The Moral Clarity of Marcia Langton

Indigenous leader, Professor Marcia Langton, has expressed once again the moral clarity at the core of courageous leadership in her article on the Hamas-Israeli war. Published in The Australian on Wednesday November 15, she made some of the following points:

“ The loss of thousands of lives in Gaza is unjustifiable. I condemn Hamas. I am horrified and deeply saddened by the loss of lives in the Levant, the Israelis who were murdered and kidnapped by Hamas and the innocent Palestinians who are being used as human shields by Hamas.

As an Indigenous Australian, I can have little effect in stopping these horrors but it is necessary to be clear about a few matters.

“Blak sovereignty” advocates have entwined two extraordinary propositions – one that is simply untrue and one that is a moral outrage. First, they claim that “ Indigenous Australians feel solidarity with Palestinians.”

This is false; it is the view of a tiny few, if put in those words. Most of us are aware of the complexity and that there is very little comparable in our respective situations, other than our humanity.

Second, they refuse to condemn Hamas. I am aghast and embarrassed. They do not speak for me. I fear and loathe the possibility of further loss of life in this terrible crisis. I also fear that our multicultural society is being torn apart by people deluded about terrorism who have used their protests as a cover for anti-Semitism.

Our Jewish and Palestinian communities deserve respect and compassion. I do not support the violence we have seen In Australia recently as a result of this conflict.

Hamas are terrorists; Palestinian islamic Jihad are terrorists. The slogan “ Not all Palestinians are Hamas” denies the fact that innocent Palestinians are being used as human shields by these terrorists.

No legitimate Aboriginal leader will permit our movement to be associated with terrorists.

I grieve for the largest loss of Jewish life in a day since the Holocaust. I grieve for every Palestinian who has died since the conflict. I grieve for the Israeli families whose loved ones are held hostage by Hamas. I grieve for the displaced, starving and terrified Palestinians who have been displaced in Gaza. Let us not lose our humanity.”

Marcia Langton is chair of Australian Indigenous Studies, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor at the University of Melbourne.

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