Voice Special Edition

‘Wominjeka’ to a Divided Nation

On board, like all earnest progressives, with the succession of civilisationally regressive social trends that drop like rotten apples from the leftist tree, the deputy lord mayor of Melbourne, Nicholas Reece, has even anticipated the Voice with a suggestion that the rest of us can voice too. He wants everyone to learn to speak “some Aboriginal language”.

Of course, if the Voice does manage to install itself, on a tide of tear-jerking pleas for courtesy and understanding, people like Reece will probably want everyone to speak only an Aboriginal language. The twenty-four Voician commissars who, when not squabbling among themselves, will constitute a kind of latter-day Committee of Public Safety to keep lesser Australians in line, are likely to require that English be reclassified as a “white supremacist” hangover from the brutal days of the “invasion”. The Reeces of this world—he’s a university employee—know which side their bread is buttered on, and when the Voice, which will be very much an active rather than a passive Voice blaring down on Parliament telling our elected representatives what to do, delivers its instructions, they’ll smartly obey.

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Reece was off to a good start in his crusade for linguistic reform. “Wominjeka,” he announced brightly in a newspaper article, an utterance that may come to be seen as a first step to changing the way we all speak. “Wominjeka,” he explained, “may still be an unfamiliar word to many Melburnians but for thousands of years it has been the common greeting of ‘Hello/Welcome’ for the Wurundjeri people, the traditional owners of Melbourne.” That “Melbourne”, by the way, will not be regarded with favour by the Committee, which along with Reece will prefer the appellation “Naarm”, oblivious to the fact that Naarm—if it is a genuine Aboriginal name, and there are so many ersatz ones around—could logically only refer to the site of Melbourne as it was in pre-colonial days. If you want to call it Naarm now, you need to eliminate whitey’s Melbourne, bulldoze the site—an aesthetic improvement as far as the city’s post-war architecture is concerned—and return the place to its alleged arcadian state, perhaps, for verisimilitude, letting a few kangaroos out of the zoo to hop around and get speared by the “traditional owners”.

For nature truly was red in tooth and claw when traditional Aboriginal life was lived where Melbourne now is. And the welcome you would get was considerably warmer than a friendly “Wominjeka”. Strangers were usually greeted with a barrage of spears and boomerangs—something that doesn’t happen any more for one very important reason. Whether Reece and the Voice-promoting army of white activists like it or not, Australian Aborigines are now assimilated, some more than others, but assimilated none the less. What Reece inaccurately calls “the oldest continuous culture in the world” (isn’t that the San bushmen of southern Africa?) is now more an object of anthropological study than a living culture. It survives here and there as an identity marker among people who for the most part have a Westernised life in a Western culture, with TikTok and giant television screens and baseball caps and all the other appurtenances of twenty-first-century existence, even in remote settlements. You can see them every time a television camera goes near. These are the things that count for Aborigines, as for just about everyone else in Australian society, as the near universal possession of them demonstrates.

Suggesting we learn some “Aboriginal” is a big ask. For a start, which language? All of the 120 or so which according to Reece are still spoken? And to what end? Just so you can say “Wominjeka” to everyone that happens along? What a burk you’d look doing that. One pictures Nicholas on the Melbourne, beg pardon, Naarm Town Hall steps nodding his head smilingly and saying “Wominjeka” to passers-by until people become wary and start to walk around him, the way you try and avoid a drunk in the train. Some might gesture in his direction and wink while making a digital spiral movement around the ear.

And what kind of response would you get, going up to a perfect stranger and saying “Wominjeka”? If your interlocutor understood you he might ask “Wominjeka to what?” If he didn’t he might say, “Dunno, ask a policeman.” If he was a self-respecting Aborigine he’d be entitled to add, “If you mean to Australia, it’s as much my country as yours, mate.” In English too, because, even if Nicholas hasn’t noticed, Aborigines have already taken the initiative and learnt the white man’s toxic language. Look at the very names they use for their hierarchs—elders, aunties, uncles.

One of the reasons the Left hates history and attempts to rewrite or suppress it is because history shows that an “invaded” people can be assimilated into an “invading” one and create a richer society together. Australian Aborigines, according to leftists, were “invaded”—though if the relatively bloodless British settlement of Australia was an “invasion”, what would leftists have called a Japanese conquest in the Second World War, or a Chinese military occupation now? But so were the Anglo-Saxons in Britain invaded in the Norman Conquest, and the consequent amalgamation of cultures gave us the nation that civilised much of the world, and the inheritance that leftists themselves now enjoy, and interminably criticise or try to undermine, not, be it noted, because they are uncomfortable in it—if they were, they could always leave—but to assuage some psychopathology of their own. They are ingrates.

The same beneficial results of assimilation have demonstrably been accepted by the great majority of indigenous Australians. By the early twentieth century, relations between the two strands of Australian citizens had become generally untroubled. It is only since white leftists, never happy unless they’re stoking up new grievances, took to exploiting the divisive potential of race, that assimilation has been equated with genocide by many people in Australia who should know better.   

It is the comfort and security of a stable society that allow people like Reece to dabble in Aboriginality. It wasn’t like that in the primitive society they extol. Indigenous life was hard and brutal in those supposedly halcyon days before British settlement, certainly much harder than putting an Aboriginal place name with your email address, which is often the extent of the average wokeist’s “identification” with our “first nations”—note the term unimaginatively lifted from the quite different racial politics of North America—or being able to recite an “acknowledgment of country” in fluent Woiwurrung, as Nicholas boasts in the Naarm Age of being able to do. 

Foisting Aboriginal languages on Anglophone Australians is part of the tiresome but now seemingly unstoppable campaign by the Left and its useful idiots in the ABC (with their ridiculous “indigenous” subtitles) and elsewhere to divide the nation racially. If they could they’d return our country to pre-settlement conditions, with a Babel of warring tribes and not too much cheery “Wominjeka” exchanged among them.

Perhaps Aborigines, rather than being told what is good for them by a few alleged spokesmen schooled by inner-city Anglo know-alls, should be asked in a referendum which culture they would prefer to live in. The one we have, or the older one as it was in the barbaric days before our nation was founded. An indigenous voice on that would be instructive.

Meanwhile, we might as well stick to our traditional greetings. “Have a great day” seems unexceptionable compared with “Wominjeka”.

Christopher Akehurst, who lives in rural Victoria, is a regular contributor.


4 thoughts on “‘Wominjeka’ to a Divided Nation

  • Alistair says:

    Speaking of Sir Doug Nichols … Colin MacLeod presented this anecdote in his book Patrol in the Dreamtime :

    “Years later I escorted Pastor (later South Australian Governor, Sir) Doug Nicholls around Alice Springs. As we were walking around an Aboriginal camp at Jay Creek, an old man of full Aboriginal descent came up and asked who Pastor Doug was. I told him he was an Aboriginal from down south. ‘He not blackfella, boss’, the old man snorted. ‘Him yellafella’. ”

    “Yellafella” – part Aborigine – In the eyes of many Aborigines not even entitled t a “Voice” under traditional rules!

  • ianl says:

    Nicholas Reece is very easily mocked, and rightly so for his impenetrable smugness, as he understands not either satire or irony. I suspect he is a genuine true believer in magic.

    Nonetheless, poking fun at him makes no difference – he just doesn’t hear it. Perhaps a better target may be those who vote for him to become Melbourne’s Deputy Mayor. Why aren’t his Council voters learning an Aboriginal language and saying “Wominjeka” to their families at the breakfast table each morning ?

  • brandee says:

    So Nicholas Reece echoes the convenient assertion on “the oldest continuous culture in the world”. This despite adult Indigenous Aboriginal Australians either working or on government welfare and with none practising a hunter/gatherer existence.
    One culture that fits the description is the tribal culture in PNG. There traditional activities like cannibalism and headhunting have stopped but otherwise the highlanders live traditionally without reticulated water and electricity and live off their gardens and their domestic or hunted animals. They receive no government welfare and they build their own houses as they always did.

  • john mac says:

    At this stage , I would urge ABC classical , now in full aboriginal geographic mode to start learning and broadcasting in one dialect each presenter , and out of respect (or demands) to have indigenous instruments only . That would be some sticks and a didgeridoo. Their careers would end overnight .

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