Contributed by Adam Carlton
The slaying of the innocent as occurred in Melbourne’s Brighton only days ago was a horrible act. Such acts are always deplorable and must be prevented where ever possible.
At the same time, violent acts must never be sued to push a political hate barrow. To do so is a travesty in itself.
The Murdoch media monopoly is guilty of this, using its newspaper, television and radio outlets to peddle its ingrained hate message and deserves to be soundly condemned by all decent people.
On one is suggesting that sympathy should be given to murder and credence of any sort be given to acts of organised terror. On the contrary. All of us need to help to get rid of the menace. There can be no justification for the slaughter of the innocent.
By the same token, there can be no justification for a crusade against the Muslim community. This is inhuman and not the way to go eliminate acts of terror. Pointing the finger against a group, because it is believed to be a little different, vilifying and isolating them, treating them with contempt and demanding punishment because of colour, culture or belief, will only breed resentment and provide recruits for despicable organisations.
This is exactly what Newscorp is doing. In this,mimics hooded gangs lighting the fiery cross against black people and the pogroms against the Jews. It is the mentality that was there against the original inhabitants. Then it was the Chinese. Early in the twentieth century it was the Irish. After the Second World War, it was the Southern Europeans. Later still, it was the Vietnamese boat people. Each time, the preachers of hate claimed that our civilisation would be destroyed. It never has. The arrivals of new peoples have enriched us instead. So it is with the Muslim population.
Blaming a problem on a soft target it not only wrong, it evades doing something constructive about the real issue, which in this case is, combating attacks on the innocent.
Taking one or two cases and promoting them superficially as evidence for a tougher legal system is as dishonest as it is repugnant for anyone with any capacity for independent thought. Anybody who has any knowledge of and respect for legal process knows that those who lived before us fought hard to win the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty; that no one should be condemned because of colour, culture or beliefs; and that once someone has served their sentence, the debt to society has been paid. Without these rights, we all stand to be left worse off.
Yet this is what Newscorp wants to get rid of and employs well paid spin doctors to wage the campaign.
They also want to get rid of the principle that each case be dealt with according to its own evidence and circumstances. When this is done, there is going to be some differences in sentences, because each case is unique. The trouble with tabloid media is that it relies on suggestive headlines and denies the details. It tells a lie to build fear, loathing and a lynch mob mentality.
Take the case of Yacqub Khayne, the 29 year old Brighton killer. He was an obviously troubled man for a long time, shaped by mental health issues and a history of burglary and violent acts. That he came from Africa and a Muslim culture is incidental. But the incidental has been blown out of proportion and the real factors reduced to triviality. It goes further.
Khayne and Australia were let down by a system that has drastically cut back provision for mental health and denied services needed by very vulnerable people, who are, more or less, left to fend for themselves, in an environment in which they cannot cope. This is a recipe for more tragedies. In this instance Yacqub Khayne and his victim lost their lives.
Newscorp claimed Yacqub Khayne was tied up to a “jihadi” group. The evidence? He once stood trial on the accusation. What is not said nearly so loudly is that a Supreme Court jury found him innocent on the evidence. Why was he charged in the first place? Maybe because he had the wrong background and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunately, profiling is a living reality in today’s Australia.
Newscorp has been using this case to back one of its favourite projects. To get rid of the parole system. Most countries have one, because history has shown that they are effective in assisting former prisoners to integrate into society once again in a supervised way. Those who get parole, do so because of their good behavior. The system may not be fool proof, but its absence would mean many more prisoners released in an unsupervised way. The alternative would be to never release prisoners. Do we really want to go down this road?
No one believes that the peddlers of hate around Newscorp would be so ignorant as not to be aware these realities. One must assume that they are and have no qualms about bending reality to suit their own designs.
We are also living at a time when the world and Australia included, is becoming less certain. People tend to feel more vulnerable. It means that we need to be even more careful than usual, to resist all that seeks to divide our broad community with the politics of hate.