The Elders report into Preventing Self-harm & Indigenous suicide. Indigenous youth suicide in Australia has now risen to become one of the highest in the world. In the Kimberley alone there is one attemped Indigenous suicide per week. The percentage of Indigenous suicide has increased from 5% of total suicide in 1991 to 50% in 2010. The most dramatic increase was in youth aged 10 – 24, where the percentage of Indigenous youth suicide increased from 10% in 1991 to 80% in 2010. The suicide incidence in relation to gender shows that 91 per cent of Indigenous suicides were male victims and 9% female victims from 2000–2005. The relationship changed in the 2006–2010 period, with 82% male and 18% female, with half the female suicides under the age of 17 years, an emerging trend. “Girls now account for a previously unheard of 40 per cent of all suicides of children under the age of 17 – an unprecedented rate in Northern Territory indigenous communities. The proportion of indigenous girls committing suicide in the Territory is now the highest in the Western world.” Dr Howard Bath, Children’s Commissioner for the Northern Territory, February 2012. Non-existent 20 years ago, it is now a social issue that is tearing communities and families apart across remote, regional and urban Aboriginal Australia. Survival of traditional cultural life in these Communities is now at crossroads, urgent action is needed. Government approaches to Aboriginal mental health are not working. Communities are calling out to be heard, and for community-led solutions to be supported. The Elders and Community leaders understand many of the causes behind the self harm and suicide phenomenon and are asking to lead in the healing process of their people. The Culture is Life campaign has been spearheaded by Indigenous Elders to create a solutions-based report (film, photography and written) on community perspectives for preventing, and ultimately ending, Indigenous youth suicide. 32 Elders from across Australia were chosen by their Communities to be involved in the report. The Elders healing solutions have been recorded and directly transcribed to build the report (there are no non-Indigenous voices within this report). Funds are now needed to design, print and distribute the report to all members of the State and Federal parliament as well as key stakeholders in the medical, academic and legal communities. The report features a foreword by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mr Mick Gooda and Introduction by Prof Pat Dudgeon, Co chair Aboriginal Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group, Commissioner National Mental Health Commission. http://www.cultureislife.org – See more at: http://startsomegood.com/Venture/culture_is_life/Campaigns/Show/culture_is_life_elders_report#sthash.KUrFM9aq.dpuf
A four part strategy to systematically destroy a group of already victimised and traumatised people:
- Spread false information about these people and withhold the truth.
- Refer to them publically as illegal immigrants, queue-jumpers and economic migrants. Allow the public to expand on these words to include terms such as criminals, job-stealers, welfare-spongers and terrorists.
- Foster public opinion to believe that action needs to be taken against them.
- Round up and detain these already victimised and traumatised people, in remote places.
- Keep them in conditions which are condemned by the United Nations and Amnesty International. Hold them there indefinitely, without avenue for appeal.
- Refer to them collectively as detainees and transferees. Avoid using the term people. Refer to them individually by numbers relating to the boats they arrived on, instead of by using their names.
- Tell them every day that they will never be adequately resettled and that…
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“Northern nights of sorrow
Go on remember me, remember me
My beloved asks about me
Northern nights of sorrow
Oh, my love, I am a bird in the field
My family promised me to the sun and the street
Oh, my love”
It’s a song by Fairouz. I’ve been listening to it over and over since since yesterday. It makes me feel high, in a strange way. Maybe because the lyrics echo what’s going on in my head? The sad winter taking what’s left of our smiles, the emptiness I feel when I walk on the destroyed streets of our town, my family and my mom, who I haven’t seen in over a year and a half, and my girlfriend, my love who stopped talking to me few months ago because she fears that she’ll call asking about me one day and find that I’m dead due to shelling, starvation…
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