Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Australia does in three days, what it took the French three weeks to do:

SYDNEY has declared war on all rioters after more than 48 hours of lawlessness and admissions from both the police and Muslim leaders that they have been unable to control the angry mobs of young men.NSW Premier Morris Iemma announced a series of new police powers, including increasing the penalty for rioting from five years to 15, as the number of officers on the streets was trebled.

At dusk last night, an extra 450 highly mobile police and 20 dog-squad units were patrolling the hot spots in suburbs across Sydney as communities braced for a third night of violence.

The additional police powers will go before a special sitting of parliament tomorrow.

They include allowing police to establish "lockdown zones" where officers can search people and vehicles at will; and powers to confiscate vehicles driven by those who are seen to be involved in rioting.

Mr Iemma, who was elevated to the top job five months ago, has vowed to "take back the streets".

"These criminals have declared war on our society and we are not going to let them win. I won't allow Sydney's reputation as a tolerant, vibrant international city to be tarnished by these ratbags and criminals who want to engage in the sort of behaviour we've seen in the last 48 hours."

Sadly, and predictably, this makes Muslim leaders angry, and they are making threats:

Islamic leaders have warned that the race-related violence is symptomatic of a deep-seated racism in Australian society and could lead to the radicalisation of young Muslim men.

On Monday night, several thousand men met at Lakemba Mosque, where leaders urged them to keep the peace. Their calls were ignored, however, and 11 men were arrested after a second night of violence in Cronulla that left seven people injured, one of them a police officer.

Bats and iron bars were seized and police found a cache of Molotov cocktails.

Police are also now investigating bullet holes found in the cars of several staff members at St Joseph the Worker Primary School in South Auburn after a Christmas carols service on Monday evening. Parents and children were abused by a group of young men of Middle Eastern appearance and gunshots were heard during the service.

This morning my wife asked me about the rioting in Australia. "What are the Aussies doing about it?" she asked.

"Exactly what you'd expect Aussies to do," I told her. "They're kicking butt."

It's true, isn't it. The Aussies are living up to my image of what Aussies are; tough mofos.

Jihadis, emboldened by their victory over the French, got carried away and thought all of Western Civilization would roll over and cede ground. No, it won't work that way, and the Aussies are exactly the wrong people to pick a fight with.

Another place the Jihadis might want to avoid is the American South, and parts of the North. There are large Muslim communities in Texas and Michigan, for instance. But radicals in those communities might want to think twice before burning and looting, because those are two places where a lot of no-nonesense Americans own big ole' guns, and they aren't afraid to use them.

My blogbrother, Jonz, has an important editorial on the racial aspect of the rioting. Here's an excerpt:

Racism was on the streets last weekend. No doubt about it. White supremacists alleged to have links to neo-Nazis admitted they brought in more than 100 people to join the rampage at Cronulla. Young men used their bodies as billboards to read: "We grew here, you flew here". This is racist and it's wrong. Vigilantes bashing young men and women is criminal. But grabbing hold of Hansonism every time racism rears its ugly head and tarring the whole crowd with the same racist brush gets us nowhere.

Recognising human nature means that multiculturalism, though a fine sentiment, can only work if we unite behind a core set of values. Unfortunately though, that policy has become a licence for rampant cultural relativism. We are loath to criticise any aspects of cultures (except our own) for fear of sounding terribly judgmental and unfashionably un-multicultural.Instead, culture is talked about only as an excuse for abhorrent behaviour so that the offender becomes the victim. Last week, a convicted gang rapist claimed he assaulted a 14-year-old girl because she was not wearing traditional Muslim dress and he thought she was promiscuous. Pointing to cultural differences, the 27-year-old Pakistani-born man said: "I believed at the time I committed this offence that she had no right to say no. I believed I'm not doing anything wrong."

YESTERDAY a colleague emailed me from New York. The young lawyer - her family lives in Brighton-Le-Sands, a bayside suburb north of Cronulla in Sydney - wrote: "While I agree there is no justifying excuse for the violence and breakdown in order that occurred at Cronulla, it needs to be put in context. Unless you live in an area like Cronulla, Brighton-Le-Sands or Bondi, you have no idea what it is like to have one's suburb regularly inundated with large groups of young Muslim men from the western suburbs who proceed to shoot people [as has happened in Brighton], intimidate people, regularly threaten people within their vicinity with violence, drive around in large groups screaming abuse at people from cars with their music blaring, regularly brawling, etc."

This young woman recounted that all of the girls in her family (except the youngest) have been "subject to harassment inflicted by groups of these men - comments on our appearances, racist comments on our Australian background, unwanted touching, being followed while walking home by groups of men in cars (I was once followed all the way home - have never been so scared in my life), sexually explicit remarks while alone, with friends or with boyfriends, unwanted called-out invitations to have sex with groups of them, etc".

What is the proper reaction to such to such a clash of "cultures?" (Quotation marks are their because I don't think lawlessness deserves to be called a culture.) Random mob violence is not the answer. But, the answer is not to allow the abuses to continue.

What is the answer? I have no idea.