Saturday, September 16, 2006

Let's not go down that road

A piece in The Australian caught my attention. In his article on a new book by Peter Manning, Mike Steketee writes, "Australia is headed down a very dangerous path and that not only the usual suspects, politicians, are to blame but also the media. The racist genie is out of the bottle, he argues, characterising the events of last December at Sydney's Cronulla beach as Australia's worst race riot in a century. On top of this is the persistent demonisation of Arabs and Muslims.

"We are in grave danger of seeing all Arabic and Muslim Australians as 'the enemy'," he writes in his newly released book, Us and Them: A Journalist's Investigation of Media, Muslims and the Middle East (published by Random House Australia, $34.95). "We have gone into a kind of panic similar to the one through which we saw our local Germans during World War I and Japanese during World War II. Next we'll be locking people up in concentration camps.

"We need to take a step back and take a deep breath. September 11 was not the beginning of a new world. Thousands of people died before the 3000 in the World Trade Centre: in Cambodia, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, for a start ... We must not succumb to the politics of fear and turn in on ourselves ... We need to take stock of our shocking and continuing misrepresentation, demonisation and dehumanisation of Arab and Muslim people before it's too late. They have become the new Jews: especially, ironically, within Israel. The great lesson of Germany is that it could happen anywhere."

I have been banging on about this concern from the start of this blog. I believe mainstream media has contributed to a climate of fear that unscrupulous politicians have exploited to the hilt. The mythology that 9/11 created the grounds for a sharp shift to the right in the affairs of Western countries is a lie that needs to be exposed, before we forget what we once took for granted. Many of these politicians misplaced the truth a long time ago and forgot where they put it.

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