FALSE CLAIMS OF COLONIAL THIEVES is both a provocative title and a pin pricking polemic presented in an uncompromising poetical yarn spun by Charmaine Papertalk Green and John Kinsella.
Flinty and unflinching, these yarns are depth charges of various C-word bombs – Colonisation, Capitalism, Culture and Country – a dialogue of sorts, between the two poets who share a common ground of land and history, specifically Geraldton, Western Australia and surrounds.
Charmaine Papertalk Green’s pieces are peppered with Wajarri words, most emphatically Barna which means ground, earth, sand, country. Kinsella’s concerns are also about the earth, and how destructive forces of the White-feller have created salinisation, deforestation and schism between white and black. There’s an appreciation of difference commingled with a shared tone of indignation and outrage.
The title, FALSE CLAIMS OF COLONIAL THIEVES conjures lies and theft, but the crimes recalled in the pages are greater still- genocide, rape, apartheid. There is bitterness, anger and sorrow, and rightly so. The discrimination of the indigenous people, fauna and flora was criminal. And continues to be so.
FALSE CLAIMS OF COLONIAL THIEVES examines the plunder of Down Under from different but compatible perceptions, a united front against profligate privilege and power, packing the full weight of history.
“There cannot be a masterclass in amnesia” writes Charmaine Papertalk Green, and she and Kinsella rail against past injustices and present pillaging.
But there is a hope among the heartbreak and the hate. In one poem, I Won’t Pretend, Charmaine Papertalk Green concludes:
“Reflecting on two cultures
How our lives are shaped
Not letting one culture take over
Finding time to walk over
Each other’s barna.”
The aspiration of FALSE CLAIMS OF COLONIAL THIEVES is to be a literary equivalent of a camp fire. As Charmaine Papertalk Green says:
“A campfire binds us
Silly one’s to make us laugh
Serious ones about our people
Sharing ones about our cultures.”
FALSE CLAIMS OF COLONIAL THIEVES by Charmaine Papertalk Green & John Kinsella is published by Magabala Books.