Monday, December 19, 2005

The Australian Rock and the Muslim Hard Place

Remember, this is a tiny, fringe minority. Police in Australia raided several homes and uncovered a cache of weapons.
They allegedly discovered a payload of weapons including smoke grenades, an ammunition re-loading machine, a pistol, knives, arrows and a slingshot, both in a house safe and in Sanders' brown Ford, which bore the sticker "Anglo-Saxon and proud".
Sounds very similar to what happened in France last week.

But wait, there's more. Australian "white supremacists" have taken a page from the Islamist Propaganda Handbook and posted at least two videos "glorifying the Cronulla riots."
The first of at least two videos, entitled The Battle for Cronulla, was posted on the white nationalist website Stormfront on the first night the rioting erupted at the beachside suburb. This video has already been downloaded 1700 times.

A second video, labelled 'Cronulla Oi!, was posted on Saturday and had been downloaded about 400 times by yesterday afternoon. The overtly racist videos encourage violence against non-whites and warn any other ethnic group to stay out of Cronulla.

The Battle for Cronulla is presented by "White Nationalist TV". After featuring skinheads in German iron crosses and three-bladed swastikas, it closes with the message: "Not white, not welcome in Cronulla".

The second video is set to a song about race war by heavy metal band Screwdriver and features a montage of images showing white rioters bashing helpless victims. It also features an image of a police officer trying to rescue a victim, emblazoned with the words: "Race traitor".
Not quite up to Islamist snuff-film standards, but I'm sure that these guys, at least in their own minds, are just getting started. As predicted, the unwillingness or inability of a political order to address the consequences of Muslim immigration leads to radical movements.
If people who are angry and anxious have no choice among existing political parties they will find an outlet somewhere else. If professional, moderate parties are seen as sell-out or cowards likeminded people will find another way to express their political beliefs.
Stormfront hosts an anti-Muslim propaganda video? There's gambling in the saloon? None of this is surprising. The popular outrage in Australia presents the government with a serious dilemma: crackdown or co-opt. Either response involves real risks.
If they don't have a legitimate political party the rightists will go underground and organize in secret. They could assassinate leftist or Islamist politicians or start a campaign of arson attacks against mosques. ...
If the governments allow rightists to contest elections they risk losing votes and polarizing the electorate and further radicalizing the Muslim population. And allowing the rightists into mainstream political discourse is no guarantee that underground groups will not commit assassinations or other criminal acts.
The sad part is that most people, both ethnic Australians and Muslims, are not on either extreme. But the dynamic currently at work pushes people toward one end or the other. As events unfold and pressure increases, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay in the middle. Polarizing times tend to, well, polarize.

The government walks straight into the rightist political trap every time it is seen protecting mosques while churches burn. This provides a propaganda victory to thos who claim the government is betraying their culture and they must take action outside the law. On the other hand, the government faces the same dilemma with Muslims, who, though smaller demographic, have a more impressive history of terrorism and mass violence than white supremacists. And of course any terror attack in Australia will unleash a native backlash, which creates better footage for propaganda videos, which movitates people to further violence, etc.

Point being, no government can simultaneously appease both extremes or the large number of their passive supporters. The government and society in general cannot calm the rightist's anxieties without cracking down on what the locals see as Lebanese crime and anti-social behavior. However, any crackdown will be seen as intolerant and anti-Muslim. The government faces nothing but bad choices and risk on all sides.

Neither the white supremacists nor the Muslims can be bought off or co-opted. This is a zero-sum game. Welcome, Australia, to the clash of civilizations.

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