I need to set the record straight about some stuff. A few people on the internets have been linking to my first post on the curry-bashing phenomenon, and have been trying to twist it for their own agendas.
I mentioned that "if you were thinking of it as white-on-brown, Aussie-versus-foreigner violence, you’d be mistaken, as the picture is more complicated than that. There is no dominant trend apparent in the ethnic background of the attackers – Anglos as well as people of European, Middle Eastern, African and Asian heritage all feature."
I also mentioned that some of the attacks, particularly on taxi drivers in 3 suburbs, were by African youths.
Now it seems that some people in the blogosphere are taking this out of context, and trying to interpret this information as "Asians and Africans are responsible". This is something I did not imply at all, and so I wish to make it clear about who is actually committing the crimes. With the exception of the African gang attacks on taxi drivers, I deliberately avoided mentioning the ethnicities of the attackers, since I didn't think it was especially relevant. The more pertinent issue is that there is a culture of violence amongst many young people in Australia, which reaches across ethnic boundaries.
Likewise, foreign media has singled out Anglo-Australians to a degree which is perhaps unfair, linking the attacks to the history of white colonialism and the "arrogance of the white man". While many of the perpetrators do seem to have been Anglo, it is hardly restricted to that group, with many coming from migrant backgrounds as well.
Note: Most Australian media often avoid mentioning the ethnicity of suspects, for as I have shown above, some people selectively interpret this information to form prejudicial views. My intention to clear up the details of ethnicity is to actually counter these prejudicial views. The information I am presenting here is all in the public domain, and is available on the internet if you are prepared to search for it, which I was.
In the recent attack of Sourabh Sharma by 7 youths on the Werribee line train, it was clearly a group of mixed identity. At least one was clearly white; one looked like a Pacific Islander but could also have been Southeast Asian, and one looked either South Asian, Middle Eastern or Islander.Regarding the attack on taxi driver Jalvinder Singh in 2008:
Parish Charles, 45, of Alphington, has been remanded to reappear in court on
July 23 over the incident and faces charges including attempted murder.
You can make your own mind up about what background Parish Charles comes from.
On the case of the 4 young men who actually used the term "curry-bashing", and who attacked Binesh Mosaheb and Zhonjun Cao, killing Mr Cao:
Four young men have been charged over the attack on Mr Cao. They come from
different ethnic backgrounds, including Asian, Italian and Pakistani heritage,
police say. John Caratozzolo, 20, of Melton South, appeared at Melbourne
Magistrates Court yesterday charged with one count each of murder and robbery
over the two attacks. Magistrate Thomas Barrett remanded Caratozzolo to reappear on May 16. A 16-year-old appeared at the Children's Court charged with the same offences and was also remanded. The two other youths, both 17, charged with Dr Cao's murder, were extradited from Adelaide yesterday to appear at the Children's Court today.
The 17-year olds in this case were convicted and were only referred to by their initials.
WH was born in China and MBA came from a migrant family and was dark-skinned.
Regarding the group of men in Sunshine who attacked Indians in the Impex Grocery Store, putting Sukhraj Singh in a coma, one of them was caught on camera and described:
He was described as caucasian, aged 17 to 20, about 170cm, thinly built,
with light-coloured, short-cropped hair and wearing dark clothing.
Regarding the group of thugs who beat and almost killed Dr Mukesh Haikerwal:
The much respected doctor was said to have been attacked by a gang of people
aged between 17 and 21, of medium-build and Caucasian-looking, who went on an
one-hour rampage, attacking four other people in a five-km radius on the night
of Sep 27.
Two 19-year-olds, Michael Baltatzis and Sean Gabriel, and a
16-year-old boy faced an out of sessions court at Broadmeadows Saturday morning in relation to the attacks, reports the Australian Associated Press (AAP).
Baltatzis is facing 10 charges of armed robbery and intentionally causing
serious injury, and Gabriel and the 16-year-old are facing six charges of armed
robbery and intentionally causing serious injury, reports AAP.
As stated earlier, the spate of attacks last year on taxi drivers in the adjoining suburbs of Moonee Ponds, Ascot Vale and Flemington were apparently all by gangs of African youths.
Convicted of the murder of Indian taxi driver Rajneesh Joga in 2006 was Broadmeadows man Eyyub Bayram Zaim, to whom we can probably infer a Middle-Eastern background.
The crowds of youths who attacked a Sikh taxi driver and Asian shopkeeper on Australia Day this year in the Sydney suburb in Manly were clearly of Anglo background, as photos indicate. They shouted "Aussie Aussie Aussie" and wore clothing emblazoned with "F--- off we're full."
Also in Sydney, on the day of the Cronulla Riots in 2005, 2 Bangladeshi students who lived nearby were attacked in their car by crowds of rioting youths who were predominantly Anglo. The main target of aggression that day were Lebanese, but an Italian man walking nearby was also chased.
Obviously this only the tip of the iceberg; there are many attacks that we do not know about. But it gives you a picture of who is out there attacking South Asians.
I have heard some people commenting that since some of the attackers were themselves of migrant backgrounds, meaning that the attacks could not in fact be racist in nature. This of course is rubbish - racists can come from all backgrounds.
However, in many of the attacks in which we do not know ethnicity but which have included racist abuse of the "go back to your own country" or "you look like a terrorist" variety, I will say anecdotally that I very much doubt that Africans were responsible for any of these. It just does not ring true when you consider the background of the African migrants in those areas; many are from Muslim backgrounds themselves (so shouts of "terrorist" are unlikely), and given that many have only been in Australia a very short time themselves, I doubt they yet have the sort of attachment to this country that usually accompanies this sort of attitude.
So in conclusion (and read this carefully, because I don't want anyone to miss my point here and take more stuff out of context):
The perpetrators in these crimes are of various ethnicities, and do not necessarily have the same motives. Some are clearly racist and xenophobic, some are "wrong place, wrong time" incidents, and some have a combination of both factors.
I don't think it helps to try pin this on particulary ethnic groups, as some are trying to do. This trend demonstrates that racism is pernicious throughout society. But more relevant is the culture of thuggishness that has become increasingly common throughout Australia's young males.
UPDATE (27 July 2009):
The India Times describes the well-publicised screwdriver stabbing of Sravan Kumar Theerthala in May as being by "two white boys", according to a witness. The same article reports a random attack in Box Hill in late June on another Indian student, Mir Qasim Ali Khan, by "two beefy white teenagers."
Meanwhile, one of the attackers of Sourabh Sharma (mentioned earlier in this article), has been revealed to be of Indian origin himself. Which certainly adds an intriguing element to the mix.
Sunny Bajaj, punched and racially abused in Boronia in mid-June while getting into his car by two men, described one as white and one being of African appearance. Wow, a black person and a white person coming together to victimise a brown person. Messed up world, innit?