I know this is a site for discussion about issues related to the Middle East but I had to post this story because of the cruel, tragic and senseless nature of the story and the impact it had on me. So please excuse me for posting on a subject on the widest possible margin of this blog.
This is a story about the killing of a homeless man, an Somali immigrant to Australia, Hussein Mumin which I read this morning in the Sydney Morning Herald. Hussein may or may not have been a victim of a racially motivated attack (he had been in the past) but the racial discrimination that Africans- especially the Sudanese and Somalis- have experienced in Australia has been well documented. Hussein was not only an immigrant but also homeless, and combined these two realities made him one of the most invisible members of our society. The horrific nature of his killing is compounded by the neglect of his story in the press and a reminder of how little value our society has for the poor and for minorities. I hope that Hussein’s killers are identified and that the value of the life they took is brought home to them by the judicial system.
Australia’s recent treatment of migrants has been cruel and in numerous cases tantamount to torture. This is case is of an even more heinous nature and is reminder of what can happen when government’s institutionalise and condone racism, as with Kevin Andrew’s comments about Sudanese-Australians last year. The Rudd government has made a good start in overturning this legacy with the apology to indigenous Australians and the embracing of the Obama victory, but much more is still needed to be done to unravel the racialism which was an integral part of the Howard period. A more concerted government effort in battling racism is needed if Australia is to ensure the safety of the numerous African communities that have decided to make Australia their home. A strongly worded government statement about the tradegy of the death of Hussein Mumin, public condolences and a guarantee that the perpetrators will be caught would send a message that Australia is committed to the protection of all human life, even that of the weakest and most silent members of society. And possibly if this would occur then maybe Hussein’s sister and his friends may start to feel that his brutal death was not in complete vain.