The Wizards of Oz

So much has been said, written, quoted, and commented regarding the heinous crimes against Indians in Australia. You might think this is another rant from a fellow Indian citizen over dosed on news. I am writing this cause I find it obnoxiously alarming that Indians in Australia are being targeted. The Higher Commissioner of Australia has quoted in a press conference that in 2009 the number of attacks on Indians was 105 compared to 17 attacks the year before. 617% increase in attacks on Indians living in Australian. It matters to me even when I am coming from a country that is plagued with problems and trying to deal with it.

Last week the External Affairs Ministry (EAM) issued a travel advisory for those in Australia. The travel advisory should have been issued early considering the alarming rate of assault and violence on Indians. The travel advisory helped the world to see the best of the Australian government. I hope someone from SNL or Jon Stewart was watching the reactions/quotes/remarks from the top order of the Australian government cause it would translate into a laughing riot script.

My favorite character from Australian politics is the acting Foreign Minister Simon Crean. Just love this guy cause he says,

“Over the Christmas period there has been a spate of stabbings. This, unfortunately, is a violent threat and a violent tendency that has emerged. It so happens that one of the victims is Indian. There have been other victims. Melbourne is not the only city in the world in which this happens. It also happens in Delhi, it happens in Mumbai, and it is the responsibility of all law enforcement authorities to get on top of those issues.”

Hey Simon Crean, next time you must plug in the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, the genocide in Rwanda, the pirates in Somalia and the separatist elements in Yemen. He also gives the word ‘emerged’ a new dimensional outlook.

Everyday is a new turn and twist to Indians being attacked Down Under. Below listed are few –

Make up your mind

The abundance of bilateral talks is confusing the Oz government. The Oz government hasn’t reached a conclusion to love, hate or share a love hate relationship with India. A congruent Australian government opinion would help. Simon Crean decides to shower some of his trademark quotes (as above) to the Indian government, the next day the Australian High Commissioner says that India’s actions are

“measured and totally understandable”

and then says

“Indian media is a wonderful and varied beast.”

Media Outbursts

The Indian media has received heavy criticism for covering the deaths/attacks/assaults/brawls on Indians in Australia from the Australian government, media and certain sections of the Indian society. If a 617% increase in the attacks of Indians on Australian soil does constitute as a part of prime time news then what does? Indian media has become the scapegoat for the Oz government and media.

“Indians are safer in this country than they are in their own country. If you have a look at the data, they are safer here than they are in India. They’re the facts, what we’re seeing is really a hysterical and uninformed outcry from some portions of the Indian media, and I expect we’re just going to have to live with that,” said Victoria’s Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland


Mr.Overland, one effective, action oriented statement and a logical explanation from your government without the word opportunistic would stop the

‘hysterical and uniformed outcry’

Blaming the Indian media is quite ambiguous. I think the coverage from the Indian press as a whole does translate to balanced reporting. Indian voices from Australia and those of Australian citizens has been taken into consideration and beamed live during panel discussions and reports. A good way to shut and prove the entire Indian media wrong would be some action oriented results or evidence proving that these attacks are not of racial motive.
Mr.Overland should at least read what the press in his own country is saying regarding Racism.

The Oz media hasn’t adhered to best practices in journalism. Adopting a counter attack mode, the Oz media has dug previous statistics of crime in the sub continent to showcase safe Australia. Majority of the times, the statistics is a combination of dowry deaths, homicide, riots. Below is an excerpt from ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’,

“In 2007, according to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, 32,318 people were murdered in India. Another 3644 were victims of ”culpable homicide ,’’ roughly equating to manslaughter. In a category of its own, 8093 brides or their relatives were killed in ”dowry deaths” – murdered by greedy grooms and in-laws angry over the amount of dowry paid by the bride’s family. And there were a further 27,401 attempted murders. By contrast, in 2007, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports, 255 people were murdered in Australia. Another 28 were victims of manslaughter, and 246 survived attempted murders. No dowry deaths were recorded.”

Definitely makes a good campaign for safe Australia. There are problems that plague India and we as a country are dealing with it. This does not mean we cannot voice our opinion or demand to know what happens to fellow Indians on Australian soil.
One man who makes perfect sense in Australia is Greg Sheridan, the foreign editor of ‘The Australian’ newspaper who says,

“There is nothing more lame than an Australian defence that points out that racism and policing problems exist in India too.”

Finger pointing can only strain bilateral ties and not generate solutions or provide security. The Australian government needs to understand the power of the television medium before lashing out insensitive quotes and comments before lamenting the country’s public image has taken a hard hit. For starters, Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard should limit her words of wisdom.

Student Community in Oz

The Indian student community has been the target for heinous crimes. Most people blame the students for taking the subway late at night or for living in dodgy neighborhoods. Student communities anywhere in the world have access to a limited amount of income. Students will live in areas where rent is cheap; this is a fact of life be it in Mumbai, Philadelphia or Singapore. They have to work night jobs for the money and will have to travel at night. What should the students do? Should they move into security gated Australian neighbor hoods to escape assault. Do they stop taking up part time jobs in the night time? Only if the Australian media listens to their own public’s opinion and voices. Here, you can read how better policing can quell racist attacks from the newspaper ‘The Australian’.

If it’s not Racial Profiling, What is it?

The Australian government has accepted that there has been an increase on the attacks of Indians. A majority, including me think that this is a result of racial profiling and outburst. The Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi agrees that the attacks on Indian students in Australia were

”racial outbursts.”

(quote taken from
The Australian government overlooks any word that begins with the letter R. So if it’s not racial profiling, then what is it? Give us a legitimate explanation as to why Indians are dying/assaulted/stabbed on Oz soil. The Oz government cannot dismiss all the crimes against Indians as urban opportunists at work, drunken brawls, a walk in the park and dark alleys. Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of ‘The Australian’ newspaper says,

“the government clings to the idiotic defence that most of the crimes are opportunistic as if it is impossible to be opportunistic and racist. In making these assertions they must be the only people who believe them.”

A change in attitude and the power to acknowledge has to come from the Australian government to ensure such dastardly acts of pre- mediated violence does not occur.

You must see read this. An interview of the Australian High Commissioner with Karan Thapar.

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