We were disappointed to see the lack of allies supporting the brave Aboriginal resistance at the Stolenwealth (Commonwealth) games earlier this year.
As my tired body crumpled into a hard, plastic seat at the Coolangatta airport, my friend Nish said, “You know, I think that’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
“Yeah, by a long shot,” I replied. “I’ve been thinking that all week.”
After a lingering pause, we speculated on why only a small number of non-Indigenous people, ourselves included, joined the protest camp set up by a broad coalition of Indigenous activists opposing the Commonwealth Games.
An open invitation had been sent out months earlier via the Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) Facebook page, which has over 23,000 followers. It read:
“The 2018 Stolenwealth Games will be re-invading our shores on the 4th–15th of April, 2018… Each time ‘Australia’ has hosted the games thousands of Aboriginal, Torres Straight islanders as well as other groups who have been oppressed by the crown have united to resist colonial activity and authority…
…The protest camp will be a central hub throughout the games for demonstrations, public forums and discussions, as well as workshops for cultural sharing and resistance concerts when the sun goes down. There will be showers, toilets, and kitchen facilities on site all you need to bring is your tribe, tent, all your passion and power!”
Yet, aside from the Food Not Bombs crew, who kept us all happily fed, there were only a handful of non-Indigenous activists at the camp or the daily protest actions that were staged around the Gold Coast.
As WAR noted in a call-out for more non-Indigenous allies to show up for the final days of the protest…