Like most of us, I was saddened and shocked when I saw the dramatic footage on the TV news, of the horrific deaths of four adults, at one of the Gold Coast’s iconic theme parks. This spilled into my living room recently.
As if that wasn’t enough, the next thing I see, is another ‘breaking news’ story about a young man, a bus driver.
As details emerged, it was alleged a 48-year-old man with “no apparent motive” killed this bus driver by setting him alight at a stop in suburban Brisbane, leaving morning commuters and onlookers horrified.
He had died, after being set alight by a passenger, in the Brisbane suburb of Moorooka.
Six people were on the council bus at the time of the attack on 29-year-old Manmeet Alisher.
Totally unprovoked and according to Queensland Police superintendent, Jim Keogh, ruled out a link to terrorism.
Words escape me!
Alisher was going about his business. He was a kind and gentle soul by all accounts. He was also a well known singer and entertainer in Brisbane’s Indian community. He was there for the young people. Those that had made the decision to move to this so-called ‘lucky country’.
Relative and friend, Aman Bhangu told Punjabi Radio he was an “outgoing, lively person who enjoyed his short yet meaningful life”.
He said, “He will surely be remembered for his beautiful smile and the work he did for social causes.” He was popular within the Punjabi community in Australia, as a singer.
It was also understood he had a passion for poetry and film.
I overheard a conversation whilst at the supermarket yesterday. I was absolutely disgusted! The tone of this conversation was nothing short of racist. Let’s just say, the verbal diarrhoea that spewed from the vile mouth of this middle-aged woman, talking to her friend, was more than enough to bear!
I asked her to show some respect.
I also suggested that if she was going to make such racist remarks in public, she should take off her ID tag!
That fell on deaf ears.
A couple of the staff in the supermarket, who had heard the whole conversation, came up to me, thanking me for speaking out.
As I reflected on this tragic incident, I could understand why India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi has called Malcolm Turnbull to express his concern, over the burning to death of Manmeet Alisher.
Once again, all eyes are on us, as this story is beamed around the world.
The question is… Was this a racist crime?
I can’t help thinking back to those words of Enoch Powell.
On Saturday, April 20, 1968, he made the controversial speech in Birmingham, in which he warned his audience of what he believed, would be the consequences of continued unchecked immigration, from the Commonwealth to Britain.
It was an allusion to Virgil, towards the end of the speech, which is remembered for its title ‘The Rivers of Blood Speech’.
“For these dangerous and divisive elements the legislation proposed in the Race Relations Bill is the very pabulum they need to flourish. Here is the means of showing that the immigrant communities can organise to consolidate their members, to agitate and campaign against their fellow citizens, and to overawe and dominate the rest with the legal weapons, which the ignorant and the ill informed have provided. As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood.”
Britain’s’ prime minister at the time, Edward Heath, sacked Powell from his shadow cabinet the day after the speech and he never held another senior political post. Powell received almost 120,000 (predominantly positive) letters and a Gallup poll at the end of April, showed that 74 per cent of those asked, agreed with his speech.
The Sunday Times declared it “an evil speech”, stating:
“This is the first time that a serious British politician has appealed to racial hatred, in this direct way in our post-war history.
The Times branded his speeches “racialist!”
Powell sued it for libel, but withdrew, when he was required to provide the letters he had quoted from.
You might ask, what has this to do with today? Simple, we just need to look at the current situation in London.
History has shown us that Enoch Powell was not wrong.
We may or may not agree with his speech, but what we can’t over look, is what has happened over the past 45-odd years.
If we think that we are safe, perhaps we need to think again.
The situation here is in many ways no different.
We are sitting on a smouldering fire and “flame is a fickle mistress”.
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