Hard News by Russell Brown


There's a funny bit at the end ...

There's a Sydney Morning Herald story today about the discovery of a gang video called lebo thugs on YouTube. Its most offensive element is a still frame of gang rapist Bilal Skaf. The story appears in two versions: one which leads with John Howard slamming it as "sickening" and a reminder "that there is undoubtedly within a section, a small section, of the Lebanese Muslim community a group of people who are antagonistic to the values and the way of life in this country," and an update in which a student confirms it features several former pupils of a Sydney high school.

The student describes the video as "stupid" and an embarrassment, but also says he is surprised at the stir, given that: "I went to 'Cronulla riots' on YouTube and there's all these videos of Anglos saying 'We are proud of what we did'. So there's already other race hate videos out there. Why are they only targeting one [community]?"

I checked: he's right. First result, a clip called Cronulla Oi, backed by an overtly racist track from the Oi band Skrewdriver, which mentions "race war" and "mass graves" and urges listeners to "stand up for your race and your nation too."

Meanwhile, the lebo thugs video - contrary to the paper's reports - is still available on YouTube and is equally disturbing. It's an extended gang branding exercise (with a lousy gangsta rap soundtrack) that features the picture of Skaf and also video of a disgraceful mob beating of an innocent backpacker in Sydney.

The key difference between the white thug propaganda and the non-white seems to be the Lebanese gangs' growing eagerness to own the very same vicious crimes that the white racists tout as cause for race war. (Meanwhile, there was vicious gang rape committed last year by young white Australians in Darling Harbour; the case was abandoned in strange circumstances after the complainant suddenly refused to give evidence.)

Read the comments under those video clips and it's hard not to wonder where Australia has got itself. As this blogger concludes, "Fact of the matter is, I think my Macedonian mate was right. Give it time and Sydneyites will be throwing Molotov cocktails at Melbournites."

Meanwhile, DPF revises his original take on the Sydney BDO and flags and proposes that the organizers should hand out Australian flags to everyone at the gate. I suspect there are thousands of music fans who'd just like their music festival back, thanks very much.

Anyway, if all the talk of race war and thuggery doesn't kill your Big Day Out buzz, the Sydney police have promised to do their best. They'll not only have riot squads, uniformed and plainclothes officers at the site, but will station drug dogs at the main railway station and the site entrance. A study last year suggested the drug dog strategy was both ineffective and dangerous (because it panics festival-goers into necking all their drugs at once). There is a danger of all this not being any fun any more.

After, all that, some bigotry you can laugh at. Someone posted this musical clip, recorded by a "recovering homosexual" under the sway of some church, in the comments of an American blog I was reading this week. It occasioned lots of humourless tut-tutting. Oh really. Frankly, this isn't just one of the funniest things I've seen lately, it's quite the gayest. "Fill me with your love," indeed, big boy …

NB: YouTube has taken down the clip for breaching policy, but it's available here too ...

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