Dave The Trucker

Nizamdeen’s wrongful arrest revealed the worst of us

With the wrongful arrest of Mohamed Nizamdeen boiling down to romantic revenge, I suggest we pause to reflect on our behaviour. Or the face of our true antagonist. 



The entirety of the Mohamed Nizamdeen issue, one where a UNSW student was incorrectly arrested on terrorism charges boils down to the most schoolyard of conclusions. Arsalan Khawaja (brother of Usman Khawaja) apparently planted the terror hit list as a measure of revenge, with Fairfax stating: “…it is understood police will now allege Mr Khawaja was attempting to set up Mr Nizamdeen, due to an argument over a girl.”

Dearie me.



Nizamdeen’s arrest enabled the base fears of a paranoid Australia. We recoil at the possibility of a terrorist attack in equal measure as we do the increased government powers granted to stop it. Nizamdeen was held in Goulburn’s very serious, ultra-maximum security complex for four weeks while the machinations of policework ran their course. I realise that every threat must be taken seriously, but a month in solitary confinement before they realised their error, is taking the piss. On an objective level, one man’s life may be ruined, the sanctity of the nation remains. You may be tempted to feel safe over sorry, but the easy headline type unearthed some hard truths about this country.

Nizamdeen’s arrest instantly became entirely subjective. We didn’t know the details, so we filled in the gaps. Mohammed was either a victim of the system, or a legitimate target of. The opposite opinion became stupid, ammunition for squabbles in comment boxes. But therein lies the issue. We were split across the divides of racism, of religion. Lines were drawn over citizenship, as the inherent evilness of Muslims made them unsuitable to live here if they were going to do such things. Newscasters broadcasted the subtext, he was a terror suspect, but our brains process the former, not the latter. We didn’t wait for the facts to come in. While the entirety of the event might boil down to the binary of jilted love and revenge (which is a problem in itself), the revealing of feeling and barbed sentences may have been silenced, but have not been exonerated, or enabled by today’s arrest. I fear they’ll merely be rehashed something along these lines occurs again, whether legitimate, or not. The truth has arrived too late. Minds have already been made up.

The purported foolishness of the elder Khawaja also numbs the senses, and certainly cheapens the possibility of an attack on our shores. Which, of course, is a real possibility. Perhaps we cry Arsalan instead of lone wolf. But letting fear march over logic, sentiment over empathy, or fiction over fact, will doom us. I found myself feeling safe at the sound of a meaningful arrest, which is where the danger lies. Anything feels like something. Something is better than nothing. What if the list was actually real?



If anything, today has raised more questions than answering them. Both in the ease of finding an antagonist, by the public, the media, the police, and the lengths we all took to shoehorn that event into our narrative. Perhaps today’s true lesson is the emergence of our true antagonist, the jilted male – the one who goes to extreme lengths to ruin a life and upset a nation to sate his bruised ego. Perhaps we need an increase in laws to curtail these radicalised fuckbois.

That might seem like progress.


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