Monday, December 12, 2005

Cronulla: From all the lands on earth we come

Cronulla riots So we had to whip up a bit of hysteria to pass the anti-terror laws and this what we get as the result?

I feel sorry for the thinking residents of the Sydney beach surburb, Cronulla, who will have to bear the ignominy of yesterday's events. Unfortunately for them, the word Cronulla will now become synonymous with racial violence in Australia.

For me this becomes the first time I've observed such blatantly vile use of Australian icons, songs and images and for me it hits like a sickening punch in the gut because I see it not just in the newspapers and on TV but vented everywhere all over the blogosphere too! I hate to do it, but I have to show you the twisted song I just read which is disturbing not just at an intellectual level but also emotional. Upsetting because "We are Australian" used to be a song about unity and shared opportunity in Australia regardless of the "all the lands on earth we come [from]".

I'm also astounded at how slow both Howard and Beazley have been to condemn the violence on both sides as racism and an abhorrent use of Australian icons. Obviously neither is able to care that in Sydney this weekend something happened that looked like it was out of pre-WW2 Germany. They had to check first with their spin-doctors to find out what level of condemnation the general populace would be comfortable with; how they can spin it so all us Anglo-Sax Aussies won't feel upset... There is no question here though. The violence on either side is equally unjustifiable. What happened in Cronulla yesterday was an truly shameful thing and let's not ignore it or forget it.

Addendum: I and many others have noticed 'Cronulla' has been the top search term at Technorati for at least the last 24 hours. Compared to when I wrote this post, I can now see the posts responding to the riots even further outnumbering the posts of those involved in the action themselves (perhaps by an order of 100). Amid the fallout from the riots I can't help but wonder what this means as a communications phenomenon and what the role of blogs and the Internet in general might be in such conflicts and the understanding of the issues. In the recent French riots, the rioters' blogs received bad press, but not here. Apparently the Cronulla action was largely arranged with the ancient technology of SMS, apparently widely disseminated on talkback radio, thanks to Alan Jones, and by word of mouth.

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Blogger netron said...

i found you via technorati - and yes , it was via a "cronulla" search.

my rosey image of Australia has just been shattered into a million pieces. i would hazard a guess that millions of people around the world have also gotten their dreams shattered. i would just say to people involved in this - look folks, please calm down. the world is watching.

December 13, 2005 2:18 pm  
Blogger mick said...

This is just so messed up. I arrived back in the country to this... I really am lost for words.

December 13, 2005 11:02 pm  
Blogger Lisa said...

To me, the fact that the world is watching and seeing this is good, for it can sometimes be a catalyst for real political will to work on solutions and building understanding.

And Mick, despite all, welcome home. Look on the bright side. Events like this help us understand that dark side of Aussie patriotism is still alive and well, just has been well hidden.

December 13, 2005 11:47 pm  

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