Invisible Prisons

Invisible Prisons

There is a legend that Russian revolutionary Joseph Stalin once escaped from a Siberian prison five times. This is considered particularly interesting in that the style of prisons in Siberia were particularly unique. No prison walls and limited guards. You could leave when ever you wanted but at your own risk. If you left you would face hundreds of kilometres of the Siberian wild and almost certain death. The walls of the prison while invisible yet entirely real.

The legend of Joseph Stalin’s jail breaks are not quite honest. Yes he did escape many prisons over his early years but the details were very different. Regardless The notion of a prison via isolation is a very potable and interesting idea. It is an idea that holds to this day; the lack of physical walls that convince people that oppressive situations do not exist.

These come in many forms – Racism, forced labour, selective pressures from others etc. The pressure to conform entirely of be exiled mentally, physically or both. It is the means that makes oppressive systems retain their power, keeps unjust structures in place regardless of the apparent damage it does to others. And yet the solution is not just a change of mentality, it must be a physical change; without that it will all just be meaningless symbols and vague concepts.

Australia was founded relative to the Europeans in 1788, it almost immediately began a wave of genocide to the natives of the land. Treated as non-humans, hunted, exploited and oppressed in every way imaginable all for the sake of growing the white peoples power. In the last 20th and early 21st century there has been some ground made in terms of repairing the damage but so far it has merely been token showings – lots of words spoken and endless rarely delivered promises to try and fix things.

While the past cannot be changed, it cannot be forgotten. The events today are the ripples of the past carried forwards. The wake of the boat; the boat may be gone but its presence is still felt. To embrace today you have to acknowledge the past especially in regards to social structures. All the hand shakes and speeches in the world will not change that the Aboriginal people today still live in absolute poverty and worst of all, those in power have never given them the means to left themselves out of this problem. Just because the oppression has stopped does not mean that the problems of the past have not carried over.

This is not just about the settlers trying to scrub clear the natives history, of which irreversible damage has been done never to be recovered, it is that we not only forced on a new life style on the people of the land but we also kept them out of it.

Being kept out of the modern economy has single handily caused a massive amount of long term damage. They have the symbol of money forced onto them and then almost universally told that they could never deal with money.

It isn't just setup to be difficult, it is setup to be impossible for them to live a satisfying life.

Their jail is invisible.

An intangible at an ideological level means it can dodge and weave its way around the problems as they arise. A brick wall can be targeted and knocked down. An idea in the control of the Ego will constantly try to hide itself in a marbling of ideas.

Like all ideologies that have physical side effects, eventually the physical world becomes an externally that cannot be ignored. This is a danger point. Do those with the chains of power, the monstrous egos intent on proving themselves – do they try to scrub out the problem or figure out a solution that grows the people of the world?

So far the first option has been attempted for the past 200+ years and luckily it is failing. The secondary has never been attempted because it would hurt those that crave additional control over others.

Thus comes the realm of Reparations.

Back in 2008 then Australian Prime minister Kevin Rudd gave a speech where he said sorry to the stolen generations. A damage so big that there cannot be a price tag put on it. I disagree.

I use Australia as an example because it is close to me, however the same issues exist where ever a countries natives have been forcefully invaded and controlled. Never are they fully integrated into the new system and even if they are it is typically by force. The notion of virtue by the invaders that "know best", this is a storm that white people in particular have been raging on for the past 300 years the world over.

At least the work of many in the community and activists have done something very good. The polish saying "The axe forgets, the tree remembers" is no longer valid when it comes to the mistreatment of natives.

"The saying is that time can heal all wounds, and time is money, can money heal all wounds?" As much of a joke it is, there is a little bit of truth in this as the means that have kept people down is also the means that can lift them out of it. In the US the debate in relation to slavery has raged on for decades with no end in sight but it has provided a good demonstration of where people feel it should be. The general idea of something so simple and vague as money being the solution doesn't feel right to many. On some level I agree, money is a symbol it doesn't really mean much on its own. And yet what it can enable in terms of elevating the disadvantaged out of their predicament is very powerful.

Giving a large hand out funnily enough is one of the most western solutions to a world problem one could formulate and yet if the problem occurs on due to a western issue then it fits that a western solution is suitable. I am in favour of a money based solution but it can only be the beginning of the repair. Being treated as equals in terms of social and economics needs to be achieved for there to be real change.

Money cannot heal the wounds of the past but it can help try and stop future wounds from being created.

Back to Index