by MESHEL LAURIE
I think I finally know what it feels like to fear for my way of life and to want those who threaten it sent far, far away.
I’ll never forget my first visit to Melbourne. The sights, sounds and smells of a truly great, multicultural city made me feel like I could travel the world in a day, and when I did travel the world some years later, I knew for certain that all the best bits had been hand delivered to Melbourne.
For almost 200 years people have made their way from all points around the globe to the sometimes climactically inhospitable city perched on Port Phillip Bay. From adventurers, enduring months at sea for a crack at Victoria’s Gold fields, to the scarred survivors of famine and fighting, Melbourne has embraced them all in what used to be known affectionately in this country as it’s “cultural melting pot”.
It’s officially the world’s most livable city, for the second year in a row, and any Melbournian can tell you why. It’s the lifestyle that makes up in warmth what it lacks in sunshine. It is even more than the some of its parts, and its parts are made up of the whole world.
As a sensible human being I understand that the individuals who rioted in Sydney last week do not represent Australian Muslims, any more than those marauding ferals in Cronulla represented me. In truth though, I’ve come to expect skirmishes in Sydney, in which for whatever reason, people seem to create quite a bit of friction as they rub up against each other. Maybe it’s because everyone in Sydney moves so fast!
Some images from last weekend’s riots:
Perhaps naively, I would not expect to see such a display in Melbourne and yet, as I type, the dreaded text messages are circulating. One, calling on “Australians” to “battle for our rights and our land” is aimed at assembling non Muslims to meet in the city and confront Muslims protesting that stupid movie.
However, a message circulating around Melbourne’s Muslim community implores them to “Please BOYCOTT the Melbourne protest on Sunday 23rd September because the Muslim community HAS NOT ORGANIZED IT”.
I never thought that Melbourne of all places could host a race riot and if it can, well, then I don’t think I know much about Australia at all anymore.
As an Australian who treasures my peaceful, multicultural community, and the lifestyle it affords me and my family, I implore anyone who is considering attending this or any event like it, to refrain. Refrain because you know damn well it’s stupid, because it’ll make you look like an embarrassing lunatic who everyone wishes would go and live on the moon, and because absolutely nothing good will ever come out of it.
If you know someone who is considering attending, please talk them out of it.
Meshel Laurie is a comedian and broadcaster. You can catch up with her on Nova’s Drive Show with Tim Blackwell and Marty Sheargold 4-6pm on weekdays.