Everyone's commenting on the Cronulla Race Violence (CronRaV). I don't want to comment on the violence, but I do have some comments about the commenters.
We all watched Paris erupt in violence a couple of months ago. My first thought was "Muslims in France? Bonjour-Salaam!"
I guess Jean-Pierre is watching TV news in Paris, wondering about those Muslims in Australia! Quel Bizarre!
Let's not kid ourselves, the world is watching. Word is the international news media converged on Cronulla yesterday and they're all still there reporting, filming, blogging. Whatever I, you, she, he thought about those French Muslims... the rest of the world is thinking it about us now. About Cronulla. About you.
The world knows four things about Australia's race relations/human rights history:
1. We displaced and mistreated the Aboriginal inhabitants
2. We flirted with a little thing called the One Nation Party a few years ago
3. We use the Department of Immigration like a foreigner deterrent using fear
4. We tell the Chinese to shape up and follow our good example.
Hmm... not a good track record. It's funny the way people reacted to the news of Muslim unrest in France and how the same people are reacting to the home-grown stuff.
Conversation around town is subdued and coffee shops are full of tête-a-tête couples with concerned faces. The boozy conversation at the pub last night - watching the more palatable hatred of Danny Green and Anthony Mundine in the boxing - was silenced as for five minutes the bar manager switched over to the news to watch the live updates. We all gazed in silence and then went back to our conversations, but the whispering was all around. "Gee that's scary." "It's just terrible."
It's funny that none of the reactions I've seen have been about one side or the other in the argument. No one I hear is saying "I support the Bra Boys! Let’s retaliate!" "This is my country! Send 'em all home!" People are all just disgusted by the violence - and what it could symbolize. The vibe I've been getting around town is a fear of the racial polarisation. People are cringing back from the words "white supremacists" and "racial hatred". We don't want to be that kind of society. That's the big fear now – are we really a racist society? It's something that is scaring people.
Some will say it’s just the undercurrent coming to the surface. Pollies vehemently disagree – unanimously. The Prime Minister says the events are sickening, but not indicative of a wider problem. So does Kim Beazley. Are bipartisan politics overshadowed by the fear of a bad global image? Or is it a genuine political fear of a breakdown of society? I guess it’s just the right thing to do and I’m being cynical.
I don’t know if I’m irritated by this country’s concern for it’s world image or if I’m proud our reaction is overwhelmingly one of condemnation of the violence – regardless of the message of either side.
I guess I’m both. Like usual. What else is on TV, the cop shows bore me.
Tags: Cronulla, racial hatred, Sydney, riot, riots, Muslim, Muslims, violence