Monday, December 12, 2005

Race, Riots and Rape: the Australian Case

Neo-fascist scum, or defenders of their community taking brutal revenge? Maybe a bit of both? White rioters attack a defenceless victim in the beachside suburb of Cronulla, Sydney, yesterday.

The race riots in southwest Sydney have shocked anyone with the normal view of that country - as a laid-back, contented place, fond of a beer and a barbie, vibrantly multicultural if slighly provincial. Now we see images, like the one above, of mobs and their victims - specifically mobs of 5,000 white Australians parading down a beachfront shouting 'kill the wogs' and beating up any olive-skinned human unlucky enough to pass their way.

Totally disgraceful, of course. But before we all condemn the Aussies as a bunch of neo-Nazi thugs, it may help to understand the underlying problems here - just as we would be asked to do if the rioters had been 'ethnic'.

Without putting too fine a point on it, Muslim immigrants into Australia have trouble adapting to that 'laid back' and tolerant beach-based lifestyle. Lebanese Australians are indicated in gun crime, drug dealing, and gang culture in general. The gangs are known to travel in motorcades of twenty vehicles at a time, menacing ordinary Sydneysiders with pistols and knives, even in the Central Business District. Murders are far from unknown. For years white Australians have complained that the police are too soft on the ganged-up 'Lebs' - the whites complain that the police are too scared to act because of political correctness.

But many immigrant groups in many societies turn to crime; it's often the result of poverty and social exclusion: the only way up the ladder. What marks out the Muslim situation in Australia is the conflicted issue of sexuality and gender; many Muslim men seem to have trouble with the uninhibited attitudes of Australian women, their 'easy' sexuality, their perceieved 'sluttishness' in comparison to modest Muslim women.

The result has been extremely nasty - low level harrassment of white Australian women at best, sexual abuse and gangrape of white Aussie women at worst. I do not exaggerate. Here is an account of one of several Lebanese gangrapes that have occurred in Sydney, in recent years; the account is taken from an Aussie newspaper. Read it and you may understand the oafish and repulsive behaviour of the white rioters - just a little bit; that it's not just ethnic communities that can be stretched and antagonised to 'breaking point'.

Racist rapes: Finally the truth comes out

By Miranda Devine

July 14 2002

The Sun-Herald

So now we know the facts, straight from the Supreme Court, that a group of Lebanese Muslim gang rapists from south-western Sydney hunted their victims on the basis of their ethnicity and subjected them to hours of degrading, dehumanising torture. The young women, and girls as young as 14, were "sluts" and "Aussie pigs", the rapists said. So now that some of the perpetrators are in jail, will those people who cried racism and media "sensationalism" hang their heads in shame? Hardly.

This newspaper was the first to report the story, which had been common knowledge in police and media circles, and it has never censored the race element.

Even last week, with the conviction of two brothers for their part in the gang rape of Miss D, who was 16 when she was held at gunpoint in a Greenacre park, there were media outlets that downplayed the story and air-brushed race from it.

Yet the victims have been crying out for the truth to be told. In court on Friday, one victim gave another a card on which she had written

"Truth is Justice".

In August, when Judge Megan Latham handed out laughably lenient sentences to three men in one gang rape case, which were later more than doubled on appeal, she made a special point of debunking the race link: "There is no evidence before me of any racial element in the commission of these offences," she said. "There is nothing said or done by the offenders which provides the slightest basis for imputing to them some discrimination in terms of the nationality of their victims."

Except that later one of the victims complained her victim impact statement had been "censored" of any "ethnic" references by prosecutors intent on a plea bargain. She was convinced she was raped because of her ethnicity. "You deserve it because you're an Australian," the rapists told her during the five-hour attack.

It's just so inconvenient of the victims to insist on telling the truth.

"I looked in his eyes. I had never seen such indifference," one 18-year-old victim, codenamed Miss C, told the court, remembering one of the 14 men who called her "Aussie pig", gang raped her 25 times over a six-hour period in Bankstown and Chullora, and then turned a hose on her. "I'm going to fuck you Leb style," he said.

Fourteen gang rapists have been convicted, or pleaded guilty, thanks to the courage of seven victims who testified for days in court as their tormentors smirked nearby, the men's families threatened them and defence lawyers suggested they had enjoyed the rapes.

"They're very brave, very strong and very courageous young women," said Salvation Army Major Joyce Harmer, who held the hands of many of the victims through the trials. "They knew this was something they had to do."

Yes, it is unfair that the vast bulk of law-abiding Lebanese Muslim boys and men should be smeared by association. But their temporary discomfort may be necessary so that the powerful social tool of shame is applied to the families and communities that nurtured the rapists, gave them succour and brought them up with such a hatred of Australia's dominant culture and contempt for its women that they think of an 18-year-old girl, dressed for a job interview in her best suit, sitting on a train reading a book, as a slut."


Who Adores You? said...

Race has always been an issue, the whites against the blacks, the auzzies against the asians and so on. It's sad that people would think of their own race as supreme, and sustain an angst that will eventually destroy everyone including the innocents. I like your entry.

RB said...

I think what I enjoy about your blog, apart from the quality writing, is that you take a very balanced view. Something I think is very rare these days.

So my compliments (for what they're worth) on another great post!