Utopia (12A)

Directed by John Pilger
FACT, Liverpool
19th November 2013

Reviewed by Redskye

With a title like ‘Utopia’ I thought this documentary might be something politically positive for a change - but no, it isn’t! This ‘Utopia’ is not an idea at all but a place located in the Northern Territories of John Pilger’s homeland, Australia. John first visited Utopia back in 1985 to make the documentary “The Secret Country – The First Australians Fight Back” which you can view on YouTube. John uses ‘First Australians’ in reference to those people who, in the 21st Century, are still enduring the bad life in what he rightly calls Apartheid Australia.

I wrote many pages of scribbled notes while trying to take in what was a constant listing of undoubted “crimes against humanity’, and at times it felt like being a member of the jury in a trial. From the start I was constantly noting “Where’s the voice?” for First Australians and then noting ((another white face)). For me it took too long to hear the confident voice of a First Australian. Early on I noted one or two First Australians standing by passively while various confident middle class white experts, representatives, or other professionals, were interviewed about the living conditions of First Australians, and it painfully poked me in the eye while shouting silently in my head how utterly downtrodden most of them still are.

John conducted informal street interviews with typical white Australians, and their sheer arrogance and disconnection from First Australians was astounding and showed quite clearly how the media and press (which Rupert Murdoch has a 70% control over) have brainwashed the Australian public. Australians from European backgrounds expressed little sympathy for and even less understanding of First Australians. One ignorant buffoon says to a passing white person “We’re all Australians aren’t we?” and the reply “No, I’m Irish!” provided a rare chuckle.

An extreme fact is that a third of all First Australians are dead before the age of 45. White Australia’s denial is summarised in the luxury hotel on Rottnest Island - it was once a notorious concentration camp where First Australians were imprisoned, tortured and killed. Two First Australians state “We feel so traumatised by this place!”, explaining that 17 people died in each of these cells, three of which have been knocked into one to make luxury rooms which cost $240 a night. The kitchen is now in what was once the morgue, and outside in the central court yard there used to be a gallows which was used to execute First Australians by hanging. It was the first time First Australians had observed such an inhumane and barbaric sight. It is an extremely sobering reflection upon the abusive punishment culture of the British Empire used at home and taken around the world.

During the Q&A session broadcast from London John mentioned at one point that they confused video/film recorded in 1985 with that recorded in 2013, and it underlined the sad reality that little has changed socially or economically for the vast majority of Australia’s ‘First Nation’ people.

I felt increasingly sickened and deeply unnerved -as we all rightly should be- at what are the extremely racist policies of the Australian government imposed on First Australians. If I had been a member of the jury in this case I should have found the current and all previous Australian governments, British Monarchy, British government and British Empire all guilty of everything and undoubtedly more that John Pilger’s documentary presents. Utopia is on ITV on Thursday December 19th when you’ll get your chance to judge the film for yourself.

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Sorry Comments Closed

Comment left by Redskye on 18th December, 2013 at 7:19
"The Secret Country The First Australians Fight Back" is on the on link underneath - copy and paste into your web-browser. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzjW6RjQQi4

Comment left by redskye on 18th December, 2013 at 7:22
Copy and paste the link underneath and you can see "The Secret Country The First Australians Fight Back" on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzjW6RjQQi4