the fallen on Anzac Day.


Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
Harold Thomas’ opinion would be interesting. I’m sure he would see his creation as a symbol of unity and welcome.

All fair dinkum Australians want unity and harmony. The views of the originators of the ‘Welcome to Country’ idea, Ernie Dingo and Richard Wally, would also be illuminating


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