Witnessing the weekend’s clash between the anti-racism and anti-Islam protestors, I truly couldn’t tell the difference between the two.
The other morning I awoke to a video of a clash between anti-racist protestors and anti-Islam protestors in Coburg.
For the first three minutes of the video I was watching these predominately young, white men and thinking, “Yeah, these angry, aggressive racists are a disgrace!”
In fact, it wasn’t until I saw a sign which read, “No room for racism” that I realised I was castigating the group I should have been cheering for.
Cloaked in masks and heavily covered, (not because they were actually Muslim and not necessarily because it was cold,) these self-righteous anti-racist “heroes” also chose to march with their right arms raised up and in front of them in what I think they thought was a gesture of solidarity, but which to me seemed to be only a few degrees away from that salute.
It saddens me because as someone who supports the sentiment of inclusiveness and multiculturalism, I feel they are taking the original message and distorting it into something accessible only to those who to see the means justify the ends.
In a galling reverse, in choosing to use violence and aggression to promote equality and diversity, they have become just like those they despise.
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Which brings me to the question I want to ask. How did it come to this? How has the ire become so acidic that the language of violence is the only spoken dialect.
What do they think it will achieve?
Do they think that naked aggression toward those they oppose will change their opponents’ minds? Do they believe that the war can be won in the traditional sense, namely making your opponent bleed more that you?
If that is the case, I have news for them, the anti-Islam groups think their violence and aggression will have the same effect and not the reverse.
I don’t say any of this to undermine those who did hope to march peacefully, and I definitely do not say it to support those who are a part of the United Patriots Front or other similar groups.
But those who are using violence to forcibly stamp out racism need to examine long the sword they swing, for it represents the polar opposite of what they treasure the most.
If anything, because it is getting more and more media coverage, they have tied the message of anti-racism directly to actions of violence and closed-mindedness, and are preventing others from entering the discussion; those who dislike racism, but also dislike the idea of black eyes, broken teeth, and capsicum spray.
Furthermore, the raising of awareness at the end of the knife, may even turn the “undecided” people against them, who may now see those who seek inclusion as the antagonist.
That thought will likely spur more of these scenes, as they again take the message to the streets to win the hearts and minds of ears they’ve already closed with the klaxon of violence.