Alice Springs. Massively complicated.
After significant reflection, I have reached the point where I no longer find it tenable to hold ANY unwavering position. Standing my ground on any set position will oblige me to defend elements of that position that I couldn't morally ascribe to.
Because basically ( aside from skin colour itself) nothing here is black or white.
I despise Rothwell's scathing review of Alice Springs and the negative overtones to it. But if I choose to exclusively oppose Rothwell's article, I'm denying the seriousness of claims of sexual assault on young girls, the danger faced by all young kids on the street and the importance of this being raised. If I declare Action for Alice to be racists, I'm missing that many of them are suffering genuine losses and consequently, real fears and that they need to be able to go forward feeling safer. As does everyone black or white.
From the other side, when Action for Alice scream out to stop the crime, I think at least some of them realise the part white people played historically in creating this situation, that they are stirring up racism against good people and of course, how many of them are profiting from misery.
No fixed positions can claim to 100% hold the moral high ground.
If one chooses to engage at all, then one needs to take the time to untangle the complex web of issues.
So how to go forward ?
There are some ways forward being proposed, but ultimately they're all flawed because the interest groups proposing them ARE working from fixed positions and this leaves their arguements open to moral critisism. All of them.
So I don't think any solution proposed so far for Alice Springs has it right.
But some resolution is needed before our differences cause us to implode. The clock is ticking.
At this moment, I don't think ANY set of solutions proposed by a single group will be the answer.
I think the way forward will mean bringing all sides together, Aboriginal groups, welfare groups, police, council and law and order lobby groups. Not with expectations of full agreement (at least not initially), but to find those points on which they can agree. One by one.
With delicacy, patience, calmness and openness. And since that won't be easily accomplished, probably with a good, outside negotiater to lead us through.
Sound like the middle east peace process ? Not really a coincidence. Its not on the same scale, but there are parallels.
That's how i see it for now.
PS Action for Alice have gone through the process of creating their list of demands. I see value in using it as a starting point to build concensus- or some measure of concensus. But input would have to be accepted from all relevant stakeholders before they could truly claim that it represents community wishes. So far it isn't even close.