Andrew Bolt, Australia’s most notorious racist and Islamophobe, like the Nazi Jew-baiter Julius Streicher before him, continues to relentlessly pursue his program of hate against Islamic and non-European immigrants to Australia.
His almost daily attacks (here’s today’s) against Islam at his on-line column at Rupert Murdoch’s Herald-Sun newspaper are designed to demonise the entire Islamic community. Bolt does this by cherry-picking the misdeeds of a very few and inferring that whatever offence has been committed by an Islamic person was done because they are Muslims and that they are representative of what the whole Islamic community are like. In other words, Bolt misrepresents the values of the Islamic community claiming that Western values are different and, therefore, are better than those of Muslims. It is exactly the same propaganda technique that Julius Streicher used in his Der Stürmer newspaper in Germany during the Nazi era to demonise the Jews of Germany and later throughout Europe.
Like Streicher, Bolt hopes that his relentless propaganda demonising Muslims and Islam will influence public opinion to the extent that the Australian people will eventually hate Islam and Muslims as much as he does and that the government will then deport those that are here or, at least, not allow any further Muslim immigration to Australia.
The problem is; it never just ends there. Streicher started his hate campaign against Jews in much the same way. At first he demanded that Jews should be expelled from Germany. Over time, as the Nazis and other extreme right-wing groups coalesced and became increasingly more influential politically, so the persecution against Jews went beyond mere words. Eventually, as the Nazis moved into power, so the persecution of Jews increased. They were shunned by their fellow Germans and then excluded from certain professions. As Hitler’s expansionist dreams became reality so the persecution of Jews was taken a step further and they were put in camps and then later deported, mostly to Poland. As Hitler marched further east into Russia so the final plans that became the ‘final solution to the Jewish problem’ were put into effect. The rest of the story is all too well known.
Yet there are some among us that never learn and others that seem to have forgotten about the horrors of the last century. In more recent history, as we have seen in Bosnia-Herzegovina where over 7000 Muslims were murdered simply because they were Muslims, history does repeat.
The Jews of Germany and Europe, whilst aware of the anti-Semitism that was pervasive, not just in Germany, but throughout Europe and the US during that period, never in their worst nightmares as the war approached imagined that Germany would actually attempt the wholesale slaughter of every one of Europe’s Jews. But in just a very short time it went from abusive harassment in Streicher’s Der Stürmer newspaper to what ended up being the deaths of millions. And one of the reasons so many did die was because they simply did not believe that such hatreds could lead to slaughter on such a massive scale.
We should not allow the abusive harassment against Muslims that we see in Bolt’s column of hate to continue. While Bolt continues to claim his rights to ‘freedom of speech’, his abuse of those rights to harass and demonise Muslims should be stopped in its tracks. His column of hate should be shut down. This meme about ‘freedom of speech being a cornerstone of democracy’ is simply being used by people like Bolt as an excuse to pedal their hatreds.
Freedom of speech is one thing; the abuse of it in order to pedal hatred is something else.