imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Tell the NSA: StopWatching.US

Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network: www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles
link:

A FORGOTTEN HERO

by uli schmetzer Monday, Jun. 18, 2012 at 2:35 AM

When two Americans raised their fists in the Black Power salute in 1968 no one paid much attention to the third man. After all he had not raised his own fist though pinned to his chest was a button demanding equal rights for all mankind no matter what their color or creed.

A FORGOTTEN HERO...
250px-carlos-smith.jpg, image/jpeg, 250x354

A FORGOTTEN HERO
by Uli Schmetzer
http://www.uli-schmetzer.com

When two Americans raised their fists in the Black Power salute in 1968 no one paid much attention to the third man. After all he had not raised his own fist though pinned to his chest was a button demanding equal rights for all mankind no matter what their color or creed.
The button-badge would become the cross Peter Norman carried for the rest of his life.
His country, Australia, neither redeemed him nor officially recognized he had not acted against the spirit but in the spirit of the Olympic Games. Australia’s greatest sprinter was never allowed to run in another Olympics. The ultra-conservative Australian society and its complacent media saw Norman not as a fighter for civil rights but as ‘a troublemaker who sided with the villains who desecrated the Olympic flag.’
The grudge of a pompous Australian establishment was such that thirty two years after his gesture of solidarity at the Mexican Olympics Peter Norman became the only Australian Olympic medal winner not invited as official guest to the Sydney Olympics of 2000.
Peter Norman would have been 70 years old this month, just a few weeks before another Olympic Games, this time in London, will rivet the sporting world and cast the limelight on past champions, those, unlike Norman, who were never forgotten.
I owe him an apology – posthumous for having also forgotten him.
I was at the Aztec stadium in Mexico City as a journalist for Reuters News Agency when Tommie Smith, the gold medalist and John Carlos, the bronze medalist raised their black-gloved fists at the medal ceremony for the 200 meter Olympic dash during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner. Wedged alongside them in the photo that made the headlines around the world was a slim self-effacing Australian, the surprise silver medalist who had run a world record in the semi-finals, a record that still stands as an Australian record.
We, the media, did not take much notice of Norman. After all he had not raised his fist; he was white; he was silent; he was not American; he made no statement and he had no obvious grudges. All attention focused on the two African-Americans who were expelled from the Games and sent home in disgrace by the U.S. Olympic team management.
What I did not know until a few years ago was that Peter Norman suffered a far worse fate: He was quietly and deliberately ostracized, gradually and in the same hypocritical ways his country carried out for nearly two hundred years its callous and secret extermination and persecution of the Australian aboriginal population.
Norman had been tainted with the same tar brush by the Australian establishment that was used to paint the natives as a lazy, untrustworthy and subhuman species, stone age tribal people who were hunted down like wild beasts by squatters and station owners, herded into reservations, raped, robbed and routed from their land, people who had no recourse to the laws of the country because the white Australian government did not recognize them as citizen or fellow human beings but only as part of the indigenous flora and fauna.
One year before Peter Norman made his silver medal dash at the Mexican Olympics Australia’s aborigines were ‘awarded’ citizenship and with it the right to a passport, the right to vote, the right to legal protection. That was back in 1967.
Norman came from a devout Salvation Army family, a strong believer in human rights and the equality of all mankind. He sold meat pies to buy his first running spikes. He suffered from asthma and wagged school to train. He became a butcher’s apprentice, later a teacher. His family had fought for aboriginal rights at a time when aboriginal children were still taken from their mothers and fathers and boarded with white people. A Royal Inquiry in the 1990s found the children were often raped and abused by their foster fathers amid an official policy: ‘To breed the blackness out of them.’
For Norman it was only normal and Christian to support Smith and Carlos in their symbolic gesture for the rights of colored people in the USA just as it had been natural to campaign for aboriginal rights in an Australia that pretended it was doing everything it could, including lavishing social security payments for its aboriginal population while in reality there existed, and still exists the same racist streak of their forefathers who took the land by force from the natives with the justification the entire continent was ‘terra nullius’ (Nobody’s Land).
Persecution in Australia has always been executed quietly, subtly, without fuss, but with the complicity of the establishment and its fawning media. Once tar-brushed as undesirable the paint sticks forever. Norman was not exempted from such treatment. At the Olympic Village he was only mildly reprimanded by his country’s Olympic officials for wearing a button on the victory dais with the initials ‘OPHR’ (The Olympic Project for Human Rights).
Even his open confession that he told the two Americans ‘I will stand with you’ was quietly accepted. So was his admission that when Carlos forgot his black gloves, he had suggested the two should each wear one of Smith’s gloves, the reason why Smith wore the right glove, Carlos the left in the picture that went around the world.
Unlike the Americans the Australians announced no official sanction against their star sprinter. He simply vanished into oblivion. He was not banned from competing at home. He simply was never selected for another Olympics although his running times qualified him. The media did not talk about him.
Since the Olympics in 1968 I had lived abroad as foreign correspondent and like most Australians I knew nothing more about Peter Norman except that he had stood on the same dais as Smith and Carlos. Even today most Australians know nothing about the man who believed so strongly in the equality of all human beings that he was prepared to sacrifice his fame and future, conscious as he must have been, that a super-conservative Australian officialdom would never forgive him for having embarrassed their allies – the United States. Besides, the trend to support colored people in the USA might spill over into Australia.
Australia never rehabilitated Norman nor apologized for turning him into an undesirable unlike the United States where Smith and Carlos were reinstated in the 1980s as heroes and torch carriers of civil rights.
I did attend the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000 this time as correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. I had long forgotten Norman. Like everyone else I was unaware he had not been invited for the lap of honor given to all Australian Olympic medal winners. Sick, tired, depressed and addicted to pain killers he was once again ignored.
But not by his old buddies, Smith and Carlos, who had kept in touch with him over the years. When they heard he was snubbed once more, 32 years after the ceremony in Mexico, the two men convinced the US Track and Field Federation to invite Peter Norman as the personal guest of the Federation at the Sydney Olympics.
Six years later Peter Norman died of a heart attack on October 9, 2006, a day the U.S. Track and Field Federation now celebrates annually as ‘Peter Norman Day.’
Smith and Carlos flew from the United States to be pallbearers at his funeral. In his eulogy Carlos referred to that historic moment on the dais: “Peter didn’t have to take that button. Peter was not from the United States. Peter was not a black man. Peter didn’t have to feel what I felt. But Peter was a man.”
Then he added: “I expected to see fear in Peter’s eyes. But I saw only love.”
Perhaps it is time a new Australian generation learned about this remarkable man. One certainly can not expect the old generation to repent.

Uli Schmetzer was foreign correspondent for Reuters and the Chicago Tribune for 37 years. He is the author of ‘Times of Terror’ ‘Gaza,’
‘The Chinese Juggernaut’ and ‘The Lama’s Lover’ (to be released in July 2012.) All are available in print and digital version on http://www.Amazon.com
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Local News

Families Protest Abusive Foreclosure Practices of Wells Fargo Bank A26 10:37AM

How is CCSA's Ref Rodriguez hiding his billionaire and ideologue contributors? A21 12:08PM

What drives charter profiteer Ref Rodriguez? A21 12:04PM

Los Angeles Artist Threatens 40 Million Dollar Law Suit for Public Storage Illegal Auction A20 4:08PM

RAC-LA Community Center Grand Opening A20 1:44PM

KPFK and Pacifica- woes unrelenting... A19 4:20PM

RAC-LA Community Center Badly Needs Your Support A14 10:09PM

Meet Green elected school board members, Sunday, March 29 in LA - 4pm M26 2:36AM

Californians Shame Regulators For Teaching Big Oil How To Skirt Law and Pollute Our Water M25 5:28PM

Next "Star Wars" to score in Los Angeles for First Time in Franchise History M25 10:43AM

Los Angeles Stands Up for Women's Rights M10 9:25PM

American Flag Banned from UC Irvine M06 10:38PM

Conversations with 3 HOLES AND A SMOKING GUN M06 5:27PM

Indymedia and the Cyber Left M01 4:03PM

FEDS ALLOW LAWSUIT TO SHUT DOWN DIABLO CANYON TO PROCEED F27 8:18PM

Open Letter to LA indymedia re hardly any more comments F27 12:07PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique du discours logique A28 1:31AM

Paraphysique du discours logique A28 1:27AM

Rescued Animals go Back to the Jungle with Help from Peru’s Armed Forces A27 1:50PM

CDC Lies In Calling Cigarettes The Number 1 Cause Of Preventable Death A27 12:10PM

Aftershocks Pummel Highly Indebted Nepal: Poor Country Spends 217 Million Annually on Debt A27 7:56AM

Philippine Women's Group Gabriela blast President Aquino A27 6:09AM

A Divided Society A27 4:55AM

Media Activism in Argentina A26 7:25PM

Actualización del golpe de estado en Honduras en marzo de 2015 A26 4:16PM

Explication of Salient Events : fbi As Criminal Sovereignty A24 9:48AM

350 McDonalds Shut Down Since January 350 More Scheduled To Close A24 6:29AM

Les prisons intérieures A23 10:56PM

The Shortwave Report 04/24/15 Listen Globally! A23 2:46PM

Severely Injured Animals and Corrupt Cops A23 12:23AM

USA's Police State, Ungodly A22 2:56PM

San Francisco Supervisors ban wild animal performances A22 11:30AM

US Council of Muslim Organizations statement on Armenian incident A21 7:50AM

Politics Faded Out the Constitutional Offensiveness of Trade Agreements A21 4:14AM

Paraphysique de synecdoque A20 11:08PM

The fake sincerity of pro-Palestinian commentators A19 6:59PM

The Goodness of Mankind Is Threatened A19 1:26PM

Comments on the European Commission's approach to investor-state arbitration A18 11:02AM

World Bank Announces Package of Aid and Loans to Ebola-Affected Countries A17 7:13AM

Paraphysique de l'anarchisme A16 11:02PM

Overdue farewell to dogma A16 7:07PM

The Shortwave Report 04/17/15 Listen Globally! A16 5:04PM

The Sleazy Corporate Thieves of Public Storage: Ronald L. Havner Jr. , B. Wayne Hughes.... A16 2:02PM

Socialist Animalism A16 9:50AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy