Magazine article New Internationalist

Utopia

Magazine article New Internationalist

Utopia

Article excerpt

Utopia

written and co-directed by John Pilger

The name 'Utopia', John Pilger tells us, was either the product of a mind deranged by the scorching, parched conditions of Australia's red desert, or it was ironical. Pilger uses it ironically and bitterly, as official statistics record that this is where the Northern Territories' most disadvantaged people live. They also happen to be 'first Australians' and his documentary catalogues a horrendous history of racist treatment by European settlers - extermination, internment and slavery, progressing, today, to mere deprivation and impoverishment.

The houses - or more accurately shacks - of Utopia lack electricity and decent plumbing. While Sri Lanka has eliminated trachoma, here, in one of the world's wealthiest countries, it's rife. Equally appalling are the attitudes of many Australians, white people in fancy dress celebrating Australia Day, who talk about the black people the settlers took the land from. …

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