A friend of mine, who is white (which shouldn’t matter but it does), just wrote me a beautiful message that helped me deal with the aftermath of the Christchurch attack. She confessed to me that she had been struggling with her emotions and understanding her privilege. She also let me know that she had donated to those affected and would be going to a Melbourne ‘meet your neighbours event.’ She explained that the aim of the event was ‘for people to share stories about coming to Australia and will hopefully create a safe place and a place for their voices to be heard and not co-opted.’
As an Australian of Muslim heritage, this meant the world to me today.
This to me is what real allyship looks like. People of all backgrounds coming out and showing that they support and embrace a culturally diverse society, and that those with Muslim backgrounds are a part of that.
I will admit that I have been alternately heartened and frustrated by the fixation with egg boy. Initially I was happy to see a symbol of resistance to racism resonate so strongly with the community.
Then started to feel weird when fb posts started appearing to donate money to egg boy or making egg boy their profile picture. As opposed to donating to a charity that supports victims of trauma or fighting racism, or recognising the heroes among the victims.
It started to feel as though the news cycle had shifted to a place where non-Muslims could feel more comfortable, and to an individual that the public found more relatable than the victims. More and more I started to worry that people would see symbolic gestures against Fraser Anning as the end of the story. That they would stop thinking about proactively taking steps to reverse the tribalism (read racism) that Australia has been slipping into. Not going beyond the ScoMo lip service, and not really listening.
Seeing One Nation get a seat in the NSW upper house in the wake of the attack has been disturbing to say the least, as has ScoMo’s refusal to say One Nation is racist. Apparently saying ‘Islam is a disease’ Australia needs to vaccinate is a legitimate political view…still.
With all of the surrounding noise, the importance of the kind of meaningful allyship undertaken by my friend as a manifestation of her conscience and decency, is enough to feel hopeful about tomorrow.