Column - How Jaspreet made Australia toast, too
Andrew BoltFriday, February 05, 2010 at 07:19am
IT’S because so many people want to believe Australians are racist that Jaspreet Singh became the latest fake example of our evil.
Singh, a 29-year-old Indian “student”, turned up last month burned to a crisp, with a tale of having been attacked in Essendon by four racists with a can of petrol.
The story smelled from the start, and not just of premium unleaded. Police even warned it sounded suss, starting with this notion that gangs roam Essendon late at night with cans of petrol, looking for Indians to burn.
But what followed is a golden example of a phenomenon that’s made this country seem like a madhouse lately. If people really want to believe something they will, and facts barely matter. Indeed, facts are then evil.
That’s why so many millions believe in the “stolen generations”, for instance, especially when no one can name even 10 children stolen just for being Aboriginal.
That’s why millions more are sure man is heating the world dangerously, even when the planet has cooled for more than eight years.
And that’s why so many of our preacher-teacher class, from academics to ABC broadcasters, have so eagerly insisted that every Australian (except themselves, funnily) is a racist redneck - a smugly self-regarding lie they’re now shocked to see is believed of them, too, by an Indian media only too happy to pander to its own chip-on-the-shoulder xenophobes.
It’s the wanting to believe that counts. So here’s what we read last month about the bizarre barbecueing of Jaspreet Singh from Indian journalists and Australian cause-pushers.
Sindh Today, January 9: “Days after India asked Australia to take urgent action against those behind the murder of an Indian student a week ago, a 29-year-old Indian was set ablaze Saturday by four unidentified attackers in Melbourne, putting bilateral ties under strain.”
The New Indian Express, January 11: “Victoria Police say ... there is no reason at this stage to consider this (attack) racially motivated. If the statement had been calculated to enrage, it could hardly have been more provocatively phrased. Perhaps, in Australia, opportunist crimes also involve setting the victim ablaze. In any other country, this would prima facie be considered a hate crime, in this case racist.”
The Communist Party of India, January 12: “In the past two weeks, racist attacks on Indians in Australia have claimed two lives (Ranjodh Singh and Nitin Garg) while 29-year-old Jaspreet Singh is now recovering from burns ... “
The Sydney Morning Herald, January 15: “Aboriginal leader Tom Calma believes the recent attacks on Indian students in Australia could be racially motivated.”
And more. Even former Defence Force chief General Peter Cosgrove, too ready to bend with the fashionable wind, just days later gave an Australia Day speech claiming attacks on Indians had “erupted over the last several weeks to become a major problem”, and “it is easy to conclude that they are racially targeted”.
Just as well he didn’t mention the now singed Jaspreet by name, because here’s what we read this week of our latest martyr to Australian racism: “Singh, 29, of Grice Crescent, Essendon, in the city’s north, faced an out-of-sessions hearing early this morning ... charged with making a false report to police and criminal damage with a view to gaining a financial advantage.”
Of course, Singh could be completely innocent. Let the court decide whether he really just blew himself up while trying to torch his car - but do let the Indian Government now apologise for jumping to its own inflammatory conclusion about our wickedness.
But this is not the first time an example of Australian racism has gone up in smoke like Singh’s shirt.
Let me quote from a statement sent to Indian newspapers just last week by Australia’s man in New Delhi:
The Australian High Commissioner, Mr Peter Varghese, today welcomed advice that the NSW police had arrested three persons in connection with the murder of Ranjodh Singh, a 25-year-old Indian man, whose burnt body was found in the NSW town of Griffith on December, 29, 2009.
Gurpreet Singh, 23, and his 20-year-old wife Harpreet Bhullar faced the court on January 29.
A third man was arrested on the same day and will also be charged with Mr Singh’s murder.
Mr Varghese said ... the identity of those arrested (all three are Indian nationals), as well as the conclusions reached by the investigation, clearly showed that racism had not been a factor.
Mr Varghese said that this case had been widely reported in the Indian media as a racist attack and he hoped that those, which carried such reports, would now set the record straight.
Yeah, dream on, Peter.
Why would we expect Indian journalists to stop jumping on every attack as proof of old-fashioned white Australian racism, when our own are just as likely to do the same - or to be so scared of seeming racist that they refuse to tell us all the forgiving truth?
That’s been the case ever since our media first paid serious attention to attacks on Indians - in 2008, when Sukhraj Singh was almost bashed to death in a Sunshine shop.
The racial identity of those thieving attackers, officer? Can’t say, couldn’t see. The ethnicity of the boys who bashed Singh, Mr Reporter? Didn’t notice, won’t write.
In fact, and said by almost no one, Singh had been belted by an ethnic gang of whom the only one since publicly identified in court is Zakarie Hussein, a 21-year-old from Somalia.
But, you see, our police command and journalists would rather all Australians seemed racist than risk being called racist themselves for giving the facts.
And on this circus rolled. Take the notorious bashing on the Werribee train last year of Sourabh Sharma, which led The Times of India to declare that a “tribe of extreme nationalists who champion an exclusivist, white Aussie identity seems to be increasing in Australia”.
Check the CCTV vision and you could see what the police and journalists would not say - that the attackers seemed to include youths who weren’t “white”, and at least one who looked very Indian.
Indians and Pakistanis here actually know this “white racism” bogey is a myth, of course.
Macquarie University student Mukul Khanna, called back home by his worried parents, told a local paper that a lot of his Pakistani friends had been bashed and robbed, but “interestingly, the attackers are mostly not locals and are themselves people of foreign origin”.
Most of the reported robberies on Indian taxi drivers in the inner west in one six-month period were likewise by African gangs - but which police chief would dare say such a thing?
Gosh, no; former chief commissioner Christine Nixon not only banned the term “gang”, but falsely claimed at the last federal election that the Howard government was wrong - Sudanese immigrants did not have a crime rate higher than the average. She still hasn’t apologised for deceiving you.
Facts! Who needs them? Indeed, who’s a racist boy for even pointing them out?
The joke is, of course, that this country is actually so short of real racists that it drives our manners police mad. In 2001, for instance, Equal Opportunity Commission Victoria’s then chairman moaned: “I am not aware of any conclusive evidence that suggests that discrimination is increasing.”
Solution? Instead of closing up shop, saying its job was done, the EOCV pushed the Labor Government to pass draconian new laws against racial “vilification” to help create more racists for it to go catch.
Our federal race commissioners have had the same problem, and lusted for the same solution.
One, Zita Antonias, admitted a decade ago that complaints of racism had fallen by more than a third, but insisted we couldn’t be that nice: “The figures are incongruent with anecdotal evidence.”
Tom Calma, who succeeded her and now claims that the attacks on Indians may well be racist, was just as peeved to find so little real proof of these legendary (white) Australian racists.
He blamed our stupid laws for having “made it difficult to prove there had been discrimination”, and demanded the Rudd Government fix this disgraceful lack of racists by changing the laws to reverse the burden of proof.
And since Indian papers say we’re all racist, bingo, we must be, too, unless someone can prove we’re not.
So whether Jaspreet Singh got toasted by racists or soon will be by judges hardly matters. We’re racist until proven innocent -but to prove we’re not we must say who’s behind much of this mayhem.
And to do that would be, er, racist. Caught each way.
So our police and politicians, glowing with self-righteousness, meekly argue instead that we’re not racist because - drum roll, please - the rest of us are just as likely to be bashed, robbed and raped as any Indian on our streets.
Oh, goody. I can’t tell you what a relief that news will be to anyone catching a late-night train to Sunshine.
In fact, the next time your teeth are kicked in, remember to praise the man with the boots for being admirably free of any racism. Such little things make all the difference.