Australia in denial
Australia, like the rest of the Western world, is in denial. A mob of drunken rioters attacked minorities in Sydney, shouting racist slogans and injuring over 30 people. The violence then spread to other areas where a man was stabbed and cars were damaged. Yet, prime minister Howard, whilst condemning the violence as “sickening” stated, “I do not accept that there is underlying racism in this country”.
The French, in spite of a fortnight of rioting, do not accept that they have a problem with racism either, nor do the British, but they all have created the sickening conditions where a small group of racists can incite a drunken mob and send them on the rampage for Arab or Paki bashing. They have consistently vilified immigrants, and particularly Muslims, as enemies of society and would-be terrorists. When a man pulled the headscarf off a Muslim lady in Sidney he probably thought he was doing his country a service. Throughout the Western world the Muslim symbol of decency is portrayed as a sign of militancy which needs to be removed. The French succeeded doing this by manipulating the law, the Aussies, after a few cans of lager, preferred to take the law into their own hands.
The British are even more cunning. They let women keep their scarves, happy that this makes it easier for them to be discriminated against, and even get the head of the government-sponsored race relations body, Trevor Phillips, to lecture Muslims on the need to integrate. The facts, however, remain: Until Western societies acknowledge that they have created an enemy image within, the tension will not ease. It smacks of nothing but hypocrisy to chastise people, drunken or not, for simply acting upon the sound bites they are fed daily by their political leadership. Of course, we could say that we get the leaders we deserve, in which case the blame falls squarely back on the whole of society.
Maybe what is really “sickening” is the inability of the so-called democratic process to remove bad and corrupt politicians from positions of leadership.