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What if? Reversing the gaze on a newly appointed premier

NEW SOUTH WALES, a progressive state in Multi-cultural Australia NSW is going to have a new premier as ABC1  reports.,  he is a staunch Catholic having 6 children and coming from a family of 13 children. We wish him all the best. However, one cannot wonder how the reporting would have been if the Premier was an Indian, Hindu, conservative, wouldn’t his ancestry, religion, history, cow, curry and caste been brought in the narrative. Let’s take a moment to reverse the gaze and see how the reporting would have been in the same narrative.

The Premier has secured a deal that will see him become the state’s 46th premier and Gladys Berejiklian’s successor, 1  He is from staunch conservative Catholic hailing from a family of 13 and having 6 children himself. Catholics consider family planning a sin and believe that God has created men and women to procreate to spread the name of the only true son of God, Jesus. Population control is seen as a sin by the Church and Pope Benedict XVI was against the use of condoms to prevent aids in Africa.

True to his faith in 2019, “he voted against decriminalising abortion” 1. In 2019, Savita Halappanavar, a 31 year-old Indian woman died at the Galway hospital in Ireland, after being denied a life-saving abortion, on grounds that Ireland was a Catholic Country. 3

“As a child he attended the Roman Catholic school Redfield College in Dural. The school’s chaplain is an Opus Dei priest. Opus Dei is recognised as part of the Catholic Church, and has historically been accused of secrecy, elitism and misogyny”1. The aim of Opus Dei is to contribute to the evangelizing mission of the Church. The method of evangelising natives by the Church has almost always been with violence and colonising through superior military force as seen by the genocide of natives in Americas, Africa, and Australia. Despite the Church being a major influencer in the events it often distances from the atrocities claiming such acts of genocide were “un Christian” when oppressed begin to have their voice heard as seen in  the case of Nazi Germany and Hitler. The Church views the spread of gospel and evangelising as an act of God, ordained by God, while disparagingly referring to cultural and spiritual resistance to its doctrine as terrorists or heathen or Hindu nationalists and so on.

“Last year he spoke about how his devout Catholic beliefs have had a fundamental influence on his work in politics. “I think having a Christian faith is part of who I am and inspires me to make a difference wherever I go,” 1  he said.  Historically monotheistic have belittled other faiths as heathens, idolaters, Satanic and have set upon destroying native Temples of worship, occupied lands, went on an aggressive evangelisation program of “uplifting heathens” by taking children from their families to be raised in a missionary to forget their roots as exposed in the “stolen generations program” 4.

In his inaugural speech he said “I believe in freedom, because it is only by exercising freedom that individuals can develop the habits of generosity, hard work, fairness and concern for others,” 1. We hope the freedom expands to Mutual respect extending to all Australians to practice their faith and philosophies instead of being branded a heathen, Satanic.

Readers should note this is neither a criticism of the Premier nor of the Catholic Church, but penned to reverse the gaze on attitudes of reporting, questioning Western narratives in post-colonial era, effectively holding a mirror to the dominant media and narrators. The media which brands an Indian Hindu MP as Hindu Nationalist for sporting a traditional tilak or saffron would not extend the same insolence to a former Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbot’s aspiration to become a Priest5.

One could be excused for wondering if the media is delusional in its claim of being a machinery for scientific enquiry when it continues its obsession to the concept of a true and false gods and destroying idolaters as see by its silence on the Papua New Guineas ban on Hindu festivals as a forbidden form of idolatry6.

Technology has given the colonial underdogs a voice, the mysteries confronting mankind are no longer confined to a true or false, black or white, true god and false god response, realising there many degrees of truth, different shades and colours and infinite philosophies, and the way for peace and harmony is through mutual respect not mutual scorn. 

Chinua Achebe said “Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” the lions have their historian now and its time humans started listening to them.


1 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-03/meet-dominic-perrottet-will-be-next-nsw-remier/100510952 

2BBC NEWS Pope tells Africa ‘condoms wrong’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7947460.stm

3Woman dies after abortion request ‘refused’ at Galway hospital – BBC News https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-20321741

4The Stolen Generations | AIATSI https://aiatsis.gov.au/explore/stolen-generations

5 The Economic Times: Australian New PM Tony Abbots Old Ties with India https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/australias-new-pm-tony-abbotts-old-ties-with-india/articleshow/22731845.cms

6Christian country Papua New Guinea Covid controller first denies permission for Durga Puja because of ‘idol worship’, apologises later: https://www.opindia.com/2021/10/papua-new-guinea-pandemic-controller-apologises-hindus-permission-durga-puja-christianity/

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