Cronulla Riots: Australia’s Kristallnacht

11 December 2005 was the day 5,000 drunken White Australians descended on Cronulla beach, and began actively assaulting individuals they perceived to be of Middle Eastern extraction.

Whilst this incident must never be forgotten, it most certainly shouldn’t be celebrated or memorialized.

Those who attended the Cronulla ten-year commemorative barbeque should be ashamed of themselves. The holding of such an event is akin to Germans and/or Austrians holding commemorations for Kristallnacht; otherwise known as the Night of Shattered Glass.

On the night of 9/10 November 1938, German and Austrian civilians and paramilitaries carried out deliberate sectarian attacks on Jews and Jewish-owned businesses. This was nothing less than an antisemitic pogrom. In the aftermath, the streets were covered in broken glass and other debris (hence the description).

What we had in 2005 at Cronulla was very much an Islamophobic pogrom. And the fact that such an event was able to take place almost seventy years after Kristallnacht means there is still much work to do. The need to keep fighting against racial hatred is emphasized by the fact that now, ten years after Cronulla, there are some Australians who reminisce on the horrors meted out that day with a degree of reverence.

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