Austalian race attacks: no end in sight
The second set of incidents involving racist attacks on minority populations in advanced, industrial/post-industrial democracies in recent weeks. The other was the forced expulsion of 100 Romanians in Northern Ireland, after they had been harassed to the point where they fled their homes in Belfast. Also, the Economist has a story this week on the link between economic downturn, protectionism, and the opposition to migrants in wealthy countries. All of this points towards the fact that racism is a multifaceted, political/economic/social/historical problem that must be confronted each and every time we see it. I couldn’t agree more with the protestor in the picture, and these events highlight how far all of our societies have to go in addressing issues of equity and diversity.
The Times of India reports a total of 81 confirmed attacks on Indian citizens, mainly students, in Australia since May 23. The New South Wales state government and police admit a reluctance among Indian populations to report crimes against them, alluding to what is potentially a much larger figure. The attacks are believed to be both “recessionist” and racist in nature. The violence has prompted a patrol of Indian men along Melbourne’s suburban train system to protect other Indians from attack.
The attacks were condemned by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last month, who insisted that efforts to make international students feel safer would be undertaken at both the state and national levels. Australia currently plays host to over 93,000 Indian students and its education institutions fear a significant drop in attendees from the sub-continent if the current climate of ‘curry-bashing’ is not effectively dealt with. Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland released figures showing 1,447 reported cases of robbery and assault against Indians in 2008-2009, up from 1,083 the year before.
WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images
Posted on 02/07/2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Austalian race attacks: no end in sight.