Jim Saleam, the head of the ultra-right Australia First party, is positively gleeful at weekend violence that saw a mob of drunken white youths pick on ethnic Arabs and try and drive them out of a swish Sydney beachside suburb.
"This civil uprising, which may well continue for some time, has actually gone a long way to bury the concept of multiculturalism," Saleam said.
He blames the replacement of a whites-only immigration policy 30 years ago with the color-blind one that rules today for racial tension that bubbled to a head on Cronulla beach on Sunday and sparked reprisal attacks 24 hours later.
But for most people it's not the concept of multiculturalism that is being questioned but its application.
"The violence of last weekend was not evidence of the breakdown of multiculturalism but, rather, its absence," said Gerard Henderson, the head of an independent think tank called the Sydney Institute.
Multiculturalism is the doctrine that immigrants can keep their languages, customs and religions so long as they obey the law and identify as Australians. It's a policy embraced by all political parties.
In the view of some, the shock troops of multiculturalism were none other than the Lebanese-origin youths who were booted out of Cronulla on Sunday and returned there the following night to reclaim their birthright to walk any beach in Australia.
Cronulla is an aberration in modern day Australia, where a quarter of the 20 million population were born elsewhere. In the suburb, more than nine out of 10 of its residents are from Anglo-Saxon stock.
In nearby Lakemba, a suburb that Saleam and his fellow-thinkers describe as a Muslim ghetto, is in fact a place where three-quarters of the residents are not Muslims and a quarter speak English at home.
Few share Saleam's opinion that Australia will go the way of France and that rioting will rumble on through a long hot summer month. The prediction is that tit-for-tat attacks will go on, arrests will be made and an uneasy truce will settle on a turf war between suburbs that are only a half-hour drive apart.
Cronulla, anyway, is up for change: Other eastern beach suburbs have been taken over by rich professionals and the "locals" have been pushed out by price rises.
The shocking scenes at Cronulla have shaken an Australia that has prided itself on settling 6 million settlers from 150 countries since large-scale immigration began in 1947.
It has sparked flashbacks to 1996 when right-wing rabblerouser Pauline Hanson swept into the federal parliament on a stop-Asian-immigration platform. Hanson, who went on to win 11 percent of the vote in a Queensland state election, has since left politics. Significantly, the last election Hanson fought was as a resident of Southerland Shire, the municipality that contains Cronulla.
The images of beer-brave youths that flashed around the world were incontrovertibly of racist thugs. Attesting to that were T-shirts emblazoned with slogans like "Ethnic Cleansing Unit" and "Fuck off Lebs."
"That was the ugliest manifestation of racism we have seen so far in this country," said Keysar Trad, head of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia.
"Nobody wants to see this violence in Australia. Nobody from the Middle East, nobody from the Anglo community. It's something that's most unfortunate and should never have happened," he said.
But happen it did, prompting a flood of recriminations and a sea of opinions on why it happened.
There is fault on both sides. Alcohol helped fuel white hatred of dark-skinned people that was expressed in mindful violence. The retaliation from ethnic Arabs was cold and calculated and in direct defiance of Trad and other community leaders.
Macquarie University demographer Jim Forrest has pointed out an aberration in Australia's immigration patterns that goes some way to explain some deeply entrenched anti-social behavior among youths of Lebanese descent.
Unemployment in these enclaves is twice the national average, crime rates are high and social commentators have made much of a generation that seems beyond the control of its parents.
Nadia Jamal, who grew up in the area and is the author of The Glory Garage: Growing up Lebanese Moslem in Australia, asks why "some men of Australian Lebanese Muslim background seem to be so aggressive and violent" and why they are mired in low-paying jobs.
"For their part," Jamal said, "Muslims need to ask themselves why so many young Muslim men, and not Muslim women, have problems."
In November last year, a man struck a woman with a steel bar and killed her outside a hospital in China’s Fujian Province. Later, he justified his actions to the police by saying that he attacked her because she was small and alone, and he was venting his anger after a dispute with a colleague. To the casual observer, it could be seen as another case of an angry man gone mad for a moment, but on closer inspection, it reflects the sad side of a society long brutalized by violent political struggles triggered by crude Leninism and Maoism. Starting
The year 2020 will go down in history. Certainly, if for nothing else, it will be remembered as the year of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuing impact it has had on the world. All nations have had to deal with it; none escaped. As a virus, COVID-19 has known no bounds. It has no agenda or ideology; it champions no cause. There is no way to bully it, gaslight it or bargain with it. Impervious to any hype, posturing, propaganda or commands, it ignores such and simply attacks. All nations, big or small, are on a level playing field
In terms of the economic outlook for the semiconductor industry, Taiwan has outperformed the rest of the world for three consecutive years. This is quite rare. In addition, Taiwan has been playing an important role in the US-China technology dispute, and both want Taiwan on their side, reflecting the remaking of the nation’s semiconductor industry. Under the leadership of — above all — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), the industry as a whole has shifted from a focus on capacity to a focus on quality, as companies now have to be able to provide integration of hardware and software, as well as
The US last week took action to remove most of the diplomatic red tape around US-Taiwan relations. While there have been adjustments in State Department “Guidelines on Relations with Taiwan” and other guidance before, no administration has ever so thoroughly dispensed with them. It is a step in the right direction. Of course, when there is a policy of formally recognizing one government (the People’s Republic of China or PRC) and not another (the Republic of China or ROC), officials from the top of government down need a systematic way of operationalizing the distinction. They cannot just make it up as