I am sickened to read the newspaper reports coming out about what is happening in Australia, with Indian youths and students being attacked indiscriminately. I hate to say it, but around 3 months ago I predicted that there was every possibility of this starting to happen in the ‘developed’ countries. Sadly, it is a pattern that is all too familiar during times of economic downturn, reflecting the narrow agenda of nationalistic politicians. The agenda of those who would divide in order to rule.
Sadly, during times of economic downturn these kinds of events have played out in the past, too. Even when I was a teenager in late 1970’s UK the economy was in a torrid state. I was a fully paid up, badge wearing member of “Rock Against Racism”. For daring to wear such a badge I was on two occasions spat upon in the street. This is how it happens – the nationalistic (opportunistic) politicians seize their chance. They gather groups and meetings of unemployed youths and sell them a set of myths – “See that ‘Paki’ over there driving that nice car? That would be your car if the foreigners were all sent packing back to where they came from. See that Indian with a nice house? That should have been your house – and it could be, if we send all of THEM home.”
The reality is there doesn’t have to be any truth in it. Most of the youth they are addressing would have been unemployed even in good economic times. They usually are from families who see little value in education, are scornful of all authority and believe in the state’s obligation to provide for them while they live basically hedonistic lives. They live off state benefits, sometimes for two or even three generations after each other.
Sadly, I know that one of the effects of attacks on any minority community by a majority is that the minority withdraw in to themselves, fearing ‘the other’, feeling safer with their own. However, unfortunately, this provides fuel to the fire when the minority are then accused of separating themselves, not making an effort to integrate.
Since I was old enough to understand the strength and rightness of a Martin Luther King or a Gandhi I have known that bigotry, narrow mindedness and racism are not beaten by separation, by mistrust or disengagement. Together, we must all be ready and willing to stand up to nationalistic, jingoistic bigots wherever they exist – not with more violence, but with sensitive communication that corrects the myths and helps them to understand that beneath the skin, if you cut us, we all bleed the same blood.
This is a matter on which i would really like to hear from TSRS students as well as parents and teachers. This has to matter to all of us.
Filed under: Life, Our Environment | Tagged: nationalism bigots jingoism australia student attacks | 1 Comment »