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Monday, 17 September 2012

Social Unrest in Sydney's CBD - The Muslim Riots

The unrest that took place on the streets of the Sydney central business district over the weekend of the 15th and 16th September, were as unfortunate as they were ugly – but perhaps not for the reasons publicly stated on the airwaves and the printed press during and after the event.

Australia is, irrespective of what some would like us to believe, a society that is now made up of many different cultures and ethnicities. This has been so for many a decade, and if we correctly listen to our indigenous brothers and sisters and recognise the hundreds, if not thousands, of different cultures that made up the Australian continent before white settlement, a vast example of multi-culturalism that spread from one side of this great land to the other, north to south, and east to west.

We are not an isolated country bathing in the southern seas, oblivious to the rest of the world and the vast populations of the other continents. We cannot merely interact with these peoples of the world and their cultures when it suits us for trade or other commercial benefits. We must interact with them as a mature member of the so-called ‘global village’. The days of England and the so-called ‘mother-country’ are over. Accept it and reap the cultural and social rewards that are obvious to many, and not just the economic rewards that are more obvious.

The unfortunate aspect of what transpired over the weekend is the ugly face of Australia, those that fed the radio ‘shock-jocks’ of Sydney’s 2UE and 2GB radio stations with evidence of pure vile and hate, calling for an end to immigration, especially from Muslim countries, with the even more radical of these ‘shock-jocks’ supporting each and every word as if their commercial rating counted on each.

I was astounded as I was ashamed as I switched from the ABC coverage where I heard balanced discussions and arguments on both sides of the story, to the commercial stations that seemed to want to win the race-to-the-bottom, indeed succeeding in their fact-less exercise. What the protestors managed to achieve with children holding pure hatred in signs that they held with little understanding of their meaning, was also achieved by ignorant and ratings hungry ‘shock-jocks’ who, in the end, have different methods, yet debase their standing in the community, to equal depths of ‘lowness’.

We need to focus on inclusion and not exclusion, not just between Muslims and non-Mulsims, but between all cultures and religions that fundamentally have only good in their hearts. Let’s not judge everyone by the low standards of ignorant men who see violence as a solution. The rush to violence is the question that challenges us and how we respond as intelligent people is the solution.


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