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August 11th 2014 print

John Izzard

Why Hast Thou Forsaken Us, Mr Abbott?

The promise to scrap Section 18C was accepted in good faith by those who cast their votes for the Coalition at the last election. Now that it has been broken, what exactly has that retreat achieved, other than to demonstrate that the Prime Minister cannot be taken at his word?

18c-2“With regard to freedom of speech there are basically two positions: You defend it vigorously for views you hate, or you reject it and prefer Stalinist/fascist standards. It is unfortunate that it remains necessary to stress these simple truths.”
– 
Noam Chomsky*

Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister of Australia, has abandoned the one and only non-economic promise he took to the 2013 Federal election — the promise to repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. His reasons for this spectacular breach of faith, not only with the electorate but his loyal supporters, is that he must appease the ‘ethnic’ community to secure its support for new ‘anti-terrorist’ measures. That he deemed it necessary to take this step clearly exposes the sheer strength and power of the multicultural lobby — as well as their ignorance in regard to the most basic tenant of Australian democracy, freedom of speech.

Appeasement is giving in to the bully. A fine example of ‘freedom of speech’ colliding with ‘appeasement’, and the ideology held by the multicultural industry, was the resignation of Mr Vic Alhadeff, the Chairman of the NSW Community Relations Commission (CRC). Mr Alhadeff obviously thought that, as the CEO of the Jewish Board of Deputies, he had a right to comment to his own Jewish members on Israel’s right to defend itself. Silly man!

Several Arab and Muslim groups found it offensive that he should side with Israel, so he thought it best after coming under pressure to remove himself. “It is with considerable regret that I have decided to resign from my position,” he said in a statement. “I have chosen to do so in the interests of the CRC and its important work in fostering social harmony within our society.”

Of course, no Arab or Muslim community leader would ever dream of sympathising with Hamas or wishing ill on Israel. As if!

What on earth made Prime Minister Abbott think that scuttling the moral obligation to honour his election promise on Section 18C would have any effect on the Australian-Arab/Muslim community? Or was his invocation of Team Australia simply an excuse for a spineless retreat on 18C?

Reading of some of the interviews with Muslim-Australians in The Weekend Australian (9/8/14) regarding Prime Minister Abbott’s plan to be able to track active and potential terrorists, one person’s words were particularly revealing. Samar Hamze, 23, whose family owns a grocery store in Sydney’s Lakemba, apparently doesn’t see any merit in tracking terrorists. She said in the article:

“Some people feel bad just staying here and watching them fighting in the war on the news and not doing anything about it. If you want to go fight there then you can go fight there; if you want to go on holidays, you can go on holidays— I think it is nobody’s business.”

Hamze went on to say: “If people want to go back to their country then they can. I don’t think anyone can stop them.”  She also thought that the Prime Minister’s proposed new anti-terrorism laws “target people of her faith”. Gosh! Dumping Section 18C really worked to get Samar Hamze on-side, didn’t it Mr Abbott?

Two important issues emerge from the above paragraphs. The first is the term “their country”. If Australian-born Muslims consider Australia not to be their country, that is certainly a problem for everyone whose country it really is. The second issue is Samar’s statement that anti-terrorism laws “target people of her faith”. And here is the rub. The next paragraphs falls foul of Section 18C.

During the past twelve months the following countries have been subject to terrorist attacks by people of her faith:      Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Indonesia, China,  Egypt, France, India, Iraq,  Israel, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Mali,  Netherlands, Niger,  Nigeria, Pakistan,  Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, United Kingdom, United States and  Yemen.

These attacks included the kidnapping of 200 Nigerian Christian school girls; the beheading in a London street of an English army musician; the lining up and summary execution of Iraqi soldiers and citizens, as well as car bombs, school-girl suicide bombers and children used as human shields. All of this is justified by using verses from Muslim sacred texts that clearly authorise and condone such actions.

On July 14, 2014, The Telegraph in London published an article detailing a report by British risk-consultancy firm Maplecroft on world terror attacks which found terrorism had increased 30% in the past 12 months, with Iraq registering 3,158 mass-killings and Nigeria, where the average death rate of 24 deaths per attack, now the world’s deadliest location. Worldwide there were 18,668 fatalities — and that figure does not, presumably, include the tolls in civil wars in Syria, Libya and Iraq.

An interesting aspect of the Telegraph article was that journalist Damien McElroy did not once mention the word “Islam” or “Muslim”. The almost total “political cleansing” of these two words in relation to Islamic terrorism is extraordinary.  It is almost like mentioning WWII while going to great pains not to utter the names of germany and Japan. In other words, we must not offend, even if that means omitting the most salient fact about most of the attacks perpetrated by Muslims, often against other Muslims. In Australia, the weapon of choice in this Orwellian throttling of free speech is Section 18C, which makes it illegal to offend.

After the extremely objectionable cleansing of Mr Alhadeff from the CRC and the extraordinary one-sided and biased reporting of the Israel/Hamas conflict by the Australian media — especially by Fairfax, SBS and the ABC — you would think that the Jewish community and its leaders might have realised they have been mixing with the wrong crowd.

Freedom of speech gets Holocaust deniers out into the open, where they can be dealt with by debate and ridicule. Section 18C allows them to hide in their fug of ignorance and resentment, protected by a law that gags free expression and, even if a statement is not per se a violation, by fear of the legal costs and trouble of responding to vexatious complaints. Freedom of speech allows society to discuss and debate the deadly shortcomings of certain religious teachings and the philosophy of oppressive ethnic groups. Section 18C silences such debates.

Section 18C imposes self-censorship and allows the practitioners and followers of terror, secrecy, hypocrisy, criminality and tyranny to thrive. Followers of Islam in this country are ‘complicit by their silence’ as the jihadists slaughter and maim. Weak politicians are ‘complicit by their inaction’ if they allow Section 18C to remain on our statute books.

Prime Minister, why hast thou forsaken us?

 

* It really has reached a sorry state when one has to quote Noam Chomsky!