Monday, 22 February 2016

Me and My Big Kalashnikov

Before we delve in to the story I want to share, allow me this exposition in which I stereotype about the average Aussie's perceptions of the Middle East.
As things are, my appearance often triggers Aussies to ask me where I'm from. I used to be cheeky and reply with anything from Melbourne, Holland and Craplakistan, but nowadays I'm too tired to play around so I usually say what they really want to hear - Israel.
The catch is with my particular pronunciation of the letter R. To that average Aussie, it sounds as if life what I'm saying is actually "Islam".
The further catch is, many said Aussies are unaware of the non existence of a country called Islam.
Which brings me to this post's story, taking place at a parents/children forum.

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One of the children was playing with a PC and searched up images of assault rifles. As it happened, Google filled the screen up with images of AK-47s (aka Kalashnikovs). While that child's parent was still in shock, the child turned to me and started talking about the images.
I detest guns & ammo, but because I do not think being explicit about it would turn that child off guns I tried the more sophisticated approach and told him that I actually had one of these. An AK-47, that is. Yes, I really did: for two weeks of my Israeli army service I was carrying an AK-47, and in the best traditions of army boot camp I even slept with it.
I never got to discuss the negatives of the guns. That parent was shocked; my comment left her mouth open. She cut me off to start asking me where I'm from, which - as explained in the exposition above - did not help matters. She proceeded to ask if ASIO was keeping an eye on me, to which I explained that my army discharge paperwork was all submitted to Australian immigration authorities as part of my visa application.
It didn't help much. For all intents and purposes, I was a terrorist. And I was engaging her child.

For the purpose of discussion, let us ignore my big mouth or the wisdom of sharing my personal relationship with an assault rifle for a minute. In my defence I will simply state I was trained on several other weapons. None of which changes the fact that I am definitely not a terrorist and, now that I am not forced by the state to hold a gun, actually consider myself a pacifist.
My point is the state of fear, or rather terror, that the average Australian is at. Contrast that with the actual danger that Australians face from terrorism, and you'll have yourself a big mystery.
Thing is, it's not a mystery at all. There is the matter ignorance in the ways of remote parts of the world, yes, but there is also the fear that feeds into that. And when we have the government, particularly that of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, doing its best to make the most of this fear for its own self interest, then we should not be surprised with what we end up with.
It is not like the average Australian is an evil racist. It's just that between ignorance and abuse, they end up racists despite all the good intentions.
This is exactly how we find ourselves in a state where both major parties support the overseas processing and torture of asylum seekers while 70% of Australians are perfectly content with that. This is how we got to a state where the government excuses itself from accusations of a 5 year old asylum seeker being raped in the government's overseas detention facilities by stating it was actually a 7 year old.

1 comment:

wile.e.coyote said...

Which army exactly did you serve with this gun? The army I recall, didn't hold such refiles, only US made and home made were served.