Tuesday, December 13, 2005



I'm not going to try and write anything glib about the current unpleasantness in Sydney's southern beach suburbs -- plenty of other people are already there. I am going to take exception to the slippery semantic slope in the media, that goes from "people of middle eastern appearance" to "Muslim" without pause.


A friend got the call to come down to Cronulla this weekend. Having more than two brain cells, he ignored it, but the text of the message was "Come and support leb and wog bashing day". For those not familiar with the Aussie vernacular, "leb" is short for Lebanese, probably short-hand for all of the Middle East as I doubt most people who use the term could find Lebanon on a map. "Wog" is a general term for people of eastern European descent -- mainly Greece and Italy. Not necessarily Muslim, in other words. More to the point, the local yobbos of the Shire have been beating up yobbos from elsewhere over access to the beach since the 1970s. That this latest bout has a racial overtone just meant it attracted snot-balls like the Patriotic Yoof League or whatever they call themselves, who no doubt escalated things.

There are other things at work, of course, the first of which is undoubtedly alcohol. How many of the mob on Sunday were sober? I don't know whether it's a cultural thing, the dubious contents of the beer or the speed at which they drink it, but Aussies drinking get aggressive very quickly. As a group, they seem to have a inordinately high proportion of angry drunks. Heaven forbid that we should acknowledge a national problem with attitudes to alcohol, of course.

Australian race relations are a joke. The "multiculturalism" policy is all about assimilation, and always will be until white Australians are willing to refer to themselves as such without sounding like arseholes. In general they just call themselves Australians, with the unspoken implication that everyone else must be some other form of life -- wog, leb, chink, abo. Yeah, think about that last one a little harder, why don't we... There isn't an Australian equivalent to the word pakeha. Meanwhile there are, at least in Sydney, many ethnically distinct communities, some living in poor neighbourhoods, with all the strife that goes along with that. Multicultural. Right.

Can I go home now?

OK, I take it back, mostly they are actually from Lebanon, or the descendants of those who are.

Still, WTF?
It is a worldwide phenomenon. People so busy building fences to keep "other" people out that when they glimpse something over the top, greener grass maybe, they blame the "others" for the fence! Is there a truly blameless noble society anywhere in the world? I think not.
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