Thursday, December 15, 2005

More on Australia ...

From my friend down under.

First, a query from a Canadian correspondent of his:
So what the hell is going on in Sydney (and other locales)? I had initially assumed this was just the unfortunate but not entirely unexpected result of too much beer, sun and testosterone, but it's obviously blossomed into something rather more dangerous and widespread, to the extent that the Muslims are actually organizing and fighting back, according to the breathless report on CTV last night about a large group of men guarding their mosque from marauders. It's hard to tell from here if the uproar is specifically anti-Muslim or, as seems more likely, anti-brown-people.

I was just listening to an interview on CBC Radio-1 with two Aussie politicians, one a conservative from Western Australia, who predictably decried the "de-australianization" (his coinage) incumbent upon letting thousands of non-Euros in, the other a liberal from Tasmania who equally predictably laid the whole mess at the feet of GW Bush and his lackey that Howard fellow; the difference I note in political discourse between Canada and Oz is that the Aussies are much less punctilious in their observance of political correctness in terminology (if a Canadian politician said "we let all these eye-shuns in, they breed like bloody rabbits, stick to themselves, they're not real austrleyeyuns", which is my paraphrase of the chap from WA, he'd find himself in a criminal court). The radio piece went on with a discussion with some Canadian "experts" on multiculturalism
and "could it happen here" (duh).
And here's the response (written, it seems, from the heart of the Aussie summer. It was not far above thirty-five degrees here in SC today as well. Fahrenheit, i.e.):
Oh no, nothing at all like that. I wonder that they asked someone in WA and someone in Tassie about what's going on in Sydney. That would be like asking someone in Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland to explain Vancouver.

This has been brewing for a very long time actually. But it's not a matter of the Lebanese fighting back; quite the contrary. Lebanese gangs have been becoming increasingly cheeky -- harassing Anglos on trains, pack-raping Anglo girls they drag OFF trains accompanied by "How do you like it Leb-style, Aussie pig?" and then their mothers attending the trial in hijab and spitting on the rape victims, the imam of their mosque opining on the telly that any girl who goes about dressed as western women do has only herself to blame if she gets raped. And their silly Anglo lawyers attempting to raise the defence that in the Muslim world women are hidden away in purdah so the men can only be expected to go wild when they are in a free country. (Grounds, I'd have thought, for disbarment on on the grounds of incompetence.) That kind of thing.

This latest arose when a gang of Lebanese thugs had increasingly been attempting to take exclusive possession of the beach in the suburb where last Sunday's infelicity had occurred -- harassing Anglo beach-goers, then the week before actually stabbing a teenage lifeguard. This was the Anglo kids' reaction: an overreaction, to be sure, but as I say, it had been building. Very silly of the Lebanese to turn around and react by rampaging down streets bashing in windshields with cricket bats, firing guns into a Catholic school and burning down a Methodist church hall: if anyone was going to be bleeding heart about it….Needless to say the Malaysians are lapping it up as a cat does cream. I do wonder what my Gulf Arab client, who emailed that he's coming to see me on Friday, might have to say about all this.

They don't have much use for Lebanese, much less Indian and Pakistani Muslims -- who not being (1) Gulf Arabs and (2) not being bleakly austere Wahabis are essentially indistinguishable from kaffirs. There was a Lebanese engineer in my law school class at UNSW who had worked for a couple of years in "Saudi" and carried on to a faretheewell about the "ragheads." I earnestly inquired whether he thought it was easier for him to deal with them being Arab himself and he turned on his heel and stomped off. Ultimately he married a Malaysian princess, hired a private passenger liner to take guests from Sydney to the wedding, and is now a property developer in North Borneo where he is the chief expulsion agent charged with getting rid of pesky indigenous landowners standing in the way of luxury resort hotels.

The news media are of course going all wet about the deep core of racism in Australian society that is revealed by such an incident -- echoing the ineffable Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia who has gleefully come out of his retirment to say exactly that -- and getting it dead wrong. Australia's record in that department is nothing to be especially proud of, but honestly. Oh well, there'll be a great thing about how everyone's Australian and we need to learn to get on (ie not rise to provocation by Lebs) and it will blow over and return to normal (see above), no doubt. There's been some considerable urging by the Muslim women's associations – not Lebanese ones -- for Lebanese parents to take their sons' mobile phones away, which would actually doubtless be a very good thing. (They text message each other, you see, about where to congregate and bash Anglos.)

So to answer your question more specifically, no, not anti-brown or even anti-Muslim, but anti-Lebanese Muslim. The Lebanese Christians -- to the extent that there are any pur-laine ones -- being of course middle class mainstream Australians themselves, are, silly buggers, climbing onto the what-this-reveals-about-the-racist-core-of-Australian-society bandwagon and muddying the waters. Not to speak of unnecessarily identifying themselves with the original culprits to everyone else

I am indeed sweltering. Thirty-five degrees yesterday. That probably had something to do with the short tempers as well. That and the amount of beer that gets taken to beaches when it's like this.
The Australian, with a disturbing report about churches being targeted.

Cronulla surfers apologise. (Mighty decent of them. Perhaps the other side should reciprocate as well?)

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