Australians across the nation were shocked of reports of riotous violence by gangs of urban youths in the centre of our two biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne at the weekend.
From the Murdoch press:
SOUTH central Melbourne became more like South Central Los Angeles on Saturday as rioters swept through the CBD terrifying locals and tourists alike.
Havoc descended on Federation Square with metal chairs from the city’s famous Brunetti's cafe used as weapons on nearby Swanston St, as gang members fought with both the police and among themselves.
But these weren’t members of Melbourne’s notorious crime families, as depicted in Underbelly, or even bikie gangs asserting their dominance. But rather young people, some no more than 12 years of age, from hitherto little known gangs living out their dreams of a “Fast and the Furious” lifestyle.
Police say the primary gang had been under surveillance for months, accused of breaking into homes, stealing cars and even the tragic death of a mum-of two late last year.
While a Salvation Army officer with knowledge of the gangs told news.com.au the culprits “don’t care” about the concerns their actions cause, and that a fear of being a labelled racist meant little effort was being done to tackle the gangs whose members predominantly hail from eastern Africa but also the Middle East and the South Pacific.
In Sydney, a bloodthirsty brawl erupted outside popular CBD concert venue the Metro Theatre at about 3am this morning, spilling over into surrounding streets in a clash that took police from three different stations an hour to disperse.
The brawl started when an argument erupted between two men as they left the venue at about 2am, but ended up involving dozens of people in violence that spilt out onto surrounding streets.
The Daily Telegraph reports that two women were seen shoving each other and screaming “f *** the police, f*** them dogs” as they were being subdued.
It appears Australia has failed to instill in its younger generations the values that made it a safe and prosperous nation - one of tolerance, freedom and respect for all. The finger has been pointed at the widespread adoption of electronic devices, social media that leads to cyber-bullying, as well as an attitude of self-entitlement.
How did our youth become this way? Could anyone imagine such a scene just twenty or thirty years ago? Experts have also identified a failure on the part of police and community organisations to give the youth of today a meaningful sense of belonging. This lack of civic engagement has forced them to seek other means of achieving their self-actualisation.
What's clear from all of this is that more funding is needed to fix this problem, to bring the youth of Australia back into the fold, to allow them to reach their full potential as the future of Australian society.
Building more Mosques and subsidising Youth leaders from diverse Australian backgrounds is an essential component of this, as well as breaking down the ugly remnants of intolerance and racism that lies at the very foundation of our history. It is well known that Australian Islamic communities command tremendous respect from the female community and LGBTI* minorities, and once the Imams are given the chance to preach and counsel more young Australians about true Islam then finally this matter can be put to rest.
Other mainstream Australians, such as the Pacific Islander community have also been the victims of social exclusion and deprivation of community funding, giving these Australian youth little other option but to vent their frustration at the system that is holding them back.
Families come here from the most extraordinary situations of torture and trauma and then are thrown into a country without adequate support to get on with life.
"They're sort of chucked in head first to sink or swim and unfortunately what we are seeing is them sinking."
Teachers at Dandenong North primary school have been talking to students about the dangers of joining gangs.
How many doctors, scientists and astronauts are lost and hiding in ranks of these troubled youths? The problem we're facing here as a nation is not just the kerfuffle that we saw, but the enormous human potentiality pent-up in African-Australian and Islander-Australian ghettoes. Our Ideas and Innovation boom is crying out for their talent, and here we are, blaming the disenfranchised for their own disenfranchisement.
Despite some efforts to maintain our stellar track-record as the world's premier multicultural success story, it is simply not enough.
A government spokesman said the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship had spent $201,000 on African community initiatives this financial year, and an extra $1.1 million teaching refugees their rights and responsibilities.
"The Government partners with agencies to work with community leaders and representatives from Victoria's culturally diverse communities to ensure new migrants have the support they need to make Victoria home," he said.
A new round of community grants will open on Tuesday.
Once again, community participation and inclusion is everyone's responsibility, Australia, still mired in its troublesome past has failed its own young people. We're going to need to do a lot more work to bridge the gaps to face the challenges of the 21st century.
(Header image taken from Australians serving in the Sudanese Civil War)