The Big Man: The Life and Death on Palm Iceland by Chloe Hooper Review

The archipelago of the Palm Islands is located off the east coast of Australia in the Great Barrier Reef . The world’s largest coral reef, World Heritage Site and one of the “seven wonders of nature” is a paradise for divers, tourists and the animals that inhabit it, but its ecological balance is fragile constantly threatened and


Palm Iceland , the main island in the group, is a suburb of hell. There, the imbalance seems as if cast in concrete, perpetuates the injustice.

The overwhelming majority of about two thousand islanders are Aboriginal , a tiny minority (the police, chaplains, doctors …) is white-skinned. In the early twentieth century, the (white) government set up the State of Queensland here a reserve one, which served as a kind of prison camp until the sixties. Accompanied by Christian missionaries forced, violent uprooting and grotesque euphemisms ( “Chief Protector of Aborigines” – “supreme protector” – said the head of the executive authority) eked here unpopular groups of Australian Aborigines a lamentable, hopeless existence.

Who noticed as recalcitrant in his home on the mainland, became pregnant by a white man, or was born with “mixed blood”, was ruthlessly deported to the barren “palm island”. Upon arrival, children were taken from their parents and held separately by gender. The Aboriginal were forbidden to speak in their language. Daily life in the camp was strictly regulated and monitored violations of the rules were punished with all severity. By force right out of the dark-skinned natives>

late sixties were the camp was closed and handed over to the island gradually into the ownership of its inhabitants. But decades of disenfranchisement, lack of support, abuse and incompetence prevented any improvement of the profound injustices and its harrowing consequences that pollute the island community to this day. In 1999 she came to sad Berühmheit. An entry in the “Guinness World Records” called Palm Iceland as the “most violent place in the world” (other than theaters). Still reach murder and suicide rates to dizzying heights, including rape (especially in children and adolescents), domestic violence and fights, alcoholism and drug abuse (children sniffing gasoline) to everyday life. Social scientists call as causes the whole range of possible deficiencies: the lack of work, orientation, perspectives, role models, self-worth, money. Too much contrast, there are to worry, boredom, disease – and (white-dominated) to repression by the authorities

One incident, which in November 2004 actually Palm Iceland occurred. and excited throughout Australia sensation, the Australian author Chloe Hooper (born in 1973 in Melbourne) as the basis for her novel ” the Tall Man < " < a title = "Chloe Hooper:" the Tall Man "at"

what are the reasons a young Australian policeman may apply just to the top post of the notorious police station of Palm Iceland ? Even if it well-intentioned, are very unselfish, you do not fear that even the best character in that “heart of darkness” corrupted every engagement is stifled? Christopher James Hurley, 34, such considerations hardly plague. He sees the place of horror and the Outcasts simply a stepping stone in his career. He is supervisor of six white police officer and a black man contact.

Two years has made Senior Sergeant Hurley on his new post a bad name later. He takes seriously his duties, is hard in office (which, against whom he is going, of course curse), does volunteer work in several ways to improve the social conditions. he has just been extended for another year his contract.

On November 19, 2004 Friday, Hurley arrested the same age, intoxicated Aborigine Cameron Doomadgee at 10.20 after the him insulted. Only forty minutes after he was taken to a cell, Doomadgee lies with serious injuries dead on the floor. In subsequent interrogations passed to the police that he had slipped on a step. The einbestellte pathologist can – despite ruptured liver, broken ribs, head injuries – see any violence; Cameron Doomadgee had bled to death internally. When these results, a week later released, breaks out an uproar in the community. The indignant Aboriginal believe in a renewed plot by the white oppressors, the police station on fire and torches Hurley’s house from. Bringing to safety on the mainland.

then a white police officer is accused for the first time in the history of Australia and the accusation must be in a discovery process of the use of force to a Aborigine with deadly Follow provide. The verdict is almost three years later, in June 2007, and dissolves again a sensation, violent unrest and its consequences from. “Not guilty.” Christopher Hurley leaves the courtroom a free man, is congratulated by Chief of Police, celebrated by the police union official as a national hero. He gets a new job on the Gold Coast and compensation payments.

For many, the case is a prime example of abuse as whites in Australia has always been their superiority to the Aboriginal brutal and pitiless to subjugate: deported to desolate reserves, cut off from the white society, left alone in inhumane conditions that the European immigrants who brewed them, despised and abused, while those responsible in principle sponsor each other and unscathed even after gross misconduct. The mutual hatred, solidified decades of mistrust, discharges every day in provocations and confrontations such as those described here

Chloe Hooper’s impressive more detailed novel “The Great Man.” – the title alludes to both a figure of Aboriginal Mythology as well as Hurley on – are deep insights into the conditions of life, the mentality, the history and the dismal prospects of the Australian aborigines. Twenty-four hours after Hurley’s acquittal announced Prime Minister John Howard an action plan for the Aborigine -Territorium. He looked to freeze social assistance to monitor the school attendance strict to enforce alcohol and pornography bans, but above all to deploy more police officers and to reinforce by military units. A program worthy of a civil war effort.

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The Big Man: The Life and Death on Palm Iceland by Chloe Hooper Review. (2019, Nov 18). Retrieved from

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