Thursday, June 4, 2009

Miranda Devine, Indian students, Victorian police and politicians and

There's nothing like the issue of racism to reduce the average commentariat columnist to rambling incoherence.

And whatever you can say about Miranda the Devine, as a columnist she's always delightfully average. Try Racism cry is the only weapon as a starter course.

The Devine's subject is the recent outcry over Indian students being selectively bashed in Melbourne, with racial epithets added as a bonus to the bashings.

Of course there are racists in Australia, as there are everywhere in the world, not least India, where not so long ago the cricketer Andrew Symonds was abused as a "monkey".

But that is different from saying Australia is a racist country, which by any objective measure it is not. But if crying racism is the only way for Indian students to make their point, then all power to them.


1. There are racists in Australia, but there are racists everywhere in the world.
2. There are racists in India, where Andrew Symonds was abused as a monkey.
3. People say Australia is a racist country, but it isn't. At least no more than India.
4. But calling Australia a racist country is an effective strategy for Indian students, so feel free to do so to make a point.

But if Australia isn't a racist country and the bashings aren't racist, what is the point of calling Australia a racist country and the bashings racist? And do the racists in India first establish that people in the streets are curry eating Australians before bashing the shit out of them?

Are Indian students being selectively bashed? Well yes and no. You see none of this is actually applicable just to Indian students. We're all quivering in fear:

For at least two years Victorian police have been aware of the violent robberies occurring on trains late at night and in the western suburbs. It reached Indian diplomatic circles a year ago. Anyone on public transport late at night or in crime-ridden areas of Melbourne, especially if they are dressed well and carrying laptops, mobile phones and iPods, was a target in this lawless environment, regardless of skin colour.

You see, the bashings and the crimes are regardless of skin color. Even if the news first reached Indian diplomatic circles a year ago that Indian students seemed to be the target. But it all happens regardless of skin color, even if Indian students only have the cry of racism as a weapon because they're being selectively targeted. 

But as Devine points out, it's absurd to think Indians are being selectively targeted:

Tell that to 25-year-old Shravan Kumar, who is in hospital with critical injuries after being stabbed at a party in Melbourne last week. Tell that to another Indian student, Baljinder Singh, who was robbed and stabbed at a Melbourne railway station. Tell that to 20 other Indian students who have been robbed and bashed in the past month, according to Indian student leaders who also say victims are reluctant to report assaults because police never treat them seriously.

Oh sorry, got that wrong. It seems these bashings might have something to do with skin color, which might lead you to think that the cry of racism is not just a weapon, but a cry with a point.

But enough of meditating on confusion and contradictions in thinking. Here's the thing, I know exactly who to blame for the bashings. No, it's not the actual people doing the bashings, while robbing and hurling racist abuse. 

It's the police and politicians and policing methods.

That's right, Devine spends the rest of her column loading up and bashing up on politicians and police and policing methods, and thankfully none of the bashing has anything to do with skin color. 

Yep, it's John Brumby's farcical response to the muggings of (Indian) students of any color, and his silly walk for harmony and his rushed hate crime legislation, and the incompetent Victorian police in the grip of Potemkin-village policing, like NSW was in Cabramatta until people blew their whistles, and they got back to recording real crime, and then Victoria imported a NSW protege and began under reporting crime, and well might you say that these bashings of Indian students with racists overtones were known long ago - as long as a year ago in Indian diplomatic circles - the news was wilfully withheld from the media.

Unless of course the media didn't have much interest in what was happening to Indian students, until the news reached India, students decided that they'd be better off heading home, the university gravy train was threatened, and the commentariat started to pay attention.

But of course it's all the fault of the police, and the way they sit at desks ticking forms rather than walking the beat, and acting like Dirty Harry, or even Batman, a constant dark shadowy presence strolling the streets late at night on dark streets in seedy neighbourhoods protecting the good guys from the bad guys.

No, that's not a movie, that's Miranda the Devine's idea of effective policing on trains. Patrol the dark seedy streets. Well, that surely sounds like Potemkin village policing:

Potemkin villages were purportedly fake settlements erected at the direction of Russian minister Grigory Potyomkin to fool Empress Catherine II during her visit to Crimea in 1787. According to this story, Potyomkin, who led the Crimean military campaign, had hollow facades of villages constructed along the desolate banks of the Dnieper River in order to impress the monarch and her travel party with the value of her new conquests, thus enhancing his standing in the empress's eyes. (Wikipedia source here).

Yep, it's about time that the Victorian police force began to run up a huge overtime bill trying to be johnnies on the spot in dark seedy streets like their hero Clint Eastwood. Eyes and ears and Uzis everywhere, or perhaps .44 mags, at one time the most powerful handgun in the world, as we hear that Victorian police aren't adverse to throwing a little lead to sort out problems in the streets.

Now you might still be confused by all this, so I'll spell it out in a way that even a simpleton could understand.

The Victorian police and their political overlords are responsible for the bashings of Indian students, which have everything to do with skin color and nothing to do with skin color.

Clear now? You're not? Guess it's e-meter time for you.

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