A written response to Sydney’s race riots

Here at Dulwich Centre, we are all saddened and horrified at recent events that have taken place in Sydney.

The violence, racism, hatred, and hostility that we have witnessed has been profoundly disturbing

With the Australian flag and national anthem being used as symbols of exclusion and hatred, with the term ‘Aussies’ being used to mean ‘people of non-Arabic descent’, with alcohol and hatred fuelling violence, and with political leaders issuing statements that this has nothing to do with racism, the end of this year, for us, as Australians, is posing many questions:

  • How can we understand the histories of this country that have led up to this point? Racist violence is not a new phenomena in this land. How can we learn from our past, rather than ignore it?
  • Men’s violence, and young men’s violence, is also not new in our communities. How can we respond to and prevent violence by men and young men in our varied communities?
  • These events have been broadcast throughout Australia, and indeed throughout the world. We are witnesses to them and are now trying to think through how we will respond. Wherever we are in Australia, how can we reach across cultural differences at these times? What steps can we take to address the racist rhetoric and promote collaboration across differences?

As Mr Habib Chamas, the Chairperson of the Arab Council Australia, has recently described: ‘Solutions for the racial tensions lie in the combined effort and the goodwill of all people’.

Here at Dulwich Centre, we wish to express our sincere regret that the flames of racism are once again raging in this country.

We welcome hearing from anyone, from any community, with suggestions, ideas, or reflections on these recent events and possible ways forward. Please write to us.

To see the continuing Life-saving tips projects that we have developed in response to these questions, click here