13.12.05

Neo-nazy Thugs rules the streets of Sydney in anti-Lebanese riots

By Fernando Kallás for the Lebanese Blogger Forum

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"A bare-chested youth in Quicksilver boardshorts tore the headscarf off the girl's head as she slithered down the Cronulla dune seeking safety on the beach from a thousand-strong baying mob.

Up on the road, Marcus "Carcass" Butcher, 28, a builder from Penrith, wearing workboots, war-camouflage shorts and black singlet bearing the words "Mahommid was a camel f---ing faggot" raised both arms to the sky. "F--- off, Leb," he cried victoriously."
(The Sydney Morning Herald - December 12th 2005)

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First of all, I would like to warn about the strong and shocking images that follows this article. But I think they're necessary under the circumstances.

I'm really sorry also that my first post in the Leb Blogger Forum has to be about such sickening, shameful and outrageous events that are happening in Australian in the last couple of days.

It all started as a beach party in Cronulla - Sydney, celebrating a kind of perverted nationalism that was gatecrashed by racism. A crowd of at least 5000 - overwhelmingly under 25 - took over Cronulla's foreshore and beachside streets. Police were powerless as 200-odd ringleaders, many clutching bottles or cans of beer and smoking marijuana, led assaults on individuals and small groups of Lebanese Australians who risked an appearance during the six-hour protest

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Officers arrested 28 people in hours of street battles that left 31 people injured, including two ambulance officers and five policemen. One man was hospitalized after being stabbed in the back.

The violence shocked this city of 4 million which prides itself on being a largely harmonious cultural melting pot, but racism is not new in Australia.

Australia always had the racial question in its internal political agenda. Colonized by the British since 1788, the country was built by white Europeans Emigrants and the State followed an OFICIAL policy of "whitening" the native aborigines population until de 1970's, maintaining concentration camps to facilitate it.

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In the 1990's, the racist deputy Pauline Hanson founded the One Nation Party, with a xenophobic platform. The ultra-conservative party earned fast national projection and got 9% of the voters’ preference in the parliament elections of 1998. In her first speech as a deputy, Hanson declared that "the country was in danger of being dominated by the Asians". In the local municipality of Queensland, her fellow colleagues from the One Nation got 11 of the 89 local seats. Pauline didn't get re-elected, but as we can see, some of her ideas are still very actual among the youth.

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This anti-Leb sentiment has been brewing for a long time and surfaced radically after the first gang-rapes of a "white girls" by Lebanese boys a few years ago. This spring we had a round table at LAU to debate the subject. The occasion was the release of the book "Bin Laden in the Suburbs", that blame the media, police and conservative politicians for the role thing, using a lot of drama but with no convincing argument. The problem is much deeper than that and there is plenty of blame to go around, evolving poverty, lack of opportunities and even radical Islamic clergy in that country.

As a colleague said in that debate, "The genuine research (and to an extent political) question is whether there is indeed a distinct difference between Muslim immigrant communities and other communities from traditional, underdeveloped regions, e.g. Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal, Latin America, Philippines, etc.; and if this is the case, which steps can facilitate rapid integration into Western society. This is not an academic question."

Meanwhile we stay here; watching astonished the late events and asking ourselves if there is really a way out...

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28 Comments:

At Tuesday, December 13, 2005 7:45:00 PM, Blogger AbdulKarim said...

Fernando, I'm really happy that you commented on this subject. I was afraid that this event will pass un-noticed because of what has happened in Lebanon. As a Lebanese living in London, this has a very negative effect on me. People already started to question me about what is happening in Australia. While I totally condemn the racist attacks that took place on Sunday, I don't think that the Australians are solely to blame. The Lebanese in Australia are equally responsible. They have managed somehow to build a very notorious reputation. I know that as a fact since I have many relatives in Australia. They have constantly complained about the new generation of Australian Born Lebanese. They have acquired a gang culture. They are not interested in completing their education. They are into drugs, etc ... And mind you that complaint came from a Lebanese. But to say that this is a problem in integration or multi-culturalism is greatly inaccurate. There are around 12 million Lebanese world wide who have successfully integrated and achieved success and respect of their new communities. To get an example on how well the Lebanese are integrated in the UK, just visit Edgware Road in London aka Mini-Lebanon. In the USA at least six senators are of Lebanese origin. The same applies for Brazil, Mexico, The Caribbean, and Africa.

So why has this happened in Australia?

I would certainly rule out the reason that Lebanese can't integrate!

One reason might be the following. Those Lebanese Australians seems to have lost their family values and adopted street values instead. It also seems that this is what's happening to other Australians of different ethnicities as well such as Anglo-Celtic... If this is the case then the problem is with a whole Australian generation regardless of their ethnic origins.

Another reason can be the following. Is it because the Lebanese that migrated to the Americas and Africa did that more than 50 years ago(some even 130 years) when Lebanon was peaceful and those that migrated to Australia did so during the bloody civil war in the mid 70's ?

Is it by mere chance that the bad apple went to Australia? Is it politically correct to use such label? Hmmm...
Or is it all these reasons together coupled with the so-called racism?

All these are questions and I have no definite answers. Two things I’m sure of however. First, we behave notoriously in Australia and that is a fact. Secondly, this incident might be a great threat to our reputation and consequently on our existence as an immigrant nation.

Regards.

By the way, there is a debate concerning this isuue on BBC's website. You might want to have your say. Here is the link:

http://newsforums.bbc.co.uk/nol/thread.jspa?threadID=581&&edition=1&ttl=20051213174326

 
At Tuesday, December 13, 2005 9:31:00 PM, Blogger Eve said...

this event would have definitely passed unnoticed, as AbdelKarim said. I don't know how the Lebanese there are behaving; Australia is the only place in the world that never caught my attention. But i'm sure nothing justifys this racism against them. do you live there, Fernando?

another thing, can you plz reduce the size of the pictures? they made the side-bar jump down. thx.

 
At Wednesday, December 14, 2005 12:45:00 AM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

To tell you the truth, I see these riots as anti-Muslim, not anti-Lebanese.

 
At Wednesday, December 14, 2005 1:57:00 AM, Blogger RM said...

vox your comments are as idiotic as ever.

abdukarim: There is someting missing in your argument. In the news, we hear about the ''good lebanese'', that is those who successfully inetgrated, whatever that may mean.

Why? Because the Lebanese doing ''bad things'' do not want their acts to be publiciszed simply! They would be arrested in fact.

So why not mention the awful reputation we have in western Africa and in many countries of latin amercia?

Of course, not all is gloomy and the Lebanese reality seems to be as complex as one would like it to be.

 
At Wednesday, December 14, 2005 8:25:00 AM, Blogger zwixo said...

I want to simply comment on racism. We all saw what happened in France, and the reactions of the French people weren't as harsh. In Australia, and for relatively smaller incidents, -thousands- turn out like a huge mob to beat All Lebanese or anyone looking remotely middle eastern.
It is true that the problem is complicated, but whatever the problem, such an ignorant response is a huge surprise to me: the Australian society shows signs of racism that have gone from all fairly civilized societies. When we protested here, we weren't lookin around for Syrians to beat up, even though some were; but they weren't an organized mob. The majority wasn't the goons, in Australia it seems to be the other way round. Sad.
And if anyone noticed, the Lebanese goverment is as always ABSENT > but again, martyrs here or abroad; does it really matter!

 
At Wednesday, December 14, 2005 8:53:00 AM, Blogger renato said...

What qualifies any of you to report on and analyze Australia?
This is libelous, exaggerated tendentious nonsense taken out of context that doesn't deserve a detailed rebuttal and an offence to the intelligence of readers of this forum.

 
At Wednesday, December 14, 2005 11:25:00 AM, Blogger Assaad said...

I don't live in Australia and i've never heard about racism actions against lebanese their. To be honest, i am surprised and would like to know if it is a new problem or if it always happens.

zwixo : about France and the troubles we had lately, french people don't react this way because they are weak (always afraid) BUT racism exists everywhere here because people are fed up from the immigrations, the immigrants and the money they took instead of french :D...
it is another subject but lebanese people are always welcomed in France and they are well integrated... If you want that we discuss this issue, we can open another topic about it (or exchange mails if you want man).
Cheers
AH

 
At Wednesday, December 14, 2005 11:52:00 AM, Blogger desmond said...

The attackers in the photos look like a bunch of rednecks pissed off with their unproductive little lives and looking for a whipping post.

I know we Lebanese have a sometimes deserved bad reputation Down Under and although it won't go that far in Oz, this sort of attitude created the perfect atmosphere that led to the rise of the Third Reich.

 
At Wednesday, December 14, 2005 5:21:00 PM, Blogger AbdulKarim said...

Ramzi, I am from West Africa myself. My mother was born in Ghana.My grandmother was born in Ghana, and i have Ghanian brothers and sisters. The only reputation we have in West Africa is that we are very successful and we have too much control and monopoly. After the Ghanian revolution of Rawlings in 1979, Lebanese were kicked out and had their assets seized only to be invited again by the same government few months later because the country and the economy was at a standstill. In fact, one of the main contenders to the Ghanian presedency,Dr. Atta Mills of the NDC, said the following: "If I become a president I will not use loans from the World Bank to build Ghana and enhance the economy.I will invite 20,000 more Lebanese instead". That is our reputation in West Africa dear Ramzi, and if anything we are envied because of our success and monopoly.

As for vox, his claims have some grounds actually. An Australian MP has said that what happened had to do with the Bali bombings. The Australians who died in that bombing were from that area and have their memorial there.Feelings have been simmering since then.

Renato, as i said before, this incident might give us a bad name outsied the Lebanon. I live in England and people are asking about whats happening in Australia. We can not act as if we are not concerned in what is happening their.I would appreciate however if some Australians would take part in this debate. This can give more insight to whats really happening there.

 
At Wednesday, December 14, 2005 7:55:00 PM, Blogger RM said...

abdulkarim: many thanks for this and I am happy you are generous to share with us your first rate experience in West Africa.

My opinion on the Lebanese there has been formed by mostly hear say. But my whole point was to flag out that sometimes the reputation we have might be more important than what we really do on the grounds.

At any rate, I am not sure to what extent the Lebanese have integrated in Africa since more often than not I hear them complain about the laziness of the African and how little responsibility can be given to him. And my hunch is that the marriage rate with Africans is very (I mean very) low. If true, these are no signs of successful integration. But since the Lebanese are ''rich and powerful'' we will never discuss the failure of their integration in Africa.

As for vox´s arguments, I am sure there is something correct but all his view have a racists -- clash of civilization -- platform. All he wanted to do was to clear the name Lebanese and spoil that of Muslims.

 
At Wednesday, December 14, 2005 8:09:00 PM, Blogger renato said...

Abdelkarim, who says I'm not concerned?
I'm Australian born and bred.
There is no debate as far as I'm concerned and you don't need Australians taking part in this debate to know the truth - any reputable media outlet will give you that.
What we certainly don't need is some dilettante cutting and pasting some text and a couple of pictures and slandering an entire nation.
Once again, with all respect to you all, I ask what credentials do any of you have to cover Australia?

 
At Wednesday, December 14, 2005 8:34:00 PM, Blogger RM said...

renato: you do not need credentials to discuss anything.

you just need to have a positive and honest attitude as well as the ability to correct your judgements if they turn out to be incorrect.

We are all intersted and worried about what happened in Australia.

Please share what you know.

 
At Thursday, December 15, 2005 12:13:00 AM, Blogger zwixo said...

Renato: you dont need analysis to know from the news that a mob of thousands is roaming the streets looking for arabs to beat. I DONT NEED credentials to talk and think and comment, if you dont mind, I didnt know communism was hip in australia. So please hide your mob so we dont speak, or just admit that what the mob did wasn't proper. We're not burning the Australian flag here buddy.

Ah Junior: debate you, my pleasure ;) Just a quick note: you say the french are weak, I say they're more civilized. People can disapprove of immigrants in their country, if they want to, as long as they don't put them in furnaces... Acting macho is crap in my standards. It's a big issue, write away :)

 
At Thursday, December 15, 2005 12:30:00 AM, Blogger Lazarus said...

Blaming the mob and not taking into consideration any effect the lebanese/arab population may have had in past years on the Australian people is not very constructive. What the mob did is condemnable for sure. But the question you aren't asking here zwixo is what pushed them to do that. Are Australians that different that they just "enjoy" violence? And renato, although I understand your angle to a certain degree, I disagree with the accusation that we have no "credentials". A statement like that puts an end to any chance we have for debate, so instead of saying that, argue against that statements that frustrated you.

 
At Thursday, December 15, 2005 12:58:00 AM, Blogger renato said...

Zwixo, I won't even dignify your comments with a response.
Ramzi, the credentials needed are being familiar with the subject you are on.
This first race riot in modern Australian history, which has rightly been condemned by all right-minded Australians, came after years of racist provocation by Lebanese Muslim Australians culminating in the recent stabbing of a lifeguard on the beach where the riots occurred.
Nonetheless, despite the best efforts of a small minority of Australian Muslims and the small minority of Anglo-Australians who overreacted to them, Australia remains the world's only truly multicultural society.
The Governor of the state of NSW (where the riots occurred), Professor Marie Bashir, is herself of Lebanese origin, as is the Premier of the neighboring state of Victoria, Steve Bracks.

 
At Thursday, December 15, 2005 1:06:00 AM, Blogger zwixo said...

Lazarus: i'm not saying the Lebanese in Australia weren't to blame. The guilty Lebanese who attacked and beat up people have to be brought to justice and suffer the punishments just like in any country who has a law. The point wasn't the lebanese actions. If we were discussing the lebanese issue in Australia; i'm all for the Australian government's response to that sheik (not sure he was Lebanese) who proposed the muslims live under their own law in Australia: Out of the question; we have a Law and everyone must abide by it alike. BUT the point wasn't this. The issue we're discussing is the reaction of the Australian civilians to a crime. This should be the job of law enforcement, not street justice mobs. that's all.

 
At Thursday, December 15, 2005 9:39:00 AM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

My dear mabsout, I am not trying to justify, but the Lebanese who comitted gang-rape a few years ago were Muslims, and accordingly to a Lebanese who lived in Australia that I know, the majority of the people in the Lebanese gangs have a Muslim name.

As I said, this does not justify these neo-nazi attacks against the Lebanese, whatever their religion.

 
At Thursday, December 15, 2005 11:31:00 AM, Blogger Assaad said...

Zwixo,
when i say french are weak i mean it. I can give you several examples : Once, i saw two immigrants annoying a french in the metro. It even turned to a fight where the poor french couldn't defend himself and the reaction of other french, present in the metro, was to say : Arrêtez!
Civilized yes, but they don't even think to defend themselves...
Where can we debate it ? It doesn't speak about Lebanon man :)

 
At Thursday, December 15, 2005 4:52:00 PM, Blogger renato said...

Rest assured, after only one night of rioting the rule of law has been restored.
The area were the riots occurred is saturated with police, the state government of NSW has passed draconian laws targeting the rioters and racial crime has returned to it's pre-riot one-sided status quo - an Anglican church hall was burned to the ground and shots were fired at a Catholic church and members of its congregation harassed on Monday night in what appears to be Muslim retaliation.

 
At Thursday, December 15, 2005 11:43:00 PM, Blogger zwixo said...

Dear Renato, maybe your demand of credentials was the bitter endge in my first response, I can see you are willing to debate, thus I will say, I also folowed the news and I know the riots will not be ruling the streets in Australia. I know there will be more crimes, from middle easterns and others. I also stress that more clashes between the civilians will only aggravate the situation. let the police handle it, they will eventually throw the criminals in prison. This is my opinion. maybe I thought the riots were bigger than they really are, I now stand corrected. But at least this is communication; not investigation.

 
At Friday, December 16, 2005 9:14:00 PM, Blogger renato said...

Dear Zwixo,
I was merely advising that people inform themselves (AKA "credentials")on the real situation in Australia (or anywhere else for that matter) before commenting on it, something which you have obviously subsequently done.

 
At Monday, December 19, 2005 12:58:00 PM, Blogger Doons said...

Well, i have family and friends in australia, and yes it is mostly the muslims in these fights, coz they r the ones who did the rape...
anyway this doesnt giv any1 the rght to fight, but it still it is this extremist behavior that gets societies into this situation. Aussie police have checkpoints everywer and searchng cars... finding guns and weapons and knives....
soon a civil war?????

 
At Friday, December 23, 2005 9:34:00 PM, Blogger shlon said...

Mmh, let's not be bluffed. All, and I mean ALL people on the Australian continent, excepts aborigens, are IMMIGRANTS. Like the destiny of the American continent, this land has been conquered by force, stealth and with the great help of money. *White aussies* are not aussies, it is simply a mediatic name to make it feel as legitimate sons of the land.

While they are not. They are simply European immigrants, chronologically older. And on the same level as any other ethnic immigrant community.

I wonder what the aborigens think of all this story, and the others.

 
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At Sunday, March 29, 2009 11:57:00 PM, Blogger Seyar said...

What I don't understand is how people categorize others stricktly by their religion. Here in the US I can guarantee you most of the rapists and ill minded people arent muslim. Why? Because it would have been mentioned. You bet it would have. What I'm saying is that its sad and unfortunate how narrow minded bastards like those rietors are when it comes to someone making a crime. Instead of attacking all people of one type, just punish them as if they were so called 'white aussies' or whatever b.s.

 
At Wednesday, December 21, 2011 7:30:00 PM, Blogger mikel astrong said...

wow these images are like a 4rx camp of boxing, I don't know why people take the streets as a camp for fighting..

 
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