Sunday, June 28, 2009

Curry bashings in Australia - could pose threat to OZ's education masala!

While I was in Australia for a vacation, there was a group of punks stopped and harrased me on a Sydney street.
They pushed and shouted at me, "You F**king chinese, go home!"
I shouted back even though I was only, well, 1/4 chinese, "You bloody convicts, go home to bloody England!"
I ran to the nearest Police station for safety.
It was late 80s! The anti-chinese migrant was high then and now, the indians after the arabs few years back.

Attacks against Indians in Australia.

A series of violent assaults against Indian students in Melbourne, Australia, has not gone unnoticed by the Indian press, Agence France-Presse reported:

Indian media have dubbed the attacks “curry bashings,” a term reportedly used by youths behind the violence in Melbourne’s western suburbs, where 30 percent of assault victims are Indian.

It is a grossly disproportionate figure in a city of almost four million with an Indian student population of less than 50,000.

According to A.F.P., there have been 70 attacks against Indian students in Melbourne in the last year alone – in addition to attacks in Sydney – prompting Indian students to hold demonstrations against the violence.

The Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police acknowledged an increase in attacks against students of Indian origin, and conceded that “some of these crimes are racially motivated.” However, he claimed “many of the robberies and other crimes of violence are simply opportunistic”:

We know that a lot of international students work and study late at night and are often travelling home by themselves on trains, equipped with their laptops and phones. Unfortunately, they are often just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

According to A.F.P., “curry bashing” could pose a threat to Australia’s $12.2 billion international education sector. China has already expressed concern over the safety of foreign students in the country. And, The Business Standard reported that 50–60 percent of Indian students who were planning to study in Australia may now choose universities elsewhere.

Kevin Rudd, Australia’s prime minister, said “I speak on behalf of all Australians when I say that we deplore and condemn these attacks. … These are senseless acts of violence. Those who carry out these attacks stand condemned.” Rudd also told the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, that “the more than 90,000 Indian students in Australia are welcome guests in our country.”

Attacks on Indians in Oz
By M. Nasir Jawed
IS Australia a racist country? The series of recent attacks on Indian students in Melbourne and Sydney have led many to raise such questions.
There have been at least 70 attacks against Indians, students in particular, in Melbourne western suburbs alone. Melbourne a city of almost four million with an Indian student population of less than 50,000. Some of the 93,000 Indian students who study in Australia have taken to the streets of Sydney and Melbourne calling for more action by authorities to protect their rights.
Termed as “curry bashings”, a term reportedly used by youths behind the violence in Australia, the attacks have evoked all-round condemnation from Indian expatriates here in the Kingdom.
Bakhtiyar Khan, PR manager in Global Digital Creative, Riyadh, believes that the attacks may have another aspect to it. “Racism is basically a layer of frustration in an era of global envy, which is also a result of Australia’s economy that has moved into a state of recession,” he said. “It’s the handiwork of some disgruntled Australian youths, coupled with the involvement of local criminals,” Khan said, who is of the view that India, despite being one of the most multi-racial societies in the world, has minimal interracial conflicts.
Saud Al-Taher, 24, from the Indian state of Karnataka, deplored the attacks, describing them as “racial, criminal and dangerous”. “India should take every step to stop this,” he said.
Criticism of what is happening down under has been harsh and rampant. The issue of racism itself has come in for much introspection and inquiry, more so because Muslims have themselves been victims of violence in India since partition in 1947, as noted by some Indian expats.
Such outrages “are everywhere, even in India, which now finds itself a victim of racial violence in Australia”, said Al-Taher, who works with Saudi Bin Laden Construction Company in Jeddah.
What Al-Taher implies finds expression in one of the columns of India’s reputed journalists, Jug Suraiya, who says: “We are racist ourselves. And our racism is color-coded in black-and-white terms: white is intrinsically superior and desirable; black is inferior and undesirable.”
“In India, not everyone is anti-Muslim. But, the racial prejudice is there, in most places and in many forms – caste, color, region and religion,” said Amer Ali, who works in Jarir Bookstore, Jeddah.
The Indian government has come in for much flak for not taking enough diplomatic action to protect the lives of Indian students in Australia.
“There is not much diplomatic effort from the our government to stop attacks on helpless students. India must send a delegation there, take this matter to the UN, pressure Australia, and involve the international community in its campaign against racism,” said M. Shamim, 55, who runs a Photostat shop in Makkah.
“The incidents in Australia are an aberration and have been blown out of proportion,” said Majid Siddiqui, 52, who works with CEVA International Freight Forwarder in Jeddah. He said the whole thing is more about a law and order problem than a racial issue. “I don’t think Australia is a racist nation,” Siddiqui said. – SG