The past two days I heard two speakers commenting on how Australia has become less tolerant since the new millennium. The first speaker was an elderly retired doctor who reproached the Australian people for not welcoming asylum seekers who arrive by boat. The next part of his talk was about the overcrowding in Australia. Hmm…
The second speaker was novelist Christos Tsialkas who said that he does not like living in Australia any longer because we have become intolerant and remote from world affairs. He is now living temporarily in Scotland which he prefers to England, by the way. He will return to Australia when his writer-in-residence time is up, but he is not looking forward to it.
He says that we have changed since the 1990’s.
I agree with both speakers. We are more wary. We are more insular.
What the two speakers forgot to mention is why this is so. They forgot to mention September 11, the Twin Towers being attacked by Muslim terrorists. They forgot to mention that 3000 people were murdered in a most vicious attack by a group of Muslim fanatics who despise America and all it stands for.
They forgot to mention the subsequent attacks in Madrid. They forgot to mention the attack on the London underground. They forgot to mention the Bali bombings and so on and so on.
These terrorist attacks by Muslim fanatics tipped the world on its axis. They changed the way we regard Muslims. Who are these terrorists who want to destroy the West?
While it would be wrong to blame all Muslims for what happened and what is still happening almost daily in some part of the world, it is only natural that we in Australia as in the rest of the Western world should become wary of all Muslims.
After all, we don’t know who is being trained right now to carry out another attack.
So it is inevitable that we become suspicious of strangers who want to change our way of life or who may even want to commit an act of terrorism. It has happened to Australians in Bali and we would be stupid to believe that the threat is gone, especially when we are informed by the terrorists, as has been broadcast today from Pakistan that the U.S and Europe will be attacked again very soon.
So if Christos Tsialkas and the retired doctor want to know what happened to make us suspicious and less tolerant, they should remember 9/11 when we woke up to the horrifying shock that there are people out there who want to hurt us just because we aren’t like them.