31 May 2006

Ghassan Hage on racism

Ghassan Hage gave a public lecture on racism at Sydney Uni this evening. After explaining some basic, apparently almost completely structuralist (references, in chronological order, were to Lévi-Strauss, de Saussure, Foucault, Althusser, Lacan and Arendt), principles for anthropological work on racism, he produced a conclusion that was stunning in its simplicity: Muslims are being prepared through racism for extermination, as the Jews had been.

In questions another shockingly simple theme emerged: racism is endemic to human beings, and we are all racist. Marginalised communities may be more racist than the dominant one. We should concede this point so that we can take up the more important point, that the racism of the dominant culture can lead to extermination, whereas the racism of marginalised communities cannot.

The relativism, which of course is idealist, which says that the racist Cronulla revenge attacks are as bad as the racism of the Cronulla pogromists, because the underlying principle is the same, must simply be made to yield to the fact that Australia has the capacity, and possibly the will, to exterminate Muslims from the continent, and possibly, in collaboration with others, much of the world, and Muslims in Australia and elsewhere exist under this threat.

Six weeks later, here's an article from the British Sun calling for 13% of British Muslims to be "rounded up" and "cleaned off the streets".