Racism: who's stirring it up?
Marce Cameron, Sydney
‘‘Alan, it's not just a few Middle Eastern bastards at the weekend, it's thousands. Cronulla is a very long beach and it's been taken over by this scum. It's not a few causing trouble, it's all of them'' - Sydney radio 2GB ‘‘shock jock'' Alan Jones reading out an email on air three days before the Cronulla race riots.
Last December 11, thousands of Anglo-Australian racists, some waving Australian flags and signs with racist slogans, converged on Cronulla beach in the south east. The racist mob, urged on by neo-Nazi white supremacists, verbally abused and assaulted beach-goers of Middle Eastern appearance. The following two nights, dozens of outraged youths of Arab descent drove to Cronulla looking to retaliate.
The Cronulla riots erupted after a week-long campaign of incitement by the corporate media, in particular the Murdoch-owned Daily Telegraph, 2GB and 2UE. The trigger for the race riot was a minor incident: an alleged altercation between two off-duty Cronulla lifeguards and some Middle Eastern youths.
NSW Labor Premier Morris Iemma responded by deploying 800 police to Sydney's eastern and southern beaches. Police used new powers, granted by an December 15 emergency sitting of the NSW parliament, to search people and cars, to confiscate cars and mobile phones (and check text messages) and to ‘‘lock down'' popular beaches with police checkpoints. Entire suburbs also became out of bounds for non-residents.
Following the Cronulla riots, the political establishment and the corporate media launched an intensive campaign to deny what was obvious to a majority of Australians - that the mob violence against people of Middle Eastern appearance reflects an underlying racism which, on occasion, can easily be brought to the surface.
You can read the rest of the article here http://www.greenleft.org.au/2006/653/7630
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