Protect multiculturalism as the “apple of our eye”

24 April, 2024

Recent events in the past weeks could give credence to the “enemies” of the multicultural model of wider Australian society to launch “attacks” against it, ignoring the fact that, for many decades now, the different ethnic groups comprising our social fabric have peacefully coexisted and serve as an example to be emulated on a global scale. Such an approach would be highly dangerous and divisive.

A few days ago, the chancellor of the University of Melbourne urged, in an email, the institution’s professors to be cautious about when and how they express themselves regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict, as “supporters of Palestinians intimidate students by barging into classrooms” of the said university, demanding that those who agree with them raise their hands and then photographing them.

The stabbing of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel on Monday, April 15, and the lynching of police officers by the enraged crowd, demanding punishment for the 16-year-old perpetrator, for many, highlight the alleged vulnerabilities of our multiculturalism.

Similar sentiments were evoked by the recent incident at the Woodgrove shopping center in Melton, where a group of young immigrants engaged in mutual stabbing.

Meanwhile, several residents have expressed outrage at teenage immigrant crime in their suburbs and are now patrolling their streets with the assistance of privately hired security guards.

However, it is utopian to believe that when there are serious developments abroad, especially when ongoing war situations are involved, Australians originating from these affected regions will all remain “idle.” It is also ridiculous to think that even if there were no Palestinians or Jews, for example, in Australia, there wouldn’t be those who vehemently react in favour of one side or the other. Just remember the reactions during the Vietnam War. Were all protesters Vietnamese?

It is normal to have opinions on matters of global interest. The normal response would not be to turn against multiculturalism when reactions to international events arise, but to tighten the framework within which these are expressed, in order to protect the peaceful coexistence of all Australians, that is, to protect the multicultural character of our society.

In conclusion, the social groups comprising Australian society, whether ethnic, political, or of any other identity, have every right to express their grievances on any issue that concerns them, as long as they operate within legal, democratic, and morally acceptable frameworks. If some members of a group break the law, they should simply face the consequences. However, these consequences should never be borne by the group itself or what it stands for.

Nevertheless, supporters of multiculturalism must also distinguish their defence of it from the defence of extreme nationalist elements that undermine its very existence, and fortunately, this is exactly what they have always done.


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