CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
As America remains in the grips of rapidly escalating once-in-a-lifetime protests against racial inequality, Australians are now being forced to confront that our citizens only really mobilise that aggressively in protest against the perceived deterioration of white supremacy on our beaches.
In America, the dramatic civil unrest began a week after the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who had been pinned down with a knee to the neck by a police officer – leading to lengthy and destructive protests in decades in New York, Los Angeles and dozens of other American cities.
In Australia, however, our most recent ‘Minneapolis moment’ was when Alan Jones took to the airwaves to peddle unconfirmed reports of Lebanese crime on Cronulla Beach, the pride and joy of Scott Morrison’s monocultural hometown in southern Sydney.
The talkback rhetoric, paired with the invention of chain-mail text messages urging ‘Aussie to get down to Cronulla for WOG BASHING day’ – resulted in a violent civil conflict that saw thousands of drunk white kids taking to the beach to bash anyone of Middle Eastern appearance on December 11, 2006.
Similar to the current riots in America being supercharged by the current COVID-19 lockdowns, the Cronulla Riots were also accelerated by the fact that most of the participants were off work. But this was because it was Christmas time.
However, almost 14 years later, Cronulla resident admit that their erratic decision to bash anyone with olive skin is a lot harder to justify than the current protests taking place in America.
“It’s just hard to compare the two because, like, the Lebos were taking over the beach, but like, no one died” says Cronulla-based airport baggage handler, Wyatt Shark (40), who was front and centre on the day.
“But like, it was still a threat to our identity. It’s just that, you know Black Lives Matter is a lot easier to get around then ‘Drunk And Fragile White Lives Matter’ – you know. But it’s the same thing”
While Cronulla residents admit that their white supremacist race riot could have been a bit better articulated at the time, one thing that remains unclear is if American politicians will actually benefit from their current civil unrest in the long run – in the same way Scott Morrison did.
Wyatt says if it wasn’t for the Cronulla Riots, then his local MP could have ended up being a Lebo.
“The riots actually did good” says Wyatt, in reference to Morrison’s Liberal pre-selection to the Division Of Cook in 2007, after a calculated Daily Telegraph smear campaign against the Lebanese-Australian Michael Towke – who democratically won pre-selection in the ballot with 82 votes to Morrison’s 8 votes.
“I’m glad we were able to change the systemic structures of our societ by using our freedom of speech”
” …and freedom to drunkenly bash lebos. And the occasional Greek, by accident”