2 Jul 2014

And We Just Thought Rolf Was A Racist Old Pr*ck...

By Chris Graham

Rolf Harris has finally been exposed for what he is. But his fall from grace should have occurred long before that, writes Chris Graham.

Rolf Harris lived a very big lie. But yesterday, it all collapsed. Harris was convicted by a UK court for sexually assaulting children.

He may never set foot back on his home soil, condemned to die in a British jail cell.

The news back in Australia, particularly in his home-town of Bassendean in Perth, WA provoked shock.

How could Rolf Harris have fallen so far from grace? He was, after all, a ‘lovable larrikin and an Aussie entertainer’. An icon.

In truth, Harris was always a self-entitled pr*ck, a fact well known in the entertainment industry. But what’s lesser known about Harris is that he also held deeply racist views.... deeply Australian racist views.

If you do a Google images search of Harris, the web is literally littered with photos of Harris playing the didgeridoo and wearing clothes that feature Aboriginal designs.

Indeed throughout his seven-week trial, Harris often showed up to court wearing Aboriginal art inspired ties. In his official police mug shot released yesterday, he appears to be wearing a tie that rips off the Utopian style of art from Central Australia (although it’s unlikely it was actually produced by an Aboriginal artist).

At the same time, Harris’ views on Aboriginal people are as old as the culture he apparently reviles. That’s a uniquely Australian characteristic: the ability to drape yourself in Aboriginal imagery when there was a buck to be made, while simultaneously reviling the culture and the people.

How do we know? In 2008, Harris returned to Australia to promote his latest book. He decided to share with the world his thoughts on Aboriginal people, and culture.

"You sit at home watching the television and you think to yourself, 'Get up off your arse and clean up the streets your bloody self, and why would you expect somebody to come in and clean up your garbage, which you've dumped everywhere,' but then you have to think to yourself that it's a different attitude to life," Harris told The Age newspaper.

He also suggested that Aboriginal children ‘were never disciplined or expected to adhere to rules until adulthood’.

"Till then, they have a totally carefree life to do what they want, and that quite often involves smashing everything that they have.”

And then - not content with just denigrating the people – Harris launched into the culture as well.

"The attitude is that in their original way of life they would really wreck the surrounding countryside that they lived in and they would leave all the garbage and they would go walkabout to the next place," he said.

In the history of this troubled nation, Aboriginal people have been accused of a lot of things. But up until Harris came along “wrecking the surrounding countryside”, to my knowledge, was not one of them.

I’ve certainly heard that charge leveled at mining companies. And corporations. And farmers. And Australians generally. But Aboriginal people?

What sparked Harris’ tirade was a question from a journalist about his hit single, Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport. As it turns out, Harris was not just a racist old pr*ck in 2008, he was also a racist young pr*ck in 1960, when the song was released.

Despite the iconic nature of the song, it’s a little known Australian fact that the fourth verse of the original version of Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport goes like this:

‘Let me Abos go loose, Lou
Let me Abos go loose.
They're of no further use, Lou
So let me Abos go loose.’

While Harris said in 2008 that he regretted the lyrics, he also put forward what I like to call the ‘John Howard defence’ – ie. ‘it was a different era back then’.

"It was a mark of the times, done totally innocently with no realisation that you would offend at all… just trying to create a fun song for a bunch of Aussies who were drinking themselves stupid on Swan Lager in London at the time,” Harris told The Age.

No realization that you would offend, even though you’re joking about Aboriginal slavery for the benefit of drunk Aussie bogans?

Ironically, while most Australians wouldn’t have known Harris was a racist, most are also unaware about the history of Australian slavery.

The United States push to abolish the practice began in 1800. It was still flourishing in Australia well into the 1950s. Indeed, so bad was Australian slavery that in the 1930s, the Anti-Slavery Society in Britain produced a ‘slave map of Australia’, to document the abuse of Aboriginal people, in particular in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

In any event, Harris’ 2008 remarks got a big run internationally.

A few weeks later, he decided to pour fuel on the fire when he was confronted over his comments by none other than Lowtija O’Donoghue, one of the nation’s most respected Aboriginal women.

O’Donoghue and Harris were both at the official opening of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, and the Aboriginal elder took Harris aside and, apparently, privately tore strips off him.

Harris relayed the conversation to The Age, and it was reported under the headline ‘God, did I say that?’

"[O’Donoghue] said, 'How could you say that?' … You think you're talking quietly off the record about things that you feel, and then you see it printed up and you think, 'God, did I say that? Did I mean that?'

“I didn't mean that. I would just like to apologise for any offence that I've caused and put it behind me.”

Harris at the National Portrait Gallery Opening in 2008, pictured in front of a painting of respected Aboriginal elder Lois O'Donoghue.

So a man with decades experience with the media thought he was talking quietly – to a journalist! – about things that he felt. But he didn’t mean what he felt?

Harris obviously did mean what he felt. He just didn’t mean for it to be reported on the front page of a mainstream newspaper. And having profited from Aboriginal imagery for decades, he didn’t mean for it to affect his bottom line either.

Harris then did something else that’s uniquely Australian: he dug himself a deeper hole by trying to explain what he really meant in the first.

"In their original way that they would live in this country, they lived as part and parcel of the land. They didn't want to amass quantities of possessions.

"They hunted food in an area and then moved on … The whole tribal unit would go walkabout to the next traditional area that they would occupy and they would leave whatever they left behind them," he said.

Well, no. That’s not what happened at all. What Harris is alluding to is the Great Australian lie – the one we’ve used for over 200 years to sustain the our theft of land… that Aboriginal people ‘go walkabout’, that they never really owned the land, and that they wandered from place to place in search of food.

Of course, the truth is something else entirely. Aboriginal people, for tens of thousands of years, had very defined borders. But it’s precisely Harris’ mindset that has underpinned the multi-generational lie of ‘terra nullius’ – Australia as ‘a land of no-one’. And it’s terra nullius that Australians have relied on for the continuing dispossession of Aboriginal people.

The Mabo High Court decision knocked over terra nullius. And it was delivered almost two decades before Harris landed in Melbourne and began pissing all over Aboriginal people and culture.

Harris would no doubt claim that he was ‘misquoted’ again. Or that he was overseas when Mabo was handed down, and he didn’t know. Or that he didn’t mean it. That he just just felt it.

The truth is, Harris did mean it and he does believe it. And he promotes his Australian brand of racism without believing there’s any problem with it.

What Harris no doubt doesn’t believe is that he’s a racist. Racists never do. But then, Harris also claims he’s not a paedophile. The evidence proves otherwise.

Harris should have fallen from grace back in 1960, when he wrote a song denigrating Aboriginal people and mocking slavery. We had another opportunity to strip him of his status in 2008. Yet we had to wait until 2012 for a group of brave women to come forward, before we finally accepted the truth about a much loved Australian.

Sadly, I suspect we’ll have to wait quite a bit longer for the true history of the nation that shaped this man’s thinking, and his sense of entitlement, to be just as widely accepted.

CORRECTION: This story originally stated Harris had been sentenced to 12 years jail. Harris has not yet been sentenced. Apologies for the error.

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This user is a New Matilda supporter. PAW
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 14:43

 

This article has enlightened me about the issues of pedophiles and racist people.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. RossC
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 15:13

Chris, I can see a casual racism born of idiotic ignorance and a white suburban upbringing in Rolf's past public utterances (as for many Australians and others, sadly). But please don't conflate - or compare - that stupid behaviour with his other evil criminal behavour, now finally unmasked in all its ugliness for everyone to see.

Paedophilia crushes childhoods, ruins the lives that follow, and irrecovably alters the future potential of victims.  I hope Harris now rots in jail for the rest of his miserable life. And, if any in his circle of so-called friends and family knew and yet did nothing, I hope they all get sucked into the coming vortex of retribution as well. They will deserve it.

Rolf is clearly one seriously sick puppy, and now appears to display the complete lack of any genuine remorse that can only reflect a sociopathic indifference to the grief and pain he has caused to so many over the years.

Lets talk about that, and how to stop it, and not about some pathetic racist lyrics from an ordinary ditty from decades ago.

I hope Harris' many victims can now find some solace and grim-satisfaction in his long-overdue conviction and looming prison sentence, and so begin to rebuild their lives. Well done to all those who spoke out, and finally brought this creep to justice. That is some form of empowerment!

Barrie
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 15:51

The United States abolished slavery in 1800?

I'm sorry, the 13th Amendment was some 65 years later.

MJoanneS
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 16:13

Sorry you weren't actually around in the 60's Chris but I was.  Racism was accepted as the norm, it was not considered to be offensive by anyone, not the politicians still supporting the White Australia policy, not the police, not the media, not the education systems that aboriginal people were shut out of until the 1967 referendum and even then the referendum made little difference.

 

4 Corners did one program that evinced a mild surprise but the public just went back to bashing wogs and dagoes.

 

Just as child sexual abuse now being exposed was the norm.  In my home town the fathers would gloat about ""going through their daughters"" as if we demanded it as a right of passage.

 

I first encountered extreme bigotry when I was 7 in 1960 when I was abused for playing with my catholic class mates, again in 1964 when an Italian family moved to town, they were gone by 1965 due to extreme bigotry, that is the same year Tie me was written, the years when aborigines were hardly ever seen and where they were still listed as flora and fauna and, like Lowitja, given the same birthday as horses.  We continue that form of bigotry today by giving all Afghan kids the birthdates of December 31 or January 1.

The FACT is that in 1960 racism was the absolute norm, sexual abuse of kids was considered normal (the excuse was to teach the girls about sex) and claiming today that the norms didn't exist then is as silly as anything I have ever read.

 

What is also a FACT is that this nation has scarcely moved one jot towards changing because it simply refuses to change.

 

It took Will.I.Am on the Voice to pay tribute to Eddie Mabo and his struggle as he is coaching Eddie's talented grand daughter.  Kylie and the white audience were clueless, but he knew because he bothered to find out.

MJoanneS
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 16:15

Harris was not convicted of rape or serious sexual assault, he was convicted of groping, which was also the norm in the times it happened.

 

The media in Britain have conflated him with the truly ghastly pedophiles harboured by the BBC, like Jimmy Saville, and then inflated his so called crimes.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. musikki
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 16:24

I agree with you, RossC, conflating the racist mouthing off with the sexual duress is to dull the issue. But one issue I do have: you and most reports call him a paedophile. My understanding, reinforced just now by consulting Wikipedia, is that paedophilia involves pre-pubescent children. This doesn't appear to have been Harris's issue: he took advantage of his celebrity to grope young to very young women.

It's important, I think, to be clear as to the crime. Paedophilia is one of those highly charged concepts, like terrorism. This is ordinary, pathetic assault.

cardinal fang
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 16:36

The basis of the Howard defence is true, however, I changed, my friends changed . Many members of my family didn't, neither did large chunks of society. As I grew older, as I had my own family as I travelled abroad I changed. I cringe when I think of my own attitudes in the 60s and 70s, and some of my actions were shameful. Now I see them for why they were. 

However the Howard defence is no defence at all. To use it means that you are a fool. That as times have changed you haven't. You cling to a bygone era and deny a group of people the rights and respect they entitled to. You do so because of your ignorance.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. RossC
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 16:38

musikki and MJoanneS.....SERIOUSLY? I'm amazed (and sad) to have to post this bit of information for you but... in Australia (and in Britian)"

...paedophiles...are defined...as those who prefer and seek sexual activity with children rather than adults. In this context, the

term “child” refers to anyone below the statutory age of consent in each Australian State and Territory."

 

Source: (http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/conferences/paedophilia/miller.pdf).

 

So now you know.

 

And 'groping' hardly describes the appaling rape of a 13 year old, and continuing repeated episodes of rape of her for the next 10+ years that Harris has just been found guilty of.

 

Don't make the mistake of apologising for that bastard.

MJoanneS
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 17:22

He was not convicted of the rape of anyone.  And I do know what I was talking about, I was a victim for 6 years.  And groping is not a crime, many groupies today still love being groped by stars, it's a badge of honour.

 

 

This user is a New Matilda supporter. RossC
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 18:38

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10906179/Rolf-Harris-victims-the-stories-behind-the-convictions.html

....draw your own conclusions everyone. In case you somehow have missed it, THAT is what Harris was just convicted of (among a whole raft of convictions for other serious sexual assault convictions with other victims). And that's just the ones who had their day in court. More will follow.

 

Gungurru
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 19:06

I believe there is ample evidence to suggest that acts of child molestation are and were inspired by racism and so the arguments put forward here to Chris Graham to separate sexual perversion and racism are completely unfounded. Indeed I tend to believe that they are evidence of a deeper psycho-cultural rupture in how white Australian’s think of themselves (and their sacred white cultural icons) as being beyond reproach or moral failure.

The simple (yet complex) point Chris Graham is making in this piece is that Harris felt completely at ease with simultaneously being a paedophile and a racist; and that they are not mutually exclusive; in fact they fed off each other in a twisted symbiosis.  

I would go sofar as to suggest that most of the comments defending Harris here are (carefully) pissed off that Harris is -- a "white Australiana" racist and paedophile. Yes, that's right folks- the jury decided that Their "Jake the Peg";   Their "Tie me Kangaroo Down Sport";   Their 'let me Abo's go loose Lou; Their ‘Two little boys”; Their ‘funny whitefella who can also do Aboriginal cultural stuff better than Abo’s” is nothing more that filthy rock spider. To these (careful) defenders it not what he did to children that matters, but rather that he did them whilst being a Blokey, Ocker, G’day Mate, Aussie.  And we all know that whilst white Australian’s can certainly be paedophiles they can’t be paedophiles and racists at the same time now can they? Strewth! that would be stretching it a bit eh?

 

 

This user is a New Matilda supporter. thomasee73
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 21:10

I grew up in the 70s and 80s on "Tie me kangaroo down, sport", and I genuinely believed that the "let me Abos go loose" verse was a matter of fact descriptive account of Australia's racist past. Independently of the effect of that particular verse on other people, from my perspective I'm glad that it was part of my upbringing rather than having those sorts of images suppressed from my conscious awareness. One of the unfortunate consequences of discouraging the depiction of racism, on the grounds that it might normalise racism, is that it makes historical accounts of racism appear fantastic to the point of incredibility. And so, like Nazi Germany, racist societies are so demonised, and historical depictions of them appear so bizarre, that it's hard to imagine that they could have anything in common with our own. Hence succumbing to Godwin's law is popularly regarded as the desperate ravings of an extremist, rather than possibly a valid criticism. 

fightmumma
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 21:21

i would expect that anyone with the types of antisocial, narcisistic behaviour and mentality of rolf harris would easily be racist sexist, a sexual abuser etc - they simply cannot perceieve reality in the way more "normal" people do - all others are for their use entertainment pleasure etc, especially sexual predators display more risk-taking personalities than others as well.  I knew he wwas in trouble legally when he was trying to use his music and performance art to convince the legal system of his innocence - he couldn't even see that this was so out of the ordinary and bizarre that he shouldn't do it.

Is anyone else creeped-out by the way his immediate family - all females -  were continuously seen walking beside him, supporting him, epecially his daughter who even knew about the abuse to her young friend?  They disgust me maybe even more than Harris himself...hmm..not sure on that yet.

I am glad that this will encourage even more of his victims to come forward and complain now.  Though once again, what is so wrong with our society that these things continually are only coming out into the open NOW?  And what is still happening NOW that no one is talking about?

Paul Nelson
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 22:20

Hmmm, I'm less than convinced by this article and I get the feeling the author is probably a little too young to remember the political and social climate in the 1960s. The fact that Harris was horrified at how his comments were interpreted would suggest he is far from racist and the arrogant exhuberance of the author suggests a certain immaturity.

For the record Harris has NOT been convicted of rape or paedophilia. To suggest otherwise is dishonest and invalidates any salient point the author may have. 

If the author would actually drop the smears and innacuracies and actually read what he has been convicted of he can go here:

http://ukcriminallawblog.com/2014/07/01/rolf-harris-what-sentence-will-he-get/

Interestingly the first charge is based on one woman's forty year old memory of an event when she was "7 or 8" (she can't remember) at a public event that there is no public record of or any other member of the public recalls even happening. Quite an astonishing failure of "justice" in my opinion:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27541102

There is a strong suggestion that the currect criminal inestigation into light-entertainers is merely a smoke-screen to divert from the child abuse taking place at far higher levels of the british establishment; governmen, peerage and Royal Family. It appears, if anything, that Harris is a victim, not a perpertrator. 

geoffff
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 22:37

If a ,man has had a long enough career and has deep enough a fall from grace he gets to stand convicted of not only his crimes but also the crimes of his times.

I grew up in regional Australia at that time and know  about Australian racism, antisemitism and sectarian bigotry because I saw it first hand.  There is nothing unusual about that song for the time. In 1960 kids played "Catch a Nigger by the toe", used "Nigger" shoe polish and could find "Nigger Boy" liquorice in Ekka sample bags. I know how Aboriginal people were treated because I saw it.

Rolf's song would have been greeted as great broad Aussie humour. It was hugely popular , all verses were sung and I there would not have been a murmur of protest..  

What I didn't know was that sexual abuse of children was probably just as common . Perhaps worse. I was lucky. That was something largely beyond my experience. I kinda suspected something was going on with some kids but I had no idea what.

Do not dilute the focus of this from the crimes that Harris committed and the victims of those crimes. It is important that this all comes out.. Otherwise it will just keep on happening. 

 

EarnestLee
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 23:08

Thanks MJoanneS for the reality shot.

I watched the the Police Prosecutor's announcement with great unease. It seems Mr Rolf Harris is paying the price of all of those that got away. Affection and cuddles of minors were the norm on the sixties.

But groping is definitely taking liberties but not a hanging offence. Cut off his hand if you want revenge.

As to this Article's charges then Harris would be in stellar company and one of millions.

MJoanneS
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 05:55

When I was a teenager in 1968 I went to a concert to see Johnny Farnham, I was 15 and would have given my right arm to be groped by him.

We all did in those days, even now Barry Gibb and the Boss could grope me anytime they wanted to.

 

Trying to impose today onto the behaviours of 40-50 years ago always strikes me as quite ridiculous even though sexual abuse and indecent assault and racism have always been abhorrent to me, back then they were the casual norm.

AJTaylor
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 08:31

MJoanneS,  groping is a crime, it's called indecent assault. You may have welcomed being groped by celebrities as a young person but that does not mean that Harris' unwanted, uninvited assaults of young women were ok. Nor does your acceptance of a past culture of 'it just happens' diminish the potentially long lasting negative effects of these experiences for other women. You seem to be saying 'I'd be ok with it, so where's the problem?'

 

fightmumma
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 11:01

and also, the adult has a responsibility to not behave sexually with a child, or someone who is vulnerable whether or not that child behaves as if they might "want it" for some reason such as a status symbol/boast

This user is a New Matilda supporter. Tim Macknay
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 12:19

Disgusting that so many people on this thread are seeking to defend and justify the indecent assault of children. Absolutely sickening.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. EM
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 13:54

An argument that says it happened in another time, so it was OK.......... nah, doesn't do it for me. I was up and about in the late 60's and 70's, I tell you for a fact, abuse and racism was no less abhorrent  then than it is now.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. Sooz
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 14:46

RossC, racism crushes lives too. And all too often in this country the dispossession of the first Australians has placed them in positions of powerlessness that allow the unscrupulous to take advantage of them, sexual or otherwise. How many kids from the stolen generations were abused? How many aboriginal women have been raped, or worse, because none of the local constabulary could give a damn? These attitudes are not necessarily mutually exclusive, there is a common thread of sociopathy in both racism and paedophilia. This does not imply that every racist is a paedophile (or vice versa), but both traits require a dehumanising of the victim which can and does all too often overlap. Where someone is vulnerable and less able to exercise their rights they are more prone to abuse.</p>

This user is a New Matilda supporter. Youngy
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 14:59

Another great article Chris.

I agree with you Tim Macknay, absolutely sickening to read comments by those suggesting Harris is a 'victim' and making excuses for his disgusting behaviour because it was "how it was back then."

I too grew up in the 60's & 70's and I learned to respect women and not to grope them.

That letter he wrote to a father in the 90's seeking forgiveness was appalling. If I'd received the letter I doubt Rolf would have survived to 2014.

I hope Harris dies behind bars after living out his final years in lonely, miserable existence.

John Bennetts
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 15:51

Why the fuss over a Brit who came to Australia as a kid and left again, barely 10 years later.

I never considered him to be an Aussie and I see no reason to change my mind now.

What he did do and to do well, was to very effectively develop an Australian persona, circa 1960, which was bullshit and which he used consistently over 5 or 6 decades to lampoon and to degrade Australians of every walk of life and to sell British Paints.  Not Australian paints, notice.

No, Rolf, Aussies are not all stupid, racist dolts.  Not the ones I meet.  You were and are.

The Brits have had him back as a citizen for 50 years and they are welcome to keep him.  In many ways, including his attitude to aboriginal Australians, he never left Britain.

The other stuff about kiddy-fiddling came to light much later.  The damage to society (ours) had already been done.  He had enraptured QEII, painter her portraits and played the social scene.  He had crawled and trawled his way through the entertainment circles of Britain.

Now it is over.  Move on, folks.

I do feel compassionate for his family.  They are going through hell, for things that they didn't do.

 

dogdaze
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 15:52

Tie me kangaroo down is sung by a dying stockman, in the days when Aboriginal people in large numbers worked as stockmen. Abo's was a common not neccesarily perjorarive term in those days and also used by people who had great respect. (Charles Mountford sometimes wrote Abo Raimaker for example on photos he took, but certainly had great respect for the people). The point about people camping and moving on was made, I believe, to illustrate that there was no 'rubbish' to leave behind in traditional times, whereas the white man's goods have throw away packaging, which traditional people tend to dispense with as they did their biodegradible waste from years gone by. Not much recylcling when camping on the Tanami Track. Harris's fall is deplorable and tragic, but his views on Aboriginal people were ignorant rather than racist, and the need to put the boot into him about alleged racism under the current circumstances, is, in my opinion, unnecessary and unfair. 

This user is a New Matilda supporter. Tim Macknay
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 16:19

Why the fuss over a Brit who came to Australia as a kid and left again, barely 10 years later.

I never considered him to be an Aussie and I see no reason to change my mind now.

John Bennetts, Harris was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia (unfortunately). I mostly agree with the rest of your comment though.

dollybird
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 16:25

 

Excellent point by AJTaylor - no amount of longing by star-struck hormonal teens to be touched or embraced by their idols in the heat of the moment makes it okay to for popstars and celebrities to oblige them. It's not only encumbent upon adults to refrain from the temptation, it's the law - the age of consent being 16 in just about all western jurisdictions. In the UK ithe age of consent is 18 in circumstances where a young person has been entrusted to an adult's care. And why is this? Because of the overarching issues of care, trust and responsibiity implicit in such relationships.

Sexual longings for new love objects in early teen years are just that -  a means of switching intense love from adored parents (whether they've been good to a child or not) to adored substitutes. So this emotional 'transference' must be successfully negotiated in safety without surrogates acting in to it, and this developmental milestone must be understood once and for all as the critical, fragile, developmental stage that it is. So to indulge in sexual relations with a besotted, underage adolescent constitutes paedophiia and child abuse - because in that moment the child is regressively reenacting an infatuation with a parent whilst simultaneously emerging from it.  

It is the 'chrysalis' stage. 

That is why  we make the exploitation of sexually chaotic, infatuated, vulnerable children moving towards psychological independence a crime, as serious a crime as the sexual abuse of younger children and babies. To take advantage of a child's trust, to interfere with a child's sexual development and psychological integrity for one's own sexual gratification is to betray that child.

By all means take their money, but leave their hearts and minds alone.

Of course it is all catching up with Harris, as it is catching up with us as a society. The permissiveness and libertinism of the 60's and 70's was never about sanctioning the abuse of chidlren and can never justify such wholesale breaches of trust.  

 

This user is a New Matilda supporter. RossC
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 16:44

Sooz. Of course racism crushes lives. It's abhorrent, and devastating to those it is inflicted upon.  That's why such a serious issue deserves to have a platform separated from the massive elephant-in-the-room of Harris' convictions for rape and paedophilia. That was my first point.

To reiterate, for the benefit of those above who apparently still think otherwise, serious sexual assaults of a minor, including the types of offences Harris has just been convicted of are, by statutory definition, deemed rape and paedophilia. In Britain and in Australia (and in many, many other countries).

The precise legalese terminology of each of his convictions doesn't actually matter one jot. 

And if, as some say, there are many 'gloating fathers' still boasting of their own similar actions, I hope they are now looking nervously over their shoulders as their child victims, once small and powerless but now grown up and seriously pissed off, feel a new empowerment to act based on the Harris example. They all deserve to rot in jail.

Maybe that's the only way to break this horrible, miserable cycle.

 

martyns
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 17:16

Everyone who responded to this thought provoking article has 'said it all". Without wishing to be vindictive I would hope Harris gets a minimum 25 year sentence in a small, cold cell. It might just frighten enough of those like him to pause before offending! I've as much sympathy for him as you can find on the head of a pin.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. Barney
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 19:47

The article certainly brought out some comments. About Harris groping - I think I heard that the youngest victim was 7 years old.  And did I hear that some of the groping involved a hand going down the pants of one or more unsuspecting victim, with a finger going up. That might be considered a bit much, even some decades ago.

As for racism, I never thought much about what "let the Abos go loose" meant; it was just part of a deliberately silly cartoon-like song with an Outback flavour.  I thought maybe the "Abos" were a droving crew that was being dispersed after the death of the stockman. About Aborigines wrecking the countryside, I don't know why anyone would say that. Some time ago I also wondered why Aborigines left garbage lying all around in their streets, then I thought about their original way of life, where the garbage was bits of stone and biodegradeable food scraps. Now the garbage is far less desirable. 

This user is a New Matilda supporter. outrider
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 22:56

Casual racism was the norm in the 40s to mid 60s at least and Harris was a product of his time then. Ultra PC had not been invented. I doubt very much the assertions about prevalent child abuse back then, although obviously it did happen in institutions. I never heard of child abuse among families, either in the country or in the city, among my relatives or friends. And there was plenty of gossip among them. In those days the family looked after you, but if had no family you were in trouble, with little State backup. I had one homosexual approach as a young male (under 16) via hand on upper knee in a picture theatre, groping if you like.

My parents certainly didn't shelter me, how come I was ignorant of all these pravelent crimes?

dracohouston
Posted Sunday, July 6, 2014 - 00:25

"When I was a teenager in 1968 I went to a concert to see Johnny Farnham, I was 15 and would have given my right arm to be groped by him.

We all did in those days, even now Barry Gibb and the Boss could grope me anytime they wanted to.

 

Trying to impose today onto the behaviours of 40-50 years ago always strikes me as quite ridiculous even though sexual abuse and indecent assault and racism have always been abhorrent to me, back then they were the casual norm.

When I was a teenager in 1968 I went to a concert to see Johnny Farnham, I was 15 and would have given my right arm to be groped by him.

We all did in those days, even now Barry Gibb and the Boss could grope me anytime they wanted to.

 

Trying to impose today onto the behaviours of 40-50 years ago always strikes me as quite ridiculous even though sexual abuse and indecent assault and racism have always been abhorrent to me, back then they were the casual norm."

lol so bruce springsteen is hot therefore rofl harris, the goober old wobbleboard guy, should finger young girls, repeatedly, over the course of a decade

 

Nullagravida
Posted Sunday, July 6, 2014 - 10:03

" how come I was ignorant of all these pravelent[sic] crimes? "

 

 You characterise today's opposition to child sex abuse and racism with derision, using the prejorative "ultra PC" .  Based solely on your own limited observations, you have drawn the disengenous conclusion that child sex abuse did not happen at all in families and only in institutions in the good old days (what, before feminism and racial equality, eh?). You have essentially trivialised and dismissed victims. It  suggests to me that you are still ignorant, outrider. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lizzie Cornish
Posted Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 21:06

What a load of old baloney, Chris. 

Firstly,  Rolf wrote the verse on the Aboriginal People, in 'Tie Me Kangaroo Down' from the view of a Stockman, discharging the workmen after the busy season on a ranch.  Secondly, the moment he knew it had caused up, Rolf NEVER sang those words again, and he hasn't sung them since shortly after the song came out, in the early 1960s.  He apologized for any upset caused.

Secondly, if David Blanasi were around today, which sadly, he no longer is, he'd tell you that Rolf is his blood brother..Indeed, you can still find the video of David saying this, on Youtube. Rolf not only brought David to England, and David was the first full blood Aboriginal man to come here since the 1700s, but he also ensured that David was beside him during the opening show of The Sidney Opera House.  He also went Walkabout with David, at David's request, a while after that show.

During that time, Rolf, who doesn't drink, became very upset at seeing how many of the Aboriginal People were so deeply affected by The Whiteman's Fire..It caused him much sadness to see them drunk and feeling ill.   He also came to realize how The White Man had basically rounded them up into reservations, then 'gave them their lives back' through Welfare and hypocritical 'well meaning' crap.  He felt very sad for what the Indigenous Peoples of Australia had lost and that it is us, The Good Ol' White Folks, who took it in the first place.

You will find elsewhere on the internet comments saying that Rolf grew up with many Aboriginal children, who were his friends at school. 

He did not come to learn more about their culture though, until much later in his life..and it was Rolf, like it or not, who brought some of that culture OUT to the world, through his music and through his art...bringing the world IN to The Indigenous Peoples of Australia.

Just a few years back, when respected Aboriginal Elder, Bob Randall, was over in London to promote the very wonderful documentary, 'KANYINI', he and his wife met up with Rolf and Alwen for a meal, whilst in London, before moving further down country to Devon on their tour.

Rolf was also the ONLY entertainer who, before signing up to work in South Africa insisted that he would ONLY perform there is the theatres he was performing in agreed to let ALL people of EVERY colour, creed and background in to his shows, showing no racism at all.

When he said the words you quote above, he was just off a gruelling fllight from London, had flu and..he was 78 years old, so did not put it all in the correct context, I think, or, perhaps it has been taken totally OUT of context entirely, only selective words and sentences being used to paint him in a terrible light.

Rolf Harris is a very kind and loving man.  It will upset him to see any people in a bad way, drinking, surrounded by rubbish, disconnected from their environment....Indeed, over here in England, many of the people here suffer in the same way, drinking themselves senseless, totally oblivious to the world around them, litter everywhere, graffiti, nobody bothered about cleaning up, expecting, truly expecting others to do this for them...It incenses me and it also saddens me deeply.....

I see the same lack of parental control that Rolf speaks of in his words above..and I'd call that 'modern culture' for sure, but it never used to be this way..and it never was in the way of Indigenous Peoples either...Sadly, many have followed The White Man's Ways for too long..plus they suffer from Intergenerational Trauma, of course...as the Native Americans do, as so many Indigenous Peoples around the world now do. 

The Native Americans have decided to fight back and they THEMSELVES are saying that the time to keep blaming everyone else is over now, that they have to take back their lives, their dignity, their pride, and they have to do this themselves, first and foremost...

THAT is what Rolf meant, I am sure, but it came out all arse over elbow, due to jet lag and illness....

Also, Indigenous Peoples have NEVER felt they 'own' the land at all, ever, seeing themselves as just another species who dwells upon Mother Earth, no better, no bigger, no more important than any other species...

Rolf felt when he DID go Walkabout with David Blanasi and his friends that David's People quietly accept everything, no matter what happens to them, no matter what is around them.  It upset him way back then to see how many of them were living, but he DID understand that this was because of how they'd had their pride taken from them...and it upset him deeply.

He's never stopped shining a light on them in his songs, his music, his paintings, not to 'make money' from them, for heck, Rolf could have made money from anything he chose to turn his hand to...but because he wanted the world to know about them....

Again, he has apologized outright for the remarks and it's interesting when he said 'Did I say that?' too, because he may well not even have recalled saying it, being ill and jet-lagged at that time, but also, because even back then, Rolf was 78 years old and we all forget that he is an Old Fella now, because he looks so very much younger than his age...even at 84.

Racists do NOT apologize, they merely continue to make racist remarks, all their lives long, uncaring, filled with hatred....

Paedophiles NEVER stop abusing children...and if you RESEARCH Rolf's appalling trial you will find that the ONE *young* child he is alleged to have abused, is the ONLY person on the planet who can say that Rolf was EVER at Leigh Park Community Centre 40 years ago, for the police themselves admitted in Court there is NO evidence at all, whatsoever, to prove he was there, desite a search through 7 YEARS of local newspaper archives and council records and despite hundreds of local people being asked.  I've even rung the hall up myself, spoken to staff there, who all know that Rolf is NOT in their records and they know not a single soul who can recall this alleged appearance...saying that if Rolf HAD appeared there, it would still be known about today, as it's the biggest council estate in Europe and so many families have lived there for generations...

Don't even get me STARTED on the other complainants, for I can thousands of words on their stories too.

 

I'll tell you this though, Rolf Harris is NO Racist and NO Paedophile either.

He is, one of the kindest, most loving and most loved people on the planet, loved dearly by his many friends and family, who have all stood right beside him through his 2 years of hell caused by Operation Yewtree's Witch HUnt, and are still beside him even now.

I've heard that FAR from the newspaper vitriol being printed about him, Rolf is, as ever, helping his fellow humans again, this time, his fellow inmates, doing drawings for them, teaching them to draw  too, I expect...

Rolf Harris is, and always has been, a NATURAL teacher, who has always RESPECTED children, trying to inspire their lives, to teach them about Art, about their world, wanting only to bring joy and happiness to us all.....

Take a look at this page, especially some of the photos in there, many of which are crammed with information..and don't forget to read the one on 'Try Giving Yourself Away' which tells the story of how Rolf came to live his life doing altruistic acts of kindness, even just an uplifting comment to someone during a day, to make them feel better about themselves...

He had an affair with a very young women of 18, and for THAT, he has been castigated..

Well, I'm the daughter of a man who fell in love with my Mum when she was 17, married her when she was 19,  and loved her to his dying day, near 40 years later..My darlin' Dad was 17 years older than my Mum.   She'd only married him, so she confessed later, to get away from home.  Sometimes, you see, the young women string the older men around their pretty litte fingers....

Has Tonya Lee returned the money yet that she made on selling her 'story'?  She said it was a 'huge mistake' to have taken it, so I'm presuming she's given it back?  Has she apologized for lying about Rolf giving her anorexia when she'd not even met him until the end of her tour, thus having to admit in court that, unlike her story, she could not blame Rolf for being the reason she lost nearly a stone in weight whilst here...?

And, has anyone worked out why Cambridge woman, at first aged 13/14 in 1975 at the 'It's A Knockout' progamme, changed, MID TRIAL, into a 16/17 year old, at the filming of a totally different programme called 'Star Games', three YEARS later, and NO-ONE batted an eyelid????

Maybe you could John Pilger on the case, for the only 'victim' I see here is Rolf Harris himself...

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-Rolf-Harris/1503049216593977?fref=ts

Thank you - Lizzie

 

Lizzie Cornish
Posted Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 21:09

'up' should, of course, be 'upset'.....

Oh, and as someone else stated about how the world was back then, he was correct.  I'm 59 so I remember, but, as I stated in my previous 'War & Peace' post,  Rolf wrote it in a very different context to how it was interpreted by others....