Still Scared of Muslims?

We are fast approaching the 20th anniversary of the Port Arthur killings in Tasmania. Considering the current wave of Islamophobic hysteria sweeping the nation of Australia, a brief appraisal of the Port Arthur Massacre is needed to provide some perspective.

Martin John Bryant (pictured), born and raised in Tasmania, executed 35 people and injured a further 23. His weapons of choice were an SLR and an AR-15. The Lindt café siege pales in comparison, in terms of the human cost.

Currently, this is the third-largest mass-shooting by a lone gunman in history.

Guess what? Bryant wasn’t Muslim.

The United Patriots Front and Reclaim Australia, along with their supporters whilst happy to foment social discord around the topic of Islamic extremism, are quick to forget that Australia’s worst terrorist attack- and that is exactly what it was- was perpetrated by a ‘true blue Aussie’.

So let me ask you, are you still scared of Muslims?

Power of the Petition pt. 2: The Day we Beat Chapman

I wasn’t expecting to write a sequel to my last blog, but things have a funny way of turning out sometimes.

After being made aware that the Foundry Hotel Complex in Bendigo was going to host One Nation’s Victorian Senate campaign launch, I took it upon myself to draft a petition demanding that the Foundry cancel the event. And they did; after a few phone calls were made and Facebook messages left by some of my acquaintances.

It was a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. Elise Chapman’s bid for a Victorian Senate seat has suffered a setback. But the job is not done. Pressure must be maintained. Should One Nation, Pauline Hanson or Chapman try to relocate their campaign launch to another venue, said venue must be made aware of the community’s disgust at the idea of hosting such a vile collection of racists and xenophobes.

Hey Elise, how’s life?

 

Power of the Petition

I was once told by a student that online petitions get “nowhere in Australia”.

I disagreed then, and I disagree now.

Several months ago Australian TV presenter Samantha Armytage made a horrific racist comment, that clearly left her co-host taken aback. Armytage and her co-host were interviewing a pair of non-identical twins; one dark-skinned and the other light-skinned. One child had taken on the racial attributes of the father, and the other had taken on the attributes of the mother. Armytage responded “good on her” to the light-skinned twin.

An online petition from Change.org appeared demanding an apology, which Armytage subsequently gave. So petitions go nowhere? Clearly not. Whilst I personally believe Armytage should have been sacked, I take some solace in the fact that this petition- which gained more than 3,000 signatories- helped procure an apology.

Publicists tried to pass off the comment: ‘Sam has always admitted that her own fair complexion was a disadvantage in the Australian environment. We apologise if anyone misunderstood or if they were offended.’ I smell bullshit.

Even so, let us not forget the power of a petition, even in this day and age. Next time however, I hope that petition procures a more acceptable outcome.

 

Sources: Sunrise; Daily Mail; news.com.au; smh.com.au.

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.