Australia, land of sunshine, land of peace loving people; coastal beaches surround her and lush green forests populate her soil; multiculturalism and religious tolerance make her a haven... No, no, no! I'm reading the wrong script - I must have accidentally picked up a copy of John Howard's, 'Australian fantasy 101.' In reality, Australia, just like every other country in the world, is a racist country, and for Howard to claim as he did yesterday that: "I do not accept that there is underlying racism in this country," can mean only one of two things: 1) Howard is an out of touch idiot, who has no idea what is happening on the ground or 2) he was deliberately deceiving the Australian public because a component of his vote is derived from those very racist elements that he claims don't exist (let's not forget how he manipulated the public's xenophobic fears via the children overboard scam).
Howard's comment related to the violence that broke out on Sydney's Cronulla beach on Sunday. However, being as the violence was aimed at those of Middle-Eastern appearance; when racist slogans such as 'who let the wogs out?' were chanted; and when members of the Patriotic Youth League, which is considered to be a neo-Nazi group, were visible amidst the mass of 'protesters', it seems obvious that racism had a large part to play in proceedings. But, as Suki points out, how can you expect our Prime Minister to call racism when he sees it when, in fact, our Prime Minister is racist himself.
John Howard has scorned repeated calls to say 'sorry' to indigenous peoples on behalf of the nation, an apology much needed in the face of Australia's historically recognised semi-genocide of its Aboriginal population. I'm hard pressed to see how John Howard can make any assessment of what is racist and what is not in light of this constant refusal.
Personally, I don't think that John Howard should say sorry. I think that he should crawl from Canberra to the NT begging Aborigines forgiveness for two hundred years of theft, murder and rape; maybe he could stop in at Cronulla on the way and tell a Lebanese person that their bashing wasn't racially motivated.