Friday, April 15, 2016
Australia: Actor and Aboriginal elder Uncle Jack Charles refused taxi in Melbourne, again
I wouldn't pick him up either. And I speak as a former taxi driver. He looks like a hobo. His race has got nothing to do with it. He needs to smarten up if he wants to be treated with respect. Most people present themselves fairly well before they hop into a taxi. It's just ignorant to do otherwise
Aboriginal elder and renowned actor Jack Charles has again been refused a cab in Melbourne because of what he calls systemic racial discrimination against Indigenous Australians by taxi drivers.
The 72-year-old was with two artists visiting from Turkey when they tried to catch a taxi from outside Flinders Street Station about 3pm on Wednesday.
"Uncle Jack" said a taxi pulled up and the party started to get inside when the driver told them he would not accept the fare. "My mate Ibrahim jumped in the front and started to explain where we were going and I started to jump in the back," Charles said.
"The driver said that he'd knocked off once he saw me. So I believe it was me, [that's] why he refused to pick us up. "Drivers that have knocked off don't actually pull in to pick up a fare."
Artist Ibrahim Koç, who is working on an art project about similarities between Aboriginal Australians and Turkey's Yörük people, was with Charles at the time and said it was an "ugly" event.
"The taxi driver saw Jack and he doesn't want to take us. Why? I don't understand."
Charles has forged a prolific acting career over more than 50 years, co-founded Australia's first Indigenous theatre group and starring in films including The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith, Blackfellas and Pan. He has also performed in many stage plays across the country and toured internationally.
But despite his stellar career, being refused a taxi has become a regular occurrence for the veteran actor.
Charles was told he couldn't catch a taxi unless he paid the fare upfront moments after being named Victorian Senior Australian of the Year in Melbourne in October last year. On that occasion, another taxi driver told him drivers were allowed to request pre-payment from Aboriginals.
Just two days later, a taxi allocated to collect him at Melbourne Airport sped off without him.
Charles said on Wednesday that regularity did nothing to lessen the pain caused by such acts of discrimination. "I won't sleep tonight, I'll be writhing in pure agony of the mind… this really impacts on me, totally," he said.
Charles said many taxi drivers came from overseas and industry education was needed to stamp out discrimination. "These incidents are repeated over and over again," he said. "It's illegal, it's racist, it's racial profiling and it shouldn't be done, so we need to educated this mob."
Charles said he approached the taxi industry after last year's incidents to arrange a round-table discussion about discrimination against Aboriginal passengers, but it had not eventuated.
He intends to sue the driver who refused to pick him up on Wednesday and his driving company for racial discrimination.
The Taxi Services Commission said it would investigate the incident "pending further information being provided about the taxi involved".
"Racial discrimination is totally unacceptable," a commission spokesman said.
Germany and a sinister bid to hide the truth about migrant sex attacks: Politicians pressurise police into removing word 'rape' from mass sex attack report
The medieval city of Magdeburg in the east of Germany is a quaint place where pensioners feed birds in their gardens and students pedal to the university on trendy sit-up-and-beg bicycles.
Yet its residents are scarred by the memories of a dreadful event in November, when a 19-year-old female university student was ambushed at 4am and dragged into the bushes where she was gang-raped.
What particularly disturbed the locals was that three Afghani men from a block being used to house migrants were later arrested and questioned, though it is unclear what has happened to them since.
It was the fourth sexual attack in the city, including the rape of a 24-year-old woman in Magdeburg’s cemetery, which implicated migrants in just a few months.
The student’s rape was fresh in the mind in this capital city of the Saxony-Anhalt region when news began to leak out of Cologne after New Year’s Eve that as many as 1,000 women were saying they had been groped or raped by men of north African and Arabic backgrounds.
Extraordinarily, it emerged yesterday that a high-ranking politician, who said he was acting on behalf of the German state, pressured the police to remove the word ‘rape’ from their report on the night’s mass sex attacks in order to hide the truth from the public.
The police refused, said a respected German newspaper yesterday, and prepared an account stating accurately that ‘a large group of foreign people’ had, indeed, carried out rape, sexual harassment and thefts.
Such alarming reports have had a profound effect on many people in this increasingly fractured society, which has seen a huge influx of young Muslim men from a host of countries after Chancellor Angela Merkel invited migrants from Syria to come to Germany last year.
And their minds will not have been put at ease by the news that a German train operator has announced it is introducing women-only carriages on its trains following the New Year attacks.
The introduction of the carriages, which will be next to the conductor, has already led to heated debate on German social media. The hashtag #imzugpassiert (which translates as ‘it happened in a train’) has become a talking point on Twitter, with women giving examples of when they have been accosted by foreign-speaking men on trains.
The train company, Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn, says it will provide women-only carriages on routes out of Leipzig, an hour’s drive from Magdeburg, with a spokesman explaining: ‘They are designed to make solo female travellers or women with young children feel safer.’
He denied, improbably, that the move was because of the widespread sex attacks on women in Cologne and elsewhere in Germany, yet it will have done little to assuage the fears of many who have seen countless thousands of newcomers arrive from a different cultural background to be housed in their midst in 2,000 hostels, hotels, tented camps and newly-built blocks across Germany.
The depth of unease here at the numbers was spelt out all too starkly in recent regional elections in Saxony-Anhalt, when nearly a quarter of the population, many aged under 40, voted for the anti-immigration, Right-wing Alternative for Germany (AFD), which has sprung from nothing in just three years.
In the country’s wealthy western states of Baden-Wurttemburg and Rhineland Palatinate, where elections were also held, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s middle-of-the-road Christian Democratic Party (CDU) also lost considerable ground.
It was in Saxony-Anhalt that her ruling party only just managed to cling to power.
The results were a stark condemnation of Merkel’s open-door migration policy, which has caused chaos across the EU.
Many Germans complain that the most powerful female politician in the world has ignored their views by inviting in more than a million people in less than a year from the war-shattered Middle East, impoverished Africa and numerous other parts of the globe besides.
So, what of those migrants who have made the journey and now face deep antipathy from so many in their adopted country?
In a modern block in a leafy neighbourhood of Magdeburg, close to where the student’s rape took place in November, I found Mahmood Atafar, 28, a Kung Fu boxer from Iran’s capital Tehran.
The place has two uniformed security guards at the gatehouse, who sign in all visitors.
A few feet away from them is a high, wire fence and locked gate, protecting the block’s 200 migrants, mostly single and male, from rising resentment (and worse) towards them among locals.
With the help of Piruz, a 38-year-old Iranian fellow migrant who is also living in the block, Mahmood told me in broken English: ‘I came to Germany because lots of other men from my country heard of the welcome by Mrs Merkel.
‘I would never have set off on such a difficult journey on my own. I tore a tendon in my leg on the way to Europe, but I can go to the doctor here for treatment without paying. I am also given 330 euros a month and Germans are kind to me.’
This is the just the type of statement that would enrage the 24 per cent of Saxony-Anhalt residents who voted defiantly for AFD and its leader, the charismatic 40-year-old Frauke Petry.
An elfin but sharp-tongued scientist with a PhD in chemistry (she studied at Reading University), she has been caricatured by her critics in the German pro-Merkel political establishment as ‘Frau Dr Strangelove’ after the deranged Nazi scientist played by Peter Sellers in the 1964 anti-war film Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb.
Her picture has been plastered over the media after she said that police should shoot illegal migrants at the border as a last resort to stop them entering Germany.
But this did not seem to put off voters in Magdeburg, who cannot forget the sexual assaults that have been carried out in their city.
While concrete figures of rapes and sex attacks by migrants are hard to find (the ethnicity of perpetrators are not routinely published), bureaucrats in Berlin are said to be shocked at the number of reports on such crimes reaching them on a daily basis.
The police have also warned of a potential breakdown of public order this summer, when women are more lightly dressed, and they are confronted by young male migrants, now being given Government pamphlets on how to conduct themselves correctly with women in the West.
As I have discovered this year, it is not only in Germany that mass arrivals of men from cultures where women are second-class citizens has caused such problems.
Sweden, which last year took in 163,000 migrants, again mostly single and male, has faced similar sex attacks, many by migrants against girls and even boys on the streets and at swimming pools.
Reflecting the changing mood there, too, a poll by newspaper Aftonbladet found nearly half of all Swedish women are scared to jog or to walk alone at night.
The result of such concerns is that, in former East Germany especially, a strong anti-migrant sentiment is growing among many people.
As a Pakistani-born security guard in his 50s at the Magdeburg migrants’ block told me this week: ‘I’m married to a German woman, but my children have dark skin like me.
‘They face racial prejudice in this part of eastern Germany every day. Foreigners are not popular and my job is to keep the new migrants safe.’
It was in this febrile atmosphere that the AFD mounted its successful campaign to capture voters’ support.
Andreas Roedder, contemporary history professor at Germany’s Mainz University, says the astonishing AFD election result marks the ‘normalisation of Right-wing populist movements’ in Germany for the first time since World War II.
Reflecting the changing mood there, too, a poll by newspaper Aftonbladet found nearly half of all Swedish women are scared to jog or to walk alone at night.
The growing xenophobia in modern Germany is manna from heaven to the AFD, founded by a group of academics as a fringe party in 2013 to protest not against immigration but Mrs Merkel’s handling of the Eurozone financial crisis and, in particular, her decision to bail out the teetering Greek economy.
Yet as the unending arrivals into Germany began to fray tempers, the AFD seized its moment. The party swept out the old guard, and last year made businesswoman Ms Petry, who founded a chemical manufacturing company, its leader.
The new politician on the block, who was brought up in the former Communist city of Dresden, soon steered the party rightwards and transformed herself into one of the most vocal — and dangerous — critics of Angela Merkel.
Almost immediately, she caused controversy with her comments about border police shooting migrants trying to enter the country illegally from Austria. ‘If necessary, they should use firearms,’ she told a regional newspaper. ‘I don’t want this, but the use of armed force is there as a last resort.’
Ms Petry, a mother-of-four whose marriage to a Lutheran pastor foundered recently when she began a relationship with an MEP from her party, unashamedly forged links with a controversial grassroots movement called Pegida — Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West — which has run increasingly well-supported anti-migrant protests in east Germany demanding exactly the same as AFD: border controls and a halt to migration.
For now, AFD seems unstoppable, at least in this area of Germany. At the party’s offices in Magdeburg, local leader Andre Poggenburg, 40, wearing a brown designer suit and a broad smile, told me proudly: ‘We are a new party with fresh visions. The older parties are no longer respected and many Germans, particularly the young ones, think Mrs Merkel has gone crazy.
‘We view migration as a great problem for Germany. Migration must drop to zero immediately. The people will not tolerate so many bringing in the culture of Islam. They are worried about the migrants’ attitude to women after the sex assaults in Cologne and here in Magdeburg.
‘We believe there is the likelihood of Islamic terrorists and jihadis being slipped into Germany because we have not vetted arrivals at the borders, so the Government has no idea who it is letting in.’
If this sounds like a xenophobic rant, it chimes exactly with the warnings of Hans-Georg Maassen, head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, who said recently that Islamic State is planting jihadists among migrants flowing into Europe.
This view was confirmed by Frontex, the EU border agency, two days ago in a worrying report, which said: ‘Islamist extremists will exploit . . . migration flows whenever such movements fit their plans.’
So how Right-wing is AFD? Before I leave, I put a piece of paper in front of Herr Poggenburg with a rectangle on it. I ask him to draw a line through it to describe where the party stands. He places it a little to the right of centre.
‘It is not true that we are Far Right, we are Middle Right,’ insists the politician, who no longer dares tell journalists about his family or where he lives because his home and car have been fire-bombed by Left-wing activists. Last Christmas, his dog was kidnapped and strangled with a piece of rope and its collar.
Not far away, I visited Leipzig (where opinion polls show a dramatic rise in AFD support), the home town of AFD leader Frauke Petry, where I met her close colleague and chairman of the city’s AFD, Siegbert Droese.
At his office, decorated with election posters, the 46-year-old told me: ‘In the past, Germans stayed at home on their sofas and didn’t bother to vote. This time they came out to the polls because they don’t like the migration policies of Mrs Merkel.’
What seems undisputable is that AFD is splitting opinion in Germany over the migrant crisis.
Herr Droese, a hotel owner with four children, said: ‘There is a wind of change here, particularly among the young. They see migrants sitting in camps or hostels with nothing to do but gaze at their phones or TV, and they think that’s not fair. Yet they know that under Mrs Merkel there will be at least 500,000 more migrants entering Germany this year.’
Meanwhile, the migrants at their housing block in Magdeburg, built, perhaps unthoughtfully, next to mixed-sex student accommodation, seemed unaware of the election results or the growing hostility to them among ordinary Germans.
When I explained the groundswell of support for AFD, Mahmood’s friend Piruz said: ‘There are lots of migrants here who are pretending to be sick so they can get free medical treatment.
‘One Indian woman brought her disabled son. He is taken by ambulance to special school or to hospital appointments every day, which costs money. This is the kind of thing that makes Germans worried about us.’
This former dental technician then added defensively — and revealingly — that few of the migrants at the hostel are genuine refugees.
‘Most of us could go home to our countries tomorrow if we wished. Why not? Many of the places we come from are not dangerous. I have no quarrel with the Iran regime, but wanted to work in the West. When Mrs Merkel said come over, I set off with everyone else; it was an opportunity for us.’
With the arrival of every new economic migrant like him — and with stories of rapes and the need for women-only train carriages — increasing numbers of Germans will grow more disenchanted, more angry.
And in a country that has spent 60 years trying to bury the legacy of Nazism, it is not, I believe, being alarmist to predict that the march of the new Right will gather pace.
German Police swoop on illegal North African migrants: 470 'fake asylum seekers' found hiding in Germany could be sent home following raids in 33 towns and cities
Police mounted massive raids in 33 towns and cities in a German state early yesterday hunting for illegal North African refugees in their asylum centres.
The swoops were carried out with military precision shortly before dawn. Some immigrants tried to hide but were discovered in toilets, under their beds or covered in blankets in linen cupboards.
Two young men even tried to hide in the basement of an asylum home in the industrial city of Duisburg but were found and arrested.
It comes just days after it emerged the number of 'missing' migrants in Germany continues to grow with nearly 9,000 children unaccounted for.
The raids in North Rhine-Westphalia were aimed at capturing the biometric data of North African immigrants throughout the state to ensure lawful refugees are registered and not making duplicate applications for asylum with false names or fake national identities.
Police said that North African refugees have been known to use as many as ten different aliases and claimed to come from multiple countries.
A total of 471 Algerians and Moroccans not truthfully registered with the authorities were discovered.
The two national groups are cited by police as being responsible for most of the crimes committed by asylum seekers in Germany and were heavily involved in the New Year's Eve sex and robbery attacks on hundreds of women in Cologne.
An official told Bild newspaper: 'We created pressure to get people to disclose their personal data. And now we have the chance to reject their applications for asylum if they come from safe countries of origin.'
Both Morocco and Algeria are now considered safe countries and people from them seized in the raids will be sent home.
According to the state interior minister Ralf Jäger criminal charges of illegally staying in the country were launched against 15 people. More are likely in the coming days. Four people wanted on outstanding arrest warrants for criminal offences were also caught up in the police operation.
The collected personal data was matched with that of other EU States to prevent duplicate asylum application in the EU as well as the use of multiple identities.
One example is the asylum-seeker from Recklinghausen who was shot before a Paris police station in January. He had made an application for asylum within the EU in seven countries and used up to 20 identities.
Officials say many more such raids are likely in the coming weeks.
UK: Jeremy Corbyn is blasted by Jewish leader for a 'deeply disturbing' response to claims his brother Piers 'belittled' anti-Semitism allegations rocking Labour
Jeremy Corbyn was slammed by a leader of British Jews today for defending his brother's 'belittling' of anti-Semitism.
Jonathan Arkush, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said the response of the Labour leader was 'deeply disturbing'.
The intervention represents a new escalation in a growing row within Labour about alleged anti-Semitism among some new members.
Labour MP Louise Ellman has come under anti-Semitic attack in her Liverpool Riverside constituency and joined calls on the Labour leader to do more to tackle anti-Semitism in the party's ranks.
But the demand prompted Piers Corbyn to tweet: 'ABSURD! JC+ All Corbyns are committed Anti Nazi. Zionists can't cope with anyone supporting rights for Palestine.'
In response, Mr Corbyn told The Sun his brother 'isn't wrong', adding: 'My brother has his point of view, I have mine and we actually fundamentally agree - we are a family that were brought up fighting racism from the day we were born.'
Mr Arkush rejected the statement today. He said: 'Jeremy Corbyn's defence of his brother's belittling of the problem of anti-Semitism is deeply disturbing. 'We cannot imagine that any other minority's concerns would be dismissed off-hand in this way.
'In the last few weeks we have witnessed a stream of clear-cut cases of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, which can't just be fobbed off as differences over Israel.
'Most of the Jewish community, numerous Labour MPs, Labour peers, and Labour's London mayoral candidate are crying out for the leader to take action on anti-Semitism. 'It would be incomprehensible for Mr Corbyn to remain inert and refuse to take this form of racism in his party seriously.'
Speaking at a campaign visit in Norwich, Mr Corbyn said: 'If anyone reports any form of anti-Semitism within our party, it is investigated immediately and cracked down upon. 'That message is unequivocal - we are a multi-faith, multicultural Britain - let's respect each other and move on from there.'
A Labour spokesman earlier insisted: 'It is Jeremy Corbyn who is taking action on anti-Semitism. 'He has consistently condemned anti-Semitism and all forms of racism and under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, Labour is clamping down on anti-Semitism and taking clear action against offenders.'
Ms Ellman had used a Sky News interview to call for stronger action on anti-Semitism by the Labour leader. She said: 'Most members of the Labour party are not anti-Semitic but some are and some are being allowed to get away with posting anti-Semitic comments in tweets and on their websites.'
She added: 'The leader has spoken out clearly, he says he is against anti-Semitism. 'But it's not just about words – there has got to be some action and we haven't seen enough of that.'
Sadiq Khan yesterday admitted he wears a 'badge of shame' because of the problems the Labour Party has with anti-Semitism. The London Mayor candidate said Mr Corbyn 'could have taken a tougher stance and needs to take a tougher stance'.
The party has been dragged into a series of rows about anti-Semitic members which some MPs have warned are not being kicked out of the party swiftly enough.
Jewish Labour MPs have also claimed they have come under attack from anti-Semitic individuals online.
Mr Khan, a Muslim, said he knew what it was to suffer 'hate crime' and added: 'I also know it's unacceptable in 2016 that there is anti-Semitism in the Labour party. 'It's with sorrow that I wear that badge of shame.'
Mr Khan added: 'If it means members of my party, senior members of my party including members of [Labour's ruling National Executive Committee] being trained about what anti-Semitism is, then so be it.'
Speaking at a hustings organised by the London Jewish Forum, Mr Khan said: 'I have said at the outset, I'm embarrassed and sorrowful about anti-Semitism in the party. 'I think the Labour leadership could have taken a tougher stance and needs to take a tougher stance.'
More Muslim rejection of reality
British Muslims have moved faster than the Conservative Party or the Church on social issues such as gay rights, a former Tory chairman said yesterday.
Sayeeda Warsi hit out at claims that Muslims are failing to integrate into British life.
And she attacked former equalities chief Trevor Phillips, who said this week that many Muslims ‘do not accept the values and behaviours that make Britain what it is’.
Baroness Warsi, who served as Conservative Party chairman for two years from 2010, accused him of ‘pandering to populist prejudice’ and said many religious groups had conservative social attitudes.
‘The Muslim community is conservative in its views, but that is no different to most other religious communities,’ she said. ‘If you compare attitudes to a group of evangelical Christians or Hasidic Jews you would find similarities.
‘There is social conservatism, maybe even social intolerance, but most religious communities on the issue of homosexuality have been on a journey on this. So has my own party, so has the Church of England.
‘There is no reason to say that Muslims are so different they have to be treated in a completely different way.
‘Attitudes around women’s rights and gay rights are changing. But our community in Britain is 50 or 60 years old – we have moved faster than my party, which has been around much longer, or the Church.’
In an article in the Daily Mail on Monday, Mr Phillips warned that a ‘nation within a nation’ was developing in Britain’s Muslim community and quoted research to back his claim that many Muslims are not interested in integrating.
He was also concerned about the creation of Muslim ‘ghettos’ and raised the possibility of a cap on the proportion of Muslim pupils in schools.
But Lady Warsi said most British Muslims lived in much more mixed communities. And she said other groups were not always keen to mix with them. ‘When I grew up in Dewsbury, white parents took their children out of my middle school because they felt there were too many Muslims there,’ she said. ‘Integration is a two-way street.’
Lady Warsi has been a fierce critic of some attitudes in her community, but she warned that portraying British Muslims as being uniquely different was a ‘dangerous path to go down’.
‘You are effectively saying they are so different to any group that has gone before we are going to have to treat them in a totally different way,’ she said. ‘That is just not right or helpful.’
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.