Archive for November, 2010

Burqa On Trial 5

Today a Sydney court sentenced a woman to six months imprisonment for swearing a false suit against a police office. She claimed he was racist and tried to remove her niqab (veil) after pulling her over. Unfortunately for her the whole thing was recorded on the video camera installed in the police car. She had almost immediately played the cliched ‘you’re a racist’ card, accusing the officer of being threatened by her wearing of the burqa. He was polite and calm the entire time and wanted her to show her face for ID purposes, which is completely reasonable, while she rips into him in a tirade of abuse and invective.

The officer could have been in serious trouble if he had not the video evidence to back up his denials of her complaint. Her defence barrister actually tried to say there was no way the police could prove it was his client who had sworn the complaint against the officer as she didn’t reveal her face under the veil then, either. Fortunately the judge found against her and gave her six months in gaol. Some members of the Islamic community said that was to make an example of her and I would agree. I also agree it is an example that must be made. While some now ask for compassion for  her and her seven children, she offered absolutely zero compassion to the police officer, his family or any consideration to his career when she smugly made her false claims.

The burqa is alien to our culture and way of life and I personally find it offensive when I see women dressed so on our streets. However, our society is a tolerant one and we tolerate these things but we can never show  any weakness to anyone, regardless of cultural group, religious persuasion or any other difference, attempting to pervert our justice system and make a mockery of our tolerance.

The woman’s surname, Mathews, and her Australian accent suggests to me she is a native born Muslim which begs the question of why she is choosing such a mode of dress which is cultural and not religious? She comes across as no different in attitude and demeanor than any other Australian woman despite the veil, so I would hesitate to stereotype her or any other burqa wearer as repressed or under the thumb of a male. So why the veil and why the anger at identifying herself to a police officer?

What really made me laugh was when she left court and was chased to a car by the media. Despite wearing a full burqa she bent at the waist and kept her head well down just like every other fugitive from the media one sees on TV, usually hiding under a blanket or coat. Why bother?

My Girls Are No Chick(en)s!

An 8 year old girl, playing in her front yard in Cabramatta was dragged into the street by a passing man. She managed to flee after kicking him in the shins. Good for you Miss! It shows that sometimes a kid can inflict sufficient damage to affect her release. Sadly, too often their attempts fail and sadder still when they offer no resistance whatsoever.

My two eldest girls have been told they can’t hit a schoolyard bully back after they are assaulted, self defence is not an excuse apparently. I have yet to take this up with the school but I have printed off a declaration for them to keep in their school bags. My instruction to my girls is to try and ignore the bully, then walk away and if that doesn’t work and they hit first, then hit back harder. I have taught them how and where to hit, palm heel strike under the chin or on the nose.

The declaration states “I was assaulted and I was in fear of my life. I acted in self defence. Contact my father…” and my name and numbers. Below that I have reproduced the NSW Crimes Act 1900 Sect 60E Assaults At Schools; Sect 61 Common Assault…; Sect 418 Self Defence When Available and Sect419 Self Defence Onus of Proof.

My children are citizens, deserving of the full protection of the law. ‘Any person’ includes 12 year old bullies from dysfunctional homes as much as any hardened criminal. I realise they are not considered criminally responsible under the law but my daughters have the right to protect themselves if assaulted and the law of the land outweighs the Education Department’s desire to keep their liabilty and premiums manageable.

If they won’t stand up for themselves at school when assaulted, why would they defend themselves against a child molestor? While I understand the message needing to be sent regarding schoolyard violence is one of zero tolerance, countermanding the rights of the citizen to defend themselves is not the answer.

It is not my fault if the bully comes from a broken home, has substance abusing care givers and no proper adult role models. My children are not there as some kind of therapy for the poor child. Charity begins at home and I believe in making sure first you are not a part of the problem, then seeing if you can help with the solution.

Sadly these bullies believe there is nothing adults can do to them so they flaunt this, abuse and assault even adults and then threaten them with the law if they take action. The ‘parents’ are little better educated than their primary school offspring and prone to resorting to foul language and physical violence themselves when confronted, it is all they know. All they understand is ‘might is right’. They neither respect civilized behaviour nor do they practise it. Hence the only appropriate response is to retaliate in a way they do understand, sadly that all too often means physically.

That said, if I ever find any of my kids  bullying and starting fights they will know the meaning of the word punishment. They know their parents will not stand for them sinking to the level of the kids they complain about. As for fighting, I believe when it is the most appropriate response then you fight like a savage, get it over with and win. Otherwise just curl into a ball and let them do as they wish… and that  is not our way, never has been, never will be.

Bouncing Baby Boy

A passer by in Paris caught a baby boy after he bounced off an awning following a fall from an 8th floor window. The 18 mon th old boy was left in the care of his 3 year old sister while his parents went for a stroll. Police are questioning the parents and rightly so. Apart from the amazing good fortune and sheer luck this boy enjoyed, what does this say about his parents and their total lack of common sense?

I could never leave my 3 year old and 18month old children alone and I never have. Even now their 12 year old sister is left in charge for very brief periods with backup form her 7 year old sister and we live in a single storey house with lockable doors, secured external gates and so on.

How old should kids be when they are left to look after themselves and each other? I recall at 5 with a 6 year old sister being left on our own as both parents had to work and so during the holidays we would get up after they had left. Breakfast would be waiting for us and then we would take the bus to mum’s workplace and spend the day there, bored stiff. That was in the mid-sixties. There were bad people around in those days too but somehow we managed. But a 3 year old in charge of a 1.5 year old? In an 8th floor flat?

What do you think?

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