The Sydney Moonbat Herald runs with it. These dhimmi fools are whitewashing Â a Mohammedan rape spree that made headlines around the world, that Â left many victims with psychological scars to last them a lifetime. The audacity to portray themselves as victims of their own crime is also Â a very deeply rooted Mohammedan characteristic.
A new play tackles the impact on young men, writes Andrew Taylor.
Luke Carman, Peter Polites and Michael Mohammad Ahmad will perform in #ThreeJerks.Â Photo: Tamara Dean
It is a provocative position to take. But Michael Mohammed Ahmad says the series of gang rapes committed in western Sydney in 2000 by a group of teenagers led by Bilal Skaf was not the simple story told by the media.
‘‘With the gang rapes I think what never came out was there were men who were also victims of those crimes.’’
Those male victims were young, predominantly Arab-Australian men like Ahmad, living in Sydney’s western suburbs who were portrayed as capable of committing the same heinous crimes perpetrated by the Skaf gang because of their appearance and ethnic background.
Ahmad and fellow writers Peter Polites and Luke Carman explore the effects of these crimes and the media’s coverage inÂ #Three Jerks, which they will perform at the Sydney Writers’ Festival on May 24 and Melbourne’s Emerging Writers’ Festival on May 30.
The play features three interlocking stories of young men living in Sydney’s west, beginning with Polites’ gay Greek man working in an adult bookshop in Newtown. Carman follows with a tale of an armed robbery before Ahmad describes the culture of Punchbowl Boys High School at the time of the gang rapes.
Ahmad says crimes like the gang rapes were used to demonise young men of Arab-Australian background and portray western Sydney as a war zone of ethnic and religious tension.
In response, these young men adopted the menacing, violent caricatures they saw of themselves on television and in newspapers, cheering when they were described as rapists and terrorists in a play.
‘‘I’m not saying it only made their lives hard. I think it really messed with their heads,’’ Ahmad says. ‘‘I think it really brought out a lot of the misogyny and patriarchy and sexism that were built into those places.’’
Polites saysÂ #Three JerksÂ looks at how the media constructed the behaviour of these teenagers that, in turn, affected the lives of other young men in western Sydney. The play also examines how ‘‘Leb’’ has become a pejorative term rather than a description of a person’s background.
‘‘We’re not making a positive show,’’ Polites says. ‘‘What I think this show is saying is it’s so complex. We don’t have the answers but we’re actually making this issue complex.’’
Produced by SWEATSHOP: Western Sydney Literacy Movement based at the University of Western Sydney, the play is interspersed with news items such as a 2006 sermon by Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali in which he criticised immodestly dressed women who don’t wear Islamic headdress and compared them to abandoned “meat” that attracts voracious animals. Also featured is then-NSW premier Bob Carr’s infamous reaction to a 2003 shooting murders in Greenacre: ‘‘My message is simple: obey the law in Australia or ship out of Australia.”
These news flashes are designed to reinforce the strong presence of the media, which Ahmad likens to a father: ‘‘There were moments when he showed you love, but most of the time he was pissed off at you.’’
Ahmad says the fears and prejudices against Arab-Australian men still exist, with the recent release of two of the gang rapists reviving harmful, racist stereotypes.
‘‘Since these issues have resurfaced, it’s our duty as young, educated men from the region to engage in it and to offer a complex analysis,’’ he says.
The complexities of race and religion may not be appreciated by everyone but Ahmad and his co-writers make no apology for the provocations offered inÂ #Three Jerks.
‘‘We make it part of our work to be agitators when we sit on panels or produce works,’’ he says. ‘‘I think for us the term jerk began to embody characteristics we’re very proud of.’’
‘‘For us it meant being a radical, being an advocate, being an agitator.’’
#Three Jerks is on at Wharf Theatre 2 on May 24 at 3pm as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival.