John Safran writes for News Limited…
“The woman, blonde and white, mounts the back of the ute outside Parliament House. She is the first to address the Reclaim Australia rally. Its aim is to ‘fight back’ against Islam and multiculturalism.
“First I’d like to pay respect to the Wurundjeri people, the traditional owners of the land here,” she says.
Strange way to start your anti-multicultural rally, I think to myself. I pull out my smartphone and report this to my Facebook followers (more about that later).
A few hundred have turned up to support Reclaim Australia. They are protected by a double-line of police, holding back the thousands of pro-multicultural protesters.
“Stand With Muslims Against Racism” reads one of their huge banners.
Back here, on the anti-multicultural side, Danny Nalliah, a Sri Lankan immigrant from the Christian Catch the Fire Ministry, climbs on the ute. He begins a chant: Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi! He warns of Sharia Law creeping into Australia. He says Muslims are coming here and not assimilating. What a tangle! If the Aussie way of life is leaving your grievances behind when you immigrate, maybe he’s the one not assimilating.
Jonathan Eli, of Cook Island heritage, born in New Zealand, springs onto the ute and starts belting out Amazing Grace, like he’s auditioning for the Voice. Many in the smiling crowd sing along.
About half of these Reclaim Australia people are from Catch the Fire Ministry, or their political branch, Rise Up Australia. Out of these maybe a quarter are non-white — Asians, Indians and Africans.
I upload a collage of this very multicultural anti-multicultural rally to my Facebook. Immediately progressives start psychoanalysing. These are brown people who are victims of racist Australia! They want to be accepted by the dominant white supremacy culture and so debase themselves this way.
In my experience, Australian intellectuals — you know, the folks who tell you what’s going on, on Q & A and The Drum — just don’t get religion. How scripture and faith is a way of life. Essentially these non-white people are here because the scriptures tell them Jesus Christ is the last prophet. The message of the Koran is an affront to them, as viscerally offensive as a cartoon of Mohammed is to a Muslim.
Finally, a white man climbs onto the ute to speak. He even has an Akubra. This is the retrograde white Aussie the other side was expecting to see at the Reclaim Australia rally. He grabs the microphone and starts talking about how much he loves his Thai wife.
Catch The Fire Ministry/Rise Up Australia is not the only gang here supporting Reclaim Australia. I walk away from the ute, deeper into the crowd where big red flags cast shadows. This is the territory of the far-right United Patriots Front. Here are white Australians who look like bikies.
“Turn on the gas!” a leather-clad man shouts at Jewish John Safran.
“Is that a joke?” I ask.
“No, no,” he mumbles, immediately backing down. I’ve met Holocaust deniers before but this is the first Holocaust joke denier I’ve come across.
An emo-Nazi, lanky, dressed in black, with a Korean boy band haircut, just stares and stares at me.
“You Jewish parasite,“ he hisses. “Write a book about me and see what happens!”
He explains that I’ve only had a book published because of the Jewish puppet masters that control everything. This is a uniquely Jewish experience I’ve found. Innocuous things, even positive things, are twisted so a Jew is meant to apologise for writing a book or being a doctor.
“F*** off, you’re not wanted here!” he snaps, motioning I belong to the lefties on the other side of the police line. He tells me he’ll come after me if I write anything funny about him. Think I’ll still leave the Korean boy band haircut in.
Blair Cottrell, a United Patriots Front leader, tries to settle down the angry man. He doesn’t want his group seen as Neo-Nazis. Earlier, a corpulent man with a swastika tattooed on his head was chased off.
Blair climbs on the ute and gives a rousing speech, punching his Popeye arms into the air. He’s fed up with Islam too.
Afterwards, like my friends in the theatre, he gingerly hangs around, fishing for positive feedback to his performance.
Danny Nallah’s back on the ute. He starts screaming about his love of his brothers in the United Patriot Front. Still, I don’t think this is the mask slipping off a racist self-hating brown man. I think Danny is leveraging secular white Australia’s xenophobia to serve his Christian agenda.
I pull my phone from my pocket. I’m surprised to see my sarcastic Facebook posts have ‘gone viral’. A small group of young lefties — two non-white Muslims and two Asian Australians — are furious. I am a white man taking up space in this discussion that belongs to people of colour.
I know that for online millennials history only goes as far back as last week’s Buzzfeed listicle, but still. Strange they can’t understand why a Jew is curious about a far-right rally in his hometown. Hey, Buzzfeed, maybe you can help educate the kids on this matter. I even have the headline: Schindler’s Listicle.”