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Kabul Korrespondence

Fresh, factual, and funky view of Afghanistan and the surrounding Central Asian region

From my country

Monday, March 23, 2009

A good friend of mine work with native title claims in Australia. The other day we were chatting about life, what we are up to and she sent me this email, which I think sums up the situation of native title in Australia perfectly:

"Just a quick response as too busy with everything: the sad fact is that even when these guys get the Native Title, there will be mining. The only difference is that then they can get compensation and get to negotiate and be consulted on the destruction of their land. I'm working on a particularly bad case at the moment, where people say the engravings can't be moved, they were placed where they are by the old people, the spirits are still watching us and there will be serious consequences for the group if they start messing with the engravings, but the mining company say 'too bad, if you don't move them, we'll smash them'. So there is not much you can do and the negotiations are often done in the mining companies' terms. Such is the Native Title Act and the law here! Most of it is just created to protect the land owners, government and the mining companies. The locals get the scraps. Basically just a right to get heard and then some money, maybe jobs. But I still think it is worths struggling to get the Native Title, even just morally, and to legally acknowledge the real owners of the land. And things may be different in the future. I hope."

These actual engravings being are not distroyed/removed but are very similar to ones that are. They depict human and animal forms dating back around 30,000 years and permission has been granted from the traditional owners to use photo.

posted by Travis, 2:39 pm


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