It must have been a slow news day at the Daily Telegraph when Luke McIlveen had to trawl YouTube to come up with stories.  All he found were some offensive videos which have been online since November 2006. And some offensive comments attached to them. Fairfax websites also jumped onto the bandwagon. Yet no one could explain a simple issue which even a schoolboy could figure out:

I went to “Cronulla riots” on YouTube and there are all these videos of Anglos saying “We are proud of what we did”. So there are already other race hate videos out there. Why are they only targeting one [community]?

The PM claimed that the videos serve as “a reminder that there is undoubtedly within a section, a small section, of the Lebanese Muslim community a group of people who are antagonistic to the values and the way of life in this country”. Really? Did he ascertain whether Lebanese Muslims created and/or uploaded the video before making such provocative sectarian remarks? Did he hold information that wasn’t available to either the NSW Police or the NSW Education Minister? I watched one of the videos before it was taken down. I saw/heard:

  • Rap music in the background.
  • Images of stereotypical young Lebanese boys with bad haircuts and hotted-up cars.
  • Repeated images of the green and red cedar symbol of the Lebanese flag.

And I never knew that Lebanese Muslims had a monopoly on rap music. Either that, or Eminem must have changed both his ethnicity and his religion. Further, in what sense do images of hotted-up cars and pop music show hostility to Australian values and lifestyle? I used to see the Anglo thugs doing the same in East Ryde in the 70s. They’d shout racist insults at me and whistle and hoot at anything slightly resembling a female. Instead of rap, they had heavy metal.  But that doesn’t stop the PM from turning this into a sectarian issue. Nor does it stop the Tele from running the story again and from running Paul Kent’s hysterical column comparing “fundamental Muslims” to Nazis. Not even John Ilhan’s column (published last week in the Herald Sun) makes the Tele look better.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey