• The attack on a surf patrol on Cronulla beach a week ago was the
    notional trigger for Sunday’s events, but the tangled roots of anger
    lie deep within the failed multicultural policies foisted on an
    unsuspecting nation decades back. Though sold with the help of such
    anodyne ditties as I Am, You Are, We Are Australian, it has
    long been apparent many people from certain migrant groups – notably
    Lebanese Muslims – neither think of themselves as Aussies nor wish to
    embrace the extraordinary tolerance identified as a remarkable
    Australian trait. – Piers Akerman, Daily Telegraph

  • This is not so much a clash of civilisations but, rather, a
    series of disputes between some aggressive Australians of Lebanese
    Muslim background and a group of aggressive (and drunk) Australians of
    Anglo-Celtic background … There have been successes among Lebanese
    Muslims. But some Australians of Lebanese Muslim background, who were
    born in or after 1975, have not pursued education and, consequently,
    have found themselves unemployed or in low-paying and/or insecure
    employment … In Australia, opposition to immigration is highest in
    those suburbs, regional centres and rural areas where there are few
    Australians of non-Anglo-Celtic background. In Australia, it is
    invariably a lack of familiarity which breeds contempt. Cronulla is
    very much the embodiment of the Australian surfie culture. There is
    significant alcohol and drug abuse, along with a disturbingly high
    suicide rate … The violence of last weekend was not evidence of the
    breakdown of multiculturalism but, rather, its absence. – Gerard
    Henderson, Sydney Morning Herald
  • By Thursday last week, Alan Jones was screaming like a race
    caller whose horse was coming home. “I’m the person that’s led this
    charge here. Nobody wanted to know about North Cronulla, now it’s
    gathered to this.” … Sunday’s trouble did not come out of the blue.
    It was brewing all week on talkback radio – particularly on 2GB. Radio
    doesn’t get much grimmer than Alan Jones’s efforts in the days before
    the Cronulla riot. He was dead keen for a demo at the beach … Daily
    he cautioned his listeners not to take the law into their own hands,
    but he warmed to listeners who had exactly that on their minds.” –
    David Marr,Smage

  • As The Daily Telegraph in Sydney reported on the day
    before the Cronulla riots, for years Bondi beach had experienced
    bashings of lifesavers and locals and intimidation of beachgoers,
    particularly of young women. The perpetrators were gangs of Middle
    Eastern background … It took four years to bring the rule of law to
    Bondi beach. Four years of persistent police work, at just one beach.
    It didn’t take that long in the 1960s. I know because I was there. It
    was rockers v surfies in those days. This was a class-driven phenomenon
    … There was no religious, political or entrenched ethnicity involved
    in rockers v surfies. It was about turf wars between adolescents who
    grew out of it. Paul Comrie-Thomson, The Australian

  • As with the Redfern and Macquarie Fields riots in February
    last year and February this year respectively, police at Cronulla
    quickly lost the initiative and the battle. From the start, the police
    were hopelessly outnumbered. Indeed, police numbers were more likely
    dictated by the bean-counting bureaucrats under Police Minister Carl
    “Sparkles” Scully. Although not widely known, the police ministry
    wields awesome power throughout the NSW police. So much so that most of
    the big decisions are made by so-called experts within the ministry and
    usually based on cost. If Sunday’s debacle can be linked back to the
    police ministry in any way, then there should be hell to pay. Despite
    the attempts of the experts, past and present, policing and law and
    order can’t be run on a budget. After all, public safety is not a
    franchise; it is a common-law right. Tim Priest, The Australian

  • (For me) this summer’s eating, swimming, sunbaking and
    breathing will be exclusively carried out on the north bank of the
    Georges River … Isn’t that what Sunday was about: ridding their Eden
    of hooked noses, beady eyes and monobrows? I’m just one less Arabic
    blight on the landscape. It might sound bitter, but unfortunately
    Sunday’s message will turn away thousands of others with
    strange-sounding surnames. Instead of integrating, they’ll withdraw
    deeper into their own communities. – Josh Massoud, Herald Sun

  • In the past two decades there has been an increase in migrants
    from Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq. They too come from cultures where the sea
    is important … Both sides are human, both are Australian, both love
    the surf, sand and sun. And both are there to enjoy the beach. And I
    have enough confidence in the people of Cronulla to visit the beach
    this weekend with my wife without fear of persecution and violence. The
    funny thing is that if the two groups involved were sitting in a
    stadium in Germany watching Australia down Croatia in the World Cup, I
    am certain they would be sharing a hot dog and a beer barracking for
    Australia, singing in a slightly broad Australian accent, “Aussie,
    Aussie, Aussie. Oi Oi Oi.” – Kuranda Seyit, Courier-Mail

  • Sydney’s Islamic community has blamed rabble-rousing by
    irresponsible radio shock-jocks for the mob violence at the weekend.
    Yes, but surely that’s only part of the story … Clearly, there has
    been much anxiety and tension in this part of Sydney for some years.
    Allegations in 2001 that Lebanese youths had specifically targeted
    Anglo-Australian girls for gang rape became a white-hot issue after a
    local Islamic leader argued the young women ought to accept some blame
    for their attitudes and dress sense. This may have been the genesis of
    the so-called “cultural misunderstanding.” – Tony Parkinson, The Age

Peter Fray

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