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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

The Australian way « Previous | |Next »
December 13, 2005

Salam Zreika says that at ' the end of the day, Cronulla beach may be home to the locals, and the Sutherland Shire may be predominantly Anglo-Australian, but the beach — and this country — belongs to us all.' Rightly so. That is the Australian way and the culture of the beach as a public space.

Not so for Alan Jones. He supported and fostered the local Cronulla lads, declaring they would decide who would be allowed to visit their beach and on what terms.

Alan Moir

So what happened at Cronulla in terms of its meaning? Tony Parkinson writing in The Age is clear. It is bigotry:

"...what is happening at Cronulla could not be more un-Australian. Two tribes who presume it as their right to attack others who look, speak or think differently have turned a beach playground into a battlefield: on the one hand, Lebanese youths asserting a separate cultural identity, and seeking to rule by fear the streets of their adopted home; on the other, a baying pack of drunken boofheads, susceptible to the worst excesses of phony patriotism and yabbering on mindlessly about teaching "the Lebs" a lesson..... But poverty, unemployment or alienation cannot and should not be used as excuses for either side in the Cronulla turf war.This is about bigotry, plain and simple; two warped narratives feeding off each other."

Just bigotry? It is interesting to see those who have played with the politics of fear running back to the voice of enlightenment reason that says Cronulla stands for the clash of cultures between two groups of young men.

So what is to be done, according to the conservative voice of reason that proudly defends Australian nationalism?

Parkinson follows the law and order pathway of Tim Priest, a retired NSW police detective, who rejects the softly softly police approach to the ethnically based criminal gangs so as to prevent parts of Sydney degenerating into a Los Angeles-style gang warfare.

Note that Parkinson's finger is pointed only at the Middle Eastern crime groups. So what is to be done about the violent nationalist suburban lads, supposedly defending Australian public spaces from Arabs, in the name of defending Australian values?

Parkinson is silent. He's done his job. The strategy is to isolate in event as as a case of alcohol fuelled minority taking the law into their own hands in a reprehensible manner. Then the focus is deflected onto the "Lebs". That 's the Australian way, as understood by conservatives. Multiculturalism has to be placed in the docks to ensure an integrated Australian community.

Why are not the young men of Anglo-Celtic background also described as ethnically based gangs? Are not their tribal actions also criminal? Why not use the sedition part of the anti-terrorism laws against Alan Jones and the other shock jocks? Now that would be the Australian way.

Why not address the patriarchal culture of Lebanese-Australian Muslims?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:22 AM | | Comments (2)


I think we need to be clearer in differentiating culture from violence. We should be wary of confusing patriachy and racism with culture. Understanding how patriachy and racism operates within different cultures is more useful than making the simple assertion that "it's a clash of culture".

Tim Priest - surely not the same retired policeman so close to "I'm a country member" Scully and Minister for Culture, Police and Public Toilets Allan Jones?
Where's NSW's Joh Beijelke Peterson when you need him - he'd have the not-Australians locked up quicker than you can say No Kebabs, and he'd have those fine Cronulla boys guarding them. After all, that is the Australian way, right?