Islamaphobia was one of the first topics I wrote about on this website and part of the reason I started writing.
I have never heard of Prue MacSween until now and I was happier that way. From best I can make out, she seems to be something of a one trick pony when it comes to getting headlines through statements designed for shock value. For this reason, I am not going to dwell on her disgusting behaviour overly because I don’t want to reward it with more attention than trolls like her deserve.
But that doesn’t mean I condone it, nor the casual indifference to her implied violent ideation against a woman who has already stated she feels threatened and hated in her own country. Contrast MacSween’s words to those of Eddie McGuire when he joked about wanting to drown Carolyn Wilson, and consider how unequivocally McGuire was condemned. Were MacSween’s any better? I would suggest not.
MacSween is just a symptom too, of a societal condition groomed by an unholy alliance of conservative politicians and morally bankrupt media sources that use fear and conflict to attract voters and consumers. Their hyperbolic and sustained ad hominem attacks on easy targets contribute to more extreme attacks in the form of threats, harassment and actual violence from their more simple-minded followers.
This level of malicious and cowardly bigotry in Australian society makes me really angry. Gutless personal attacks are common on prominent minority spokespeople who have the temerity to speak out on issues. Whether it be the harassment and denigration of Indigenous AFL player, Adam Goodes, threats of sexual violence towards feminist writers such as Clementine Ford, or the recent deportation posters targeting Muslims including Waleed Ali and Yasmin Abdel-Maggied; I find it difficult to understand how we have come to normalise such appalling behaviour.
Of course media commentators have a right to make comment on the words and actions of public figures, including criticising where they feel appropriate. I have never claimed minorities or progressives are immune to reproach. In fact I have publicly criticised the actions of a number of public figures. However when they indulge in sustained demonising that is then enthusiastically parroted by hateful bigots, they shame themselves.