But don’t worry mate, close enough is good enough and you’re doing better than most in your trade…
Alan Jones was on the money about the rioters
IF EVER there was an example of how skewed our values have become, it was revealed in radio broadcaster Alan Jones’s reprimand.
Jones was found guilty of breaching Australia’s broadcasting code for these comments from a listener prior to the Cronulla riots in 2005: “It would be worth the price of admission to watch these cowards scurry back on to the train for the return trip to their lairs,” he said, a reference to the call-to-arms text messages that were circulating Sydney at the time.
“And wouldn’t it be brilliant,” he also read, “if the whole event was captured on TV cameras and featured on the evening news so that we, their parents, family and friends can see who these bastards are.”
Instead of a bollocking, Jones should have been given a standing ovation. His comments were spot on. He was one of the few with the courage to call it for what it was.
What got lost in the revisiting of Jones’s comments are the circumstances surrounding what happened before the riots, which take on a wholly different complexion if you take religion out of it. Some junior lifesavers patrolling Cronulla the beach got bashed by a group of older men.
Rather than just a one-off incident, locals revealed it was the latest in a long line of fights and they were so sick of it, they said, they were going to do something about it.
They were going to stand up for their mates. They were going to find the bullies that like to outnumber young kids and square up. Good on them.
Bullies are cowards turned inside out. Ill-equipped to finesse their way through life, they resort to muscle.
It is the only currency they understand, but the irony is you only need to chip away a small piece to find the coward inside. Power, you see, bows only to more power.
Given this mindset it is appropriate to believe the only language they understood was a good smack in the mouth and maybe that was what was needed to make them think twice about flexing their muscles on the beach again.
But the whole thing got ugly and twisted because racial lines were drawn. The bullies were Muslims, and of Middle Eastern appearance, and instead of the whole issue being treated as a stand against the kind of bullying we all condemn it was turned into a racial issue.
Here’s where the rioters erred. They failed to distinguish the difference between bullies and Muslims and when they attributed the whole sorry saga to Muslims – a careless point of identification — all Muslims were naturally affronted.
If they had steered away from the racial stereotypes and explained it for what it was, a square-up against bullies, then they would have got overwhelming public support.
Instead they resorted to racial stereotyping and it got ugly, and then it got even worse when they attacked other innocent Middle Eastern men, for no other reason than their ethnicity. But here is also where Muslim leaders erred. They should have clarified the difference. They should have condemned those who attacked the lifesavers and, given the difficulty police have infiltrating youth gangs, helped find them and bring them to justice.
Instead they let racial tensions fester, and cried racism when it spun out of control.
For a community allegedly well-mannered, no explanation was ever given for the actions of the hooligans who beat up the lifesavers.
If the racial overtones were removed, and the incident played for what it was, it would never have escalated.
By condemning Jones, the broadcasting authority is just perpetuating the racial tensions in Sydney. Muslims can feel justified in what happened, non-Muslims feel resentful.
Jones got it right, and the sooner we confront the issues for what they are, and drop the political posturing, the pointscoring in the religion battle, the quicker the road to harmony.
* Well, here’s where we beg to differ: ‘Religion battle’ is inevitable. Islam wants us dead or converted. That battle has to be fought. You can start right now, it won’t go away…
Truth is, it would have been good to see these bullies scurry back on the train. It would have been good if their faces had been captured on TV, exposing them for what they were.
It shouldn’t have mattered whether they were black, white or brindle, Muslim or Christian.
Bullies don’t deserve sympathy or false outrage to hide behind. They should get what they deserve