Thursday, December 15, 2005

Howard's Australia

While I wasn't really following the news in Australia, it was difficult to avoid hearing about the Sydney riots. I'm not sure what the New Zealand coverage has been like, but from reading The Age, one thing is crystal clear: this is Howard's Australia, the endpoint of his policy of xenophobia towards immigrants. It's a point powerfully made by Bill Leak in a cartoon in The Australian on Tuesday, depicting "Howard's battlers" echoing his words on refugees - but applying them to Australians:


And its a point made in The Age, which pointed the finger at Bali, 9/11, and the Tampa, the boatload of helpless refugees the Australian government refused to let ashore, and instead sent to its own offshore gulag on Nauru.

John Howard claims that Australia is not a racist nation. He's wrong. When even casual visitors are confronted with newspaper headlines about "blacks", and overhear people in the train station talking about "wogs" and "Lebbos" and how great it was that they got a bashing, you know that there is something deeply wrong with Australian society.


So Sydney & Ausie don't really change.

About 1970 I was taken on a special night out on a Friday in Sydney town,the guides were two vice squad night shift police with my Sydney agent who had arranged the tour.
In the course of the evening we passed through a pub in Woolomloo with the warning not to look anyone in the eye.
The main event was an Aboriginal girl being auctioned off to the highest bidder.
I have never forgotten that experience.
Aussie battlers indeed.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/15/2005 08:14:00 PM

The above cartoon is guilty of the same sort of thing that is the problem.
It is equating a subsection of the comunity in particular a surfie gang with the entire comunity, just as certain comentators equate the lebanese gang with being lebanese.

There is racism out ther but in terms of cause and effect the white racism is just as much an effect as is hte lebanese racism/sexism etc.

The point is you need to develop some policies to make the situation better as opposed to starting a blame game.

Posted by Genius : 12/16/2005 08:54:00 PM

Anon3: because I'm not prescient.

And no, I don't think it's OK to threaten people with rape, or assault lifeguards for that matter - but that is what police and courts are for. And nedless to say, they should focus on apprehending and punishing the actual perpetrators of such crimes, rather than simply beating up everyone of the same racial group you can find on the basis of some theory of collective racial guilt.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 12/16/2005 09:54:00 PM

Genius: Well, Howard did at one stage call Cronulla "a part of Sydney which has always represented to me what middle Australia is all about". And its something he deserves to be reminded about...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 12/16/2005 10:16:00 PM

I know a policy that'll make things better:
"One bogan - one bullet".

Posted by Rich : 12/17/2005 02:11:00 PM