Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Heart of Darkness

The fallout from the immigration ban has been long and loud. One voice of support coming from the ever reliable Pauline Hanson. The written press has however been commendably responsible on the issue, with even the tabloids coming out broadly against the decision and defending the Sudanese community against racist slanders. It's difficult to imagine the same kind of behaviour at home from shitrags like the Daily Express and the Mail. Only the other day I caught sight of a copy of the Daily Express with its pompous imperialist St George logo and humble slogan "The World's Greatest Newspaper", it's headlines declaring "It's Official: Police Can't Cope With Massive Rise In Immigrant Crime!" (below this was the usual 'Diana Woz Done In' headline) The phrase 'it's official!' is often used by Fleet Street vermin, yet the stories rarely seem to correspond to any type of officialdom. Usually it's a populist poll from the paper itself in which 98% of readers have agreed that "asylum seekers are all AIDS-ridden, criminal lunatics intent on rape and pillage on a scale unseen since the Vikings". Given the relative backwardness of Australia's media and politics on race issues it has been refreshing to see the newspapers report responsibly and refrain from headlines such as this gem in 2005:

Not only was it disgustingly xenophobic and outrageously emotive, it was completely inaccurate. It would be quite funny if it didn't sell so well. Being confronted with the Express again on foreign soil was a horrible experience and made me ashamed to be British. So congratulations Australia on your more responsible tabloid press. Unfortunately the same can't be said of the commercial television networks. Channel Seven, Nine and Ten, the big three all reported the story alongside "African gang" stories, thus rather unsubtly justifying the government policy. Channel Seven opened with:

"Sudanese gangs caught on camera as the government shuts the door on African immigrants…"

While Nine went for:

"New footage has emerged showing Sudanese gangs terrorising shopkeepers in Noble Park. Business owners are demanding more protection from local authorities while the Federal Government has announced it’s shutting the door to African refugees."

Channel Seven too had footage, asking us to "put racism claims aside for a minute" while we watched. So what was this sinister footage? Well it was indeed footage of violent young men but despite the Seven assurance that it was footage of "Sudanese gangs taking over a shop and stealing alcohol", a closer inspection showed only one man present was Sudanese and he wasn't shown doing anything violent. There was footage of him stealing a single can of beer but this transpired to have been taken on a different day. Meanwhile a shopkeeper complaining of having a bottle thrown at his head on Channel Ten was taken out of context to imply the thrower was Sudanese, when in fact it was a white woman. But wait there was some sinister news of the Sudanese man in the footage:

"One of those featured in the video is 19 year old Liep Gony who died after being savagely bashed by rival gang members last week"

Actually he was bashed to death by two white men in a racist attack. Nevermind that though, who ever let facts get in the way of some audience-grabbing rabble-rousing? Certainly not Channel Ten when they said:

"Ten news believes a man recently entered the Springvale police station vowing the rape and kill a female officer… the Federal Government shutting the door on African refugees until July next year because of concerns about their ability to integrate."

Well, that was news to the police who confirmed that the report was "completely without substance". They also confirmed that the Sudanese arrest rate was no higher than for the general community, but the seeds of fear over 'ethnic gang violence' have taken root thanks to dark rumours, misquotes and downright lies, all spurred on by government and media. News has just come through (via the newspapers of course) of another violent attack on a Sudanese man by white youths. You can bet that the government and commercial networks will be silent on this one. They don't want us to see the blood on their hands.

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