Saturday, September 17, 2011

Darebin's Towering Intellects -- Part II

WHILE there were many, many differences, the late Alene Composta was one of those poor unfortunates who benefited from quiet acts of Bunyip charity. When she ran low on iodised fish offal, a consignment would be sent over. When she invested her faith in Jonathan Holmes taking up on Media Watch the matter of the Drum’s cruel deletion of her scoop exposing sexist conservative moose-knucklers, a quiet and soothing email warned her to prepare for disappointment. When sons Leo and Sandy seemed disinclined to plan the sort of funeral she wanted, the Professor stepped in to lend an organising hand. None of the above should be taken as evidence of a quest for kudos, as the poor woman’s wake was a reward in itself, opening a network of new friends and fresh contacts. Although there are profound political disagreements, many of those who wept as Alene’s remains were hoisted in their Indigenous bark coffin atop a a low-carbon Apache funeral platform remain firm friends and regular correspondents.

One of those new chums is a retired academic, who writes regular with updates of her ongoing crusade to make the world a better and happier place, especially for lesbian and transgender Muslims. This morning there appeared in the letterbox a joyful missive – indeed, an ecstatic one – hailing the enlightened attitudes amongst Darebin councillors. Carol, for that is her name, attached a copy of her note to Cr Tim Laurence as well as the Darebin city father’s reply.

It is good to know that, while Alene has been taken from us, her spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of local politicians. As readers will recall, Darebin has decided that teaching young Muslim women the art of playing records at public gatherings is an invaluable skill, thus deserving of public support. Further, as an aide to integrating with the wider Australian community, they are to be given a special night where they can dance girl-on-girl, far from the predatory male gaze. As friend Carol explains, she endorses that agenda, but also calls on Cr Laurence, a Labor member, to make sure his council extends its concern to an even more oppressed minority.

Here is her note to Laurence:

Dear Councillor,
I write to praise your decision, now affirmed by VCAT, which has endorsed the concept of a separate-but-equal concert for Muslim women being an integral component of our multi-cultural society. I speak as both a convert to Islam and a lesbian feminist, who has endured many years of victimhood and oppression at the hands of tradition-bound western mores. I wrote and lectured extensively on the overt and subtle discriminations against women in general and Muslim women in particular during my academic career. Now retired, I continue the good fight for justice and inclusion, although these days at a somewhat slower pace!

Be assured that Darebin's principled decision will be glowingly referenced in remarks I deliver at public meetings and seminars I attend. As I said, your council's decision has advanced the cause of natural justice on several fronts, and such an achievement warrants much praise.

My only criticism is that your decision does not go far enough -- a situation I hope you will remedy now that the separate-but-equal concept of public building utilisation has been so roundly affirmed. I speak as a member of the Gay Lesbian Transgender Bisexual and Intersex Community, one who realises that a women-only concert still discriminates against those of us who have not, and cannot, embrace the dominant societal heterosexual paradigm. As a Muslim lesbian, it is not only men who have taken "offence" at my choices and lifestyle. In some Muslim women's reluctance to share dressingrooms and other facillities with alternately gendered and aligned Believers there is irrefutable evidence of the need for Darebin to advance the cause of equity one more step.

At the concert, I call on you to partition a section of the dance floor for the revels of the  Lesbian-Muslim community. This is a much larger demographic than you might expect. In Iran, where many Darebin residents originated, a policy of obligatory sex-change operations for male homosexuals has produced many thousands of transgendered women. By my estimate, based on field research, at least three dozen such individuals now call Darebin their home.

Are they once again to be excluded, relegated to second-class citizenship, by your council's decision to declare some minority sub-groups more equal than others? (if you wish to learn more about the Iranian policy of gender re-assignment, you could start with this report from the BBC )

All it would take is a simple curtain to divide the concert hall. There is nothing new or innovative about this technology, as it is in use at a number of municipal swimming pools, where Muslim women can polish their aquatic skills in privacy and with dignity.

I will be speaking this weekend to a gathering of women who share my concerns, and I would like to be able to reassure my audience that moves are afoot to redress this last vestige of intolerance. If you could inform me of your position and intentions on this matter, I will be able to deliver the good news that inherent humanity, as manifested in the content of a person's character, is no longer the sole yardstick for determining fair, equal and just treatment.

I look forward to your prompt response.


Carol Jasmina

And quick as a flash, reports a delighted Carol, Cr Laurence wrote back in agreement, also lambasting the vile Murdoch press for pointedly neglecting to notice that a ratepayer-funded, ethnic-girls-only dance night is far more laudable that parents paying with their own money to send their daughters “to elite Christian schools.”

Here is Cr Tim’s response to Carol:

Thanks for that. I think the point needs to be made that some gender specific events and programs increase participation. The youth music event is a case in point and girls only schools are another example.

However the media seem to be obsessed with the religious element. I never see them attack elite Christian  girls only schools but one music program with african and muslim girls is attacked.

The sad thing is our media continues to attack the most disadvantaged groups first.

The idea of supporting the battler or the underdog seems to have been forgotten by news limited media.

I know that the music program we are running promotes confidence in these local girls and I  will keep supporting it.

Cr tim Singh Laurence

If Laurence attended poor Alene’s funeral – and he would have fitted right in – it is a matter of great regret that the Professor never made his acquaintance.

By the way, Carol writes that she has now reached out to all Darebin councilors, and she promises to relay their responses as they arrive.

Meanwhile, Cr Tim should consider sending his complaint to the Gillard-Brown media inquiry. It is likely to be on a par with many other submissions to be considered.

UPDATE: While Darebin residents no doubrt rejoice to have Cr Tim looking out for their best interests, those who reside outside the municipality might like to know a little more about him. A vigilant and fierce sentry on multiculturalism's ramparts, he can spot racism, at least initially, where others see only a tragic mystery.

That talent was much in evidence back in March, when a three-year-old Indian lad went missing from his home. His body was later found in a paddock and, not long after, a family friend was charged with causing the boy's accidental death.

Before the full story came out, however, Cr Tim had his suspicions, as he told the ABC:

RACHEL CARBONELL: From the people that you've spoken to what's been the reaction?

Well, shock and dismay. And I think, you know, the news only came out mid afternoon. The body was found and then it was confirmed within a few hours after and we started to get calls about that. So it's, it's fairly early days but we all know each other and so you know this is something that is going to affect the entire community.

I'm very, I've visited over 100 victims of racial assault in the last year. While people have been happy to debate definitions and statistics they've forgotten there's actually a very live community, a very connected community and there's been a lot of hurt and dismay about how these events have been handled.

RACHEL CARBONELL: It sounds as if you're seeing this very much as racial violence.

TIM SINGH LAWRENCE: We need to let the police do the investigations. There's only been a small amount of information at the moment. But I think the media and the Government and the politicians need to realise that the Jabi community in the northern suburbs is exposed to a lot of racial abuse and violence because they've worked in the cab industry for 15 years.

Some of them have worked for 22 years. So it's going to be read in a certain way by that community because of the excessive amount of exposure they've had to a pretty unsavoury part of Melbourne.


  1. The cheeky bonus here is that Cr Tim not only fails to see the joke, but that he fails anyway to answer the question. Carol should be rightly p***ed of by his evasive response.

  2. You were very kind to Alene. Did you ever get to visit with her ? I suspect her social phobias worked against this happening. Did you have to leave the fish offal on the doorstep in an anonymous fashion ?

  3. Leftards can't recognise leftardation. It is part of the condition.

    A true leftard's correspondence is littered with spelling and grammatical errors - a well-written missive should alert anyone with more than half a degree of nous that they are being taken for a ride.

  4. This is revealing. When it comes to the Left, flattery appears to be their soft spot.

  5. When arguing with a lefty, always argue like a lefty. Lefties argue like they do because they think it is devastating to their opponents. Copying their tactics and they are not only devastated, but totally perplexed and outraged.
    Try it some time - the hissy fits are spectacular.

  6. This is what comes when councillors are paid rate layers money, it attracts the left, Money always attracts the self-appointed protectors of the oppressed! For example the comrades of the H S U . Bring back unpaid councillors!

  7. "Cr tim Singh Laurence" - now that's a name to conjure with. In an indirect way, manages to insinuate that there might be a racial motive for the death of the boy. Others have been less reticent. A little while back, a Sydney Chinese newsagent and most of his family were brutally murdered in their home. Quick off the mark, an unrelated Chinese person alleged the motive was racial. Eventually, another member of the family was charged.