Ideals become casualties of war
is Australian writer Paul Sheehan`s title for this piece in the Sydney Morning Herald,
(he ties it to Hezbollah and the bomb plot in England) but I like my title better.
The story sounded familiar, and then I remembered where I`d heard it before.
And for more about the link between the Bekaa Valley and the Sydney suburbs, see here.
One of the edges of the global clash between Muslims and the rest is a bottle shop in a small and ratty shopping mall in western Sydney. The owner of the bottle shop is suffering low-level but steady harassment from his neighbours, who want him gone. He`s a Christian who has been told repeatedly: "This is a Muslim area," and he is selling alcohol, which is proscribed by Islam.The one-hour parking zone outside the bottle shop is always occupied because local Muslims leave their cars there all day. The owner has written to the local council to complain, and nothing has been done. He does not want to be identified because he fears retribution. His reaction is sensible.A friend of mine, Jenny D, used to live in Lakemba. She began receiving insults from people in the street, usually Muslim women wearing headscarves, and sometimes Muslim men. If she wore a short skirt, she could expect abuse or comment. She left Lakemba. Soon after, I moved to America, stayed away for 10 years, and thought nothing more of her story. But after I came back to Sydney I found Jenny`s experience had been part of a larger pattern.One particularly strong witness to this pattern was Judith, who managed an agency helping war widows, because she encountered "dozens" of cases where people were harassed by Muslim neighbours who wanted them gone. "It was common," she told me. "A lot of these ladies couldn`t take it and moved out. It happened in Campsie, Belmore, Lakemba, Bankstown, Punchbowl ..."It was everything ... throwing rubbish over the fence, screaming abuse, blocking the driveway, knocking fences down. One guy would throw coffee grains on the windows and bottles on the roof late at night ... I confronted some of them, and the men would call me a lot of names, mostly in Arabic."Our Western multiracial ideals have been assaulted yet again this week, via the plan by Islamic jihadists to commit mass murder by blowing up airliners flying out of Heathrow Airport. Even in failure, the plot is producing immense collateral damage in disruption, fear and suspicion.Ideals become casualties of war - Paul Sheehan, August 14, 2006