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.

Alba gu bràth

This piece is a thank you to the 97% of Scottish Westminster MPs who voted against conducting airstrikes against targets in war-torn Syria.

I salute you. I commend you.

As for the other 3% who voted with the English MPs; hang your heads in shame. You are no better than the nobles who aided and abetted Edward Longshanks and the countless other English kings who sought to subjugate the Scots. You are no better than the men who accepted bribes that led Scotland into political Union with England in 1707 (against the wishes of the majority of its people); a move that made us second class citizens within said Union. You are no better than the men who fought alongside the Hanoverians at Culloden.

You disgust me. You insult the memory of Wallace and the Bruce, and everything they fought for. Have you forgotten the words of the Declaration of Arbroath?  Let me remind you:

For so long as a hundred of us are left alive, 

we will yield in no least way to English dominion.

We fight not for glory, nor for wealth, nor honours:

But only and alone we fight for freedom,

which no good man surrenders but with his life.

You have forsaken your heritage. Scotland has a long and proud history of fighting against oppression. What you have helped unleash upon the poor civilian population of Syria is just that- oppression.

Not to mention that you have sent young Scots off to die. Per capita more Scots than English die in Westminster’s wars. Scottish lives for an English war? I see no sense in that.

FREE PALESTINE!

As Associate Professor Halim Rane said; “The origins of the Israel-Palestine Conflict are modern”. Make no mistake- they are. At the end of World War I (WWI) Britain acquired the region known as Palestine from the Ottoman Empire.

One year previous to the acquisition of Palestine, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration. Whereby Britain pledged to facilitate the creation of a Jewish homeland in the region of Palestine.

Post-WWI this process was initiated by permitting the mass-immigration of European Jews into Palestine. Under the Ottomans, Palestine maintained a population that was more than 80% Muslim (the remainder a mixture of Christians and Jews). Violence sparked almost immediately, as the Jewish settlers forcibly removed the Palestinians from their land, and were subsequently prohibited from working the stolen land.

This continued until 1936-9 when the Palestinians finally revolted en mass. In fact, they managed to regain control over some of the stolen areas. 100,000 British troops were deployed to suppress the insurrection, which they accomplished. As a result, the Palestinians were disarmed.

Moving into the 1940s, the Jewish population had risen to approximately 30%. At this point, the settlers made their play for power. A co-ordinated bombing campaign was conducted against both British and Palestinian targets in an attempt to gain control of the region. The culmination of which came with the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946.

Britain pulled out, and handed the fate of Palestine over to the newly-established United Nations (UN). The UN then passed Resolution 181, which partitioned Palestine into a Jewish State and a Palestinian State. Anyone who knows anything about partitionism knows, it doesn’t work. Look at Northern Ireland, look at Syria, look at Iraq, look at India and Pakistan. I rest my case.

The Jews accepted Res. 181. The Palestinians didn’t, and for good reason.

The Jews were awarded 55% of the land. This region contained all of the “key infrastructure”, according to Rane. Electricity, water, ports, arable land, etc. This meant 30% of the population was treated favourably. A privileged settler minority no less.

Palestinians who were 70% of the population were quite obviously disenfranchised. More so, they legally owned 97% of the land prior to partition. Furthermore, as we have seen, they were virtually defenceless. The Israelis sprung into action and began the acquisition of territory. To this day we are dealing with the consequences of Res. 181.

 

Sources and further reading: Halim Rane; Ilan Pape; Benny Morris; Avi Shlaim; Tom Segev; Hillel Cohen; Baruch Kimmerling.

 

 

 

Melton: A Firsthand Account

Melton was the site of yet another disgraceful bigoted protest by Reclaim Australia (RA). Their ranks bolstered by deluded Nationalists like the True Blue Crew (TBC) as well as Nazi skinheads.

They did not go unopposed however. There to meet them were the combined forces of Socialist Alternative (SA), Bendigo Action Coalition (BAC), Antifa, Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (CARF), numerous ‘independents’ like myself, and others.

There were instances of sporadic violence throughout the day, as Nazis and RA cling-ons tried to infiltrate our ranks, and disrupt our protest. All were repelled. Victoria Police even attempted to unleash their cavalry on us. This was halted in spite of our ranks being doused in CS spray/foam. Many brave demonstrators, risking life and limb, put their bodies literally on the line, to hold back the advancing cavalry.

 

Our point was made. Bigotry will not be tolerated in Melton, or anywhere else in Australia for that matter.

The injuries sustained by our people (myself included) should be worn with pride. Each one is a badge of honour; whether they are CS burns, bruises, broken bones, split lips etc.

To each and every human being who came out to oppose the bigots, I salute you. I offer you my thanks, and my solidarity.

Tiocfaidh ár lá!

Social Media & Sympathy

I have held off making a blog/statement about the horrific attacks in Paris. It is generally better to take time to evaluate a situation. Jumping to conclusions, as we so often see, leads down the wrong path.

After much contemplation, I feel compelled to break my silence. In particular, the social media trend of melding one’s profile picture with the French tricolour has me twisted. Annoyed. Angered even. Why does the atrocity in Paris warrant the world’s sympathy more so than the countless other horrors and injustices being perpetrated throughout the world at this very moment?

I speak of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land; the mutilation of female genitalia by Christians, Jews and Muslims in central and southern Africa; the bombing of innocent civilians by Russian and American air-strikes in Syria; the two women a week who die as a result of domestic violence here in Australia; the list goes on and on.

We, as a species, cannot afford to be indifferent to any atrocity.

 

Sands of Time

Almost thirty-five years ago, Robert Gerard Sands, the Officer Commanding of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) inmates inside Long Kesh prison, near Belfast, Northern Ireland, began a hunger strike for political recognition. Sands didn’t want to die. Nor did the nine men who followed after him, but they did. All of them. Each starving himself to death, one after the other. The oldest man to sacrifice himself was Joe McDonnell aged only 30.

Their leader Bobby lasted sixty-six days without food, taking only water and salt for nourishment. He chose to die, rather than live with the label of criminal, which had been bestowed upon him by the British Government, for his activities as an Irish guerrilla fighter. It was his mission to see British-controlled Northern Ireland reunited with the independent Republic of Ireland to the south.

Bobby was a twenty-seven year old Catholic. He was a father, a brother, a son and a husband. At a young age, he and the rest of his family, were evicted from their home by hardline Protestants, who were supporters of the British Imperial presence in Ireland. At age seventeen he was forced out of work by further intimidation from Protestant Loyalists. Many of the other Hunger Strikers, before their incarcerations, had been exposed to similar acts of persecution.

I doubt many Gen-X or Y kids (outside of Northern Ireland) would recognise any of their names, or understand much of their individual stories. Despite the significant Catholic demographic worldwide. So why bother to write about Bobby Sands and his comrades at all? What do they have to offer current and future generations?

Quite simply, their deaths transcend concepts of Irishness or Catholicism. Instead, their sacrifice should be an example to all. Whether you agree with their politics/methods or not, their legacy speaks for itself. What will your legacy say about you?

As for my own legacy, if I were to die tomorrow, the most that could be said is that I am happily married and in the process of writing my PhD. To some these are significant accomplishments. I would argue that my accomplishments pale in comparison to that of Bobby’s, and the nine other men who gave their lives on hunger strike.

I have taken my lead from Bobby, a man I never knew, but have shed many a tear for nonetheless. Bobby’s sacrifice has impressed upon me the need to make this world a better place. As Bobby said himself, “Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has their own particular role to play”. Although, Bobby was referring to the Northern Irish conflict, his simple philosophy can be extended to every aspect of human life, anywhere in the world. We all have a role to play in building a better world, not only for ourselves, but for our children.

The fact that some human beings have to die to impress this upon the rest of us is truly saddening. It should be inherent in us all to strive for a better world, free of injustice. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as all that.

So I say to you, please, don’t let the sacrifice of Bobby Sands, and his nine companions, be in vain. Play your role.

In Defence of What?

I am struggling to remember a time when social media in Australia wasn’t dominated by posts lambasting Islam. The general theme present is almost always the erosion of ‘Australian culture’. Yet, the authors of such posts are generally unable to actually define what Australian culture is. I even know of one individual- born and raised in Australia- who couldn’t explain what the Australian flag represented, yet was horrified when it was burnt at a Reclaim Australia (RA) rally.

To be blunt, the only authentic form of Australian culture is that of the Indigenous population (which has been present on Australian soil for approximately 50,000 years). I say this because the Indigenous peoples have their own languages, dress, music, customs and religion/mythology; all of which were developed over many millennia. Non-Indigenous Australia has nothing to compare to this. Everything it holds dear has come from somewhere else.

So it is rather ironic when groups like RA screech about protecting the Australian way-of-life. What they don’t seem to realise is that in post-1788 Australia, the only way-of-life here is actually multiculturalism. I am sorry to be the one to break it to them. Furthermore, the Indigenous population had no avenue to recourse when European migration began, so what makes these bogans think they do when it comes to Muslims?

Oh and one last thing; I am sorry, but a Bluey, footy shorts, thongs, a mullet and can of VB is not culture, it is clear evidence of a lack thereof.

Why this Atheist is Prepared to Defend Religious Liberties

Generally, I am wary of labels. I try to avoid them at all costs, which is a difficult task these days, so to some extent it is unavoidable. Labels tend to segregate people; whether it is left-wing/right-wing or Christian/Muslim. I like to think of myself as simply a human being, whereas others desperately feel the need to apply specific labels in a desperate attempt to define themselves.

Although, I will admit I am comfortable with describing myself as an atheist, as well as a libertarian. The latter is one of few labels out there that doesn’t function to segregate the masses. Its core principal is respect for others. That is why as an individual who would prefer a world without a god- of any description- it would be hypocritical of me to force others to abandon their belief in the Divine. Put simply, it is just plain disrespectful.

So when I witness a group like the United Patriots Front (UPF) call for the extirpation of Islam from Australia, I rally to the side of my Muslim brothers and sisters (despite my objections to certain aspects of their beliefs). And I will continue to do so until the day god, is but an academic footnote contained within some dusty tome locked away in the deep dark recesses of the Earth.