Aussie PM John Howard needs to come out of his denial mode about racism in the recent Sydney riots. He went into his usual stuff about the Sydney riots not harming Australia’s overseas image, but already Malaysia’s Foreign Minister has pounced on those events to indicate, undoubtedly with a smirk, that racism is well and alive in Australia and not confined to Arabs and Muslims only.
Aussie Opposition leaders disagree with Howrad, asking him not to bury his head in the sand. I don’t believe he’s behaving like an ostrich. In fact, John Howard is a man who calculates with precision every move he makes. The truth is he doesn’t want to label the recent rioting as of racial causes because that would require him to tag one part of the mob as racists, and that, according to his political abacus, doesn’t click right.
In fact Howard has cleverly shifted the argument slightly without most people noticing, except of course for Ktemoc ;-) no applause please.
Howard avers that Australia is not a racist country which I and most people, including the Muslim Lebanese community would agree, but that was NOT the point of the argument. The issue was on the rioting in Cronulla, not the whole of Australia. That’s how wily Howard can be when he ‘controls’ the discussion according to his agenda. I cannot help but admire him for his political astuteness.
Meanwhile, the racist violence has spread across Australia to two other other cities, Perth and Adelaide.
Perth has had its share of redneck antics, where some years ago, an ethnic Chinese taxi driver was kicked to death by a young white male, who hated Asians. The offender was sentenced to imprisonment but was released within a couple of years because of his age and rehabilitation blah blah blah. The Aussie wife of the killed taxi driver was incensed at the lack of justice but there wasn't anything she could do. Then there were fire bombings of Chinese restaurants by white supremacist groups.
This time those redneck wonders targeted a Middle Eastern family in Perth and a Lebanese Australian taxi driver in Adelaide. The attacks have been linked to the Sydney's race violence.
In Perth, a group of 11 Caucasian men threw eggs, shouted abuse and kicked the garage door of an Arab family - those wonders would never dare be alone, would they? - while in Adelaide, one of two passengers punched a Lebanese Aussie taxi driver purportedly over the fares, but the racist comments uttered by the assailant with reference to the Cronulla incident made it obvious that there was a link between the race motivated assaults.
Taxi driver Hossein Kazemi was injured in the attack, and is now having second thoughts about Australia being a tolerant country. I don’t blame him for thinking so after his bashing, but I would urge him to be aware that in every country one meets all sorts of cowardly wonders who thrived on feeding on the weak or few or women, and not to be discouraged by those isolated incidents. The majority of Aussies are good people.
In Melbourne the offices of the Islamic Council of Victoria have been vandalised for the second time in a month. Some idiot threw a brick through the front window of the building.
The racist violence has not been one-sided. In Sydney in a Lebanese dominated area, shots were fired at a Catholic school when school children were singing Christmas carols. Due to the inherent danger of such wild gunfire, another Catholic school has cancelled its carolling. This won't look good in the eyes of most Christian Aussies.