So. 2017, eh. What can we say about that? In 2017, the planet turned, creating the illusion of days. In 2017, you have so far endured 355 of these solar deceptions. You will travel 26 million kilometres through space, and then, 2017 will exist only in your memory. Unless you are a quantum-y type.

If you are, please tell me if, and how, multiple 2017s might exist. Then, reassure me there’s a 2017 in which I do not find Apple Inc. celestially irritating. A 2017 in which no single company can come to have such heft, it can demolish a building currently used by the Koorie Heritage Trust, an organisation that supports Aboriginal culture.

We learned yesterday that Apple may open a shop in Melbourne’s Federation Square without a by-your-leave to the people of a city who knew that site as theirs. And, no, that’s not some claim I pulled out of my commie date, but a thing that I, and all other Victorians, had been told from the turning of the first effing sod.

We have been since reminded by State Government how good it is of State Government to permit our use of facilities we’ve paid for. Facilities built on the land stolen from Wurundjeri people. If I wanted to learn a bit more about Wurundjeri people, other than that they are often insincerely honoured in Melbourne’s political speech as “traditional owners”, I might have visited the Koorie Heritage Trust. A Wurundjeri person might have visited, too, if they wanted to learn a bit about the family they’d been stolen from.

Just two years ago, State Government was “Celebrating and increasing understanding of 60,000 years of history and heritage” when the Trust moved into its present quarters at Fed Square. Back then, State Government said, “this new location will mean Victorians get even better access to the Trust’s remarkable collection.” Yesterday, State Government had forgotten better access and was “thrilled that Apple has chosen Melbourne and Federation Square for their new Global Flagship Store.” Fed Square was identically “thrilled”. Apple was also “thrilled” and “honoured to call the world-class galleries and museums of Melbourne our neighbours.” No mention here of the gallery at the Koorie Heritage Trust.

In a gracious statement yesterday, the Trust did not say that it was “thrilled”. It did advise, “The presence of an Apple Global Flagship Store at Federation Square is a Federation Square tenancy matter.” The Trust suggested queries regarding the matter be directed to 03 9655 1900, which is the number of Federation Square. Which is 03 9655 1900. This is the number to call if you believe that a low-budget, not-for-profit whose work for more than 30 years has been to uphold the cultural practice of south-eastern Aboriginal peoples should not budge for Apple. Especially not to a building named for Alfred Deakin, architect of the White Australia Policy.

I might call Fed Square to remind them that one of the kindest things Al ever had to say about Aboriginal people is that those steps he would take, “to safeguard White Australia against coloured aliens” would not also be taken “against coloured indigenes” as he believed that they would expire “to make way for an all-white nation”. I might ask them to rename the Alfred Deakin Building the All White Nation. I might call. On 03 9655 1900.

I know, of course, that this is not the most awful thing that Apple or any company has done. No corporate giant in history ever grew or maintained their strength through kindness.

But for now, let me say, without hope or agenda: Apple. To me, you are perfidious. And it is with this sign that I convey what I saw in 2017: a world largely convinced that those who now have the most power will act as no powerful entity in history ever has, and give their power away.

At Christmas, we tell the truth. And the truth is that in concentrating profit and power, there can be no virtuous pause. The truth is that the only real change to power is in its language. The “coloured indigene” bound to “expire” is rebranded in 2017 a “traditional owner”. And my wasted heart will hate this imperial evil until it finally reveals itself to look like this.

To praise “diversity”, as so many powerful corporations do, is not even meaningless. It is cruel obfuscation. “Diverse” peoples are pushed out of galleries by Apple, are subjected to horror by Facebook, have rent-seeking pushed into their hands by Amazon, and are violated unspeakably by companies that would not survive were it not for the children of Congo.

I mustn’t go about reproaching Apple for being Apple; I might as well ask the Earth to spin the other way. In 2018, corporations will continue the deception that they are not the new imperialists. In 2018, the sun will continue to appear to us as new each day.

Peter Fray

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