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A Year in the City

Yesterday.

NSW Premier Morris Iemma said: "It was quite clear, quite clear from the vision and the sound, both of what was on television and those that were there, those sorts of remarks, that 'sloganeering' that was taking place, was something that was utterly racism."





One woman was pictured at Cronulla Beach holding a poster that read "Aussies fighting back." Her photo appeared in a Sydney News Limited newspaper today. She was advertising a group called the Patriotic Youth League.

The group, founded by former Newcastle student and One Nation activist Stuart McBeth in 2002, described itself as a "radical nationalist" group, News Ltd newspapers reported today.

It has links to the German-based skinhead group Volksfront, British Nationalist Party and the New Zealand National Front, the paper said.

The group has campaigned for the deportation of immigrants and for keeping foreign students out of universities.

Link.

Today.

I begin the final rewrites for my novel, A Year in the City, meant to explore and celebrate racial diversity in Sydney, meant to converse with the multicultural city, the mongrel city, the city where fragmentation, diversity, and multiplicity are the way of life. And this shit, yeah, this shit is part of that, and it depresses me to see, and you're just some useless fuck if you got involved in it. I don't care if you're white, brown, black, yellow, green, whatever, you attack someone because of their race, you're just wasting my space.

Comments

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girliejones
Dec. 12th, 2005 04:07 am (UTC)
Yesterday made this: A Year in the City, meant to explore and celebrate racial diversity in Sydney a helluva lot more interesting.
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 04:25 am (UTC)
no, it didn't. it just made me sad. made me think that maybe it's a waste of time writing these things. made me think a lot of things, but mostly, i was just disappointed in people.
girliejones
Dec. 12th, 2005 04:27 am (UTC)
Rather though its the diversity - diversity and inclusivity can't ever be totally positive, by definition.

This is the dark to the light.
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 04:32 am (UTC)
no, there will never be complete happiness in a city filled with differing cultures. there will always be some different thing that people react negatively too.but the idea of some five hundred (or is it thousand) primarily white people walking through the city and attacking anyone remotely lebanese...

this kind of thing leaves a scar on the psyche of the city.
girliejones
Dec. 12th, 2005 04:34 am (UTC)
There will never ever be complete happiness anywhere.

this kind of thing leaves a scar on the psyche of the city.

But this was already lying in the undercurrent of the city - 5000 people don't just turn up to beat up people of Lebanese descent for no reason.
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 04:48 am (UTC)
But this was already lying in the undercurrent of the city - 5000 people don't just turn up to beat up people of Lebanese descent for no reason.

it wasn't the physical manifestation, yet. there were issues, yes, but they hadn't exploded like this. they came out of the western world's demonisation of the middle east, and from very real events in the city. in this case, the even was caused by two lifesavers being beaten, but the causes for that probably go back further, and there are lots of isolated moments of it. sydney didn't have this happen when the lebanese guys who kidnapped and raped a white girl where bought in. that wasn't so long ago, but it was also in a different area to this.

but anyhow, this is more damaging than the existence of the issues. this'll justify behaviour in a multitude of ways. this'll further isolate the lebanese, middle eastern groups in the city. and--perhaps--this will even divide the west/rest divide of the city even more, but who knows.

the question remains, however, is where did these people all come from, and who organised this? i kind of doubt that this is the kind of mob put together by a few mothers on the weekend, y'know? some serious organisation has to go into five thousand people.
girliejones
Dec. 12th, 2005 05:33 am (UTC)
it wasn't the physical manifestation, yet. there were issues, yes, but they hadn't exploded like this

I see it as this was the explosion of the undercurrent - all the things that you list individually that didn't previously cause reaction all coming together in the same place and time this last week. I think in part this did have to do with the kidnap and rape of that girl as well as the constant reminding of terrorism among us and the fear of the different.

I don't think the riot itself will damage the city - rather I think the city will now have to look in the mirror and see where and why and how this could happen.
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 10:27 am (UTC)
I see it as this was the explosion of the undercurrent - all the things that you list individually that didn't previously cause reaction all coming together in the same place and time this last week. I think in part this did have to do with the kidnap and rape of that girl as well as the constant reminding of terrorism among us and the fear of the different.

no, i disagree, i think. those events didn't lead to this. i keep thinking that it's in the wrong part of sydney for it. the city is, essentially, a fragmented world, and cronulla is very white compared to others. i mean, what we're missing here is that out of five thousand people attacking folk, no one died, and there were like twenty serious injuries or something. (i might be wrong with the numbers, but if you think, it's very low.) this didn't hit the actual ethnic communities of the city, where a lot of the build up in the media has been painted.

no, i think this was something new. i could be wrong--it could be as you say, but i'm thinking it's more organised.

I don't think the riot itself will damage the city - rather I think the city will now have to look in the mirror and see where and why and how this could happen.

again, i disagree. i think people will dig themselves into their little cultural ghettos more. i don't think the causes will be addressed. it'll fester.
frogworth
Dec. 12th, 2005 04:07 am (UTC)
Too right. With you all the way. I actually felt physically ill when I read all this on the SMH website today...
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 04:26 am (UTC)
i was a bit dubious when i heard it on the telly last night, but, y'know, those pictures...
kylaw
Dec. 12th, 2005 09:29 am (UTC)
What gives me the spattery, acidic feeling is that you (hypothetical, probably cultural entity) can get 5,000 people to turn up and riot against allowing different races to visit a beach and first rate media coverage to boot, but the Sydney Walk Against Warming is lucky to get nowhere near that and barely a mention in the papers.

And as for the goings-on in the Senate during the preceding week - I'd like to quote briefly from Damien Murphy's report in Saturday's Herald. "Australians have just been through five days that shook their world so profoundly, yet with so little comment, that many probably do not realise they can languish for a fortnight in jail without being charged."

But they know those brown faces are bad.
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 10:21 am (UTC)
got a bit of the anger going, yeah?
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 10:42 am (UTC)
yeah, they went by real easy, didn't they?

it's starting to bother me just how little result any disagreement with this government has.
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 11:50 am (UTC)
i don't even know what a franger is.
kazzibee
Dec. 12th, 2005 11:54 am (UTC)
i think it's a frangipani-scented condom.
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 09:03 pm (UTC)
frangipani-scented condom

you know, i thought you were just making this up, but someone else says it's slang for condom too...
kazzibee
Dec. 12th, 2005 09:10 pm (UTC)
heheh yes i think it's maybe some weird kind of variation on "french letter".

maybe?

but the acronym idea is much better!
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 09:17 pm (UTC)
i'm way out of my knowledge with condom/french slang. i'll just admit that straight up. (ha ha.)

you didn't even say what the acronym meant, tho.
kazzibee
Dec. 12th, 2005 09:19 pm (UTC)
heheh the dot-dot-dot was suggesting that you suggest an acronym. ok FINE i will do one....

Feisty Rightwing Agitators Nastily Growing Evil Rednecks
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 11:53 pm (UTC)
see, you've got to do the work here. i'm lazy, i am.
kazzibee
Dec. 12th, 2005 11:47 pm (UTC)
or
Friendly Righteous Aliens Named Greg, Eric and Ricky.
kazzibee
Dec. 12th, 2005 11:49 pm (UTC)
i made up the frangipani part.
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 11:55 pm (UTC)
aw.

it sounded like quite the fetish.
kazzibee
Dec. 12th, 2005 11:59 pm (UTC)
Fetishists Really Ache for Nice Gerbils, Endives and Rope.
kazzibee
Dec. 13th, 2005 12:01 am (UTC)
Frangipanis Rarely Activate Non-General Erotic Ramblings
(Deleted comment)
davidcook
Dec. 12th, 2005 08:20 pm (UTC)
I think it's slang for "condom", or at least it was in S.A. when I was growing up ...
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 09:04 pm (UTC)
i am so out of some loops. specifically the south australian sex industry loop.
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 10:21 am (UTC)
race violence has always been the ticket for media coverage in this city. you want to get good ratings, you amp up the threat of the other. so it doesn't at all surprise me that this is getting the big media hype. what does bother me, however, is the willingness to put this down to a text message round up. just by watching the news you can see the white australia groups with pamphlets and such. obviously this was planned. obviously this was organised. obviously we've just seen the rise of a new hate group in the city.

but the media is still using the word 'lebanese' to describe some people, and nothing to describe others, as if no one, nothing indeed, was creating the problem. the words people'll take away from this are lebanese youths, i bet.

and yeah, the fortnight in jail thing is evil. howard is turning ths country into hate.
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 10:22 am (UTC)
yeah, i'm with you. i wanna be purple. i don't want to be with those assholes with the flags.
hal_duncan
Dec. 12th, 2005 01:16 pm (UTC)
The group, founded by former Newcastle student and One Nation activist Stuart McBeth in 2002, described itself as a "radical nationalist" group, News Ltd newspapers reported today.

It has links to the German-based skinhead group Volksfront, British Nationalist Party and the New Zealand National Front, the paper said.


So basically they're fucking fascists. And any bastard marching with them might as well be wearing a fucking brown shirt. Fuckers, all of them. I don't care how naive and ignorant the mob may be about what the guys pulling their strings represent. There's no fucking excuse for marching with Nazis.
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 09:08 pm (UTC)
There's no fucking excuse for marching with Nazis.

not a one.

last night i saw this image of a guy, must've been twenty, maybe nineteen, and wearing the australian flag like a cape while handing out white supremacy pamphlets. you ain't young enough to ever induldge in this.
(Anonymous)
Dec. 12th, 2005 02:08 pm (UTC)
Organisation: Apparently SMS' were sent around to go and defend the Shire (Shire...Baggins...). My friend got one even though he's Asian so I guess when fighting the Lebs, it really doesn't matter.

But as you said, the anger/tension/issues have been there for a while. And when you look at Redfern, Macquarie Fields and now this, you must be pretty dumb to not see that this town has some serious issues it needs to deal with before something even bigger occurs.

But, I gotta thank them for making Maroubra beach (pre 9pm riots) a nice place to be for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

J.
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 09:13 pm (UTC)
Organisation: Apparently SMS' were sent around to go and defend the Shire (Shire...Baggins...). My friend got one even though he's Asian so I guess when fighting the Lebs, it really doesn't matter.

five thousand people from a text message? i'm not saying it didn't exist, but i think maybe it's being used to hide some stuff. this whole thing strikes me as being a bit too well organised for a text message. though i reckon if your friend had shown, he wouldn't have been welcomed.

But as you said, the anger/tension/issues have been there for a while. And when you look at Redfern, Macquarie Fields and now this, you must be pretty dumb to not see that this town has some serious issues it needs to deal with before something even bigger occurs.

yeah, they're there... but i dunno. i find myself, increasingly, thinking that this wasn't representative of sydney. that it's geographically in the wrong place. that it's the wrong explosion. but the issues are there, and they're being fanned by the political climate around the world. shit like this keeps up, and we'll have ourselves some home grown attacks soon enough, i reckon.

you know, i've really gone down the conspiracy path with this. you'd think i'd have more evidence that a feeling. heh.

simplykathryn
Dec. 12th, 2005 03:32 pm (UTC)
Cronulla was always my favourite suburb during my sojurn around various Sydney suburbs when I was renting. It was so laid back. I loved it down there. I remember seeing a hugely muscular, tattooed guy walking down the street with his tiny daughter up on his shoulders.

Bizarrely I was thinking of Australia yesterday (making Anzac biscuits for a cookie exchange here at work) & thinking if I ever moved home, Cronulla is where I would move if the choice was up to me. And then this morning, I heard the story about this on the BBC on my way to work. It had me in tears.

Never underestimate the stupidity of people in large groups - they're worse than sheep.
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 09:15 pm (UTC)
it is strange that this happened in cronulla, really. and i don't think sheep following stupidity explains this. which is a shame, but still.
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