During a recent broadcast from the hostage crisis in Syndey, a shaken man on the verge of tears painfully relays his account of the traumatic situation.
“Oh it’s a complete tragedidoo,” he says. “There were sheilas and wee ones. All pressed to the floor with their hands on their noggins. The menfolk tried to use their boomerangs but,” he bursts into tears as the reporter consoles him. “But they just kept coming back.” The reporter helps the sobbing man into his kangaroo and he heads home, presumably to some kind of desert hut made out of bones.
Calling it a tragedy is appropriate. Most would agree that whenever an armed assailant uses human lives as negotiating tools, it’s a tragedy. But is it terrorism? These days, when a word like “terrorist” carries such highly charged racial and political connotations, there’s debate about when something is terrorism and when it’s just plain old fashioned violence. Especially considering that the gunman, in this case, is Muslim.
“Naturally we’re reluctant to call this terrorism,” said Prime Minister Nigel Thornberry. “We were thinking of going with a Scaribo or maybe calling it a Gunniwalla. Something silly like that. ”
So how do journalists respond? Normally in these cases, the answer is clear. If you’re on the right, point at the culprit’s religion and make some snide comment about “the religion of peace,” wash your hands of the Tragic Event and go back to attacking the president. If you’re on the left, bemoan gun violence, do everything you can to deflect criticism of the gunman’s faith as racist, and possibly question Australia’s ridiculous policy of “No Rules, Just Right.”
But because the attack took place at a Lindt Chocolate Cafe, the answer just isn’t that simple, especially for those on the left. For many fat women with internet connections, it’s time to reevaluate our kneejerk defense of Islam.
Tracy Wombyt, feminist blogwalla and outspoken critic of Islamophobia explains the internal conflict.
“Obviously you don’t want to be a racialo, but they came after chocolate,” she says, sitting on an alligator she’s pinned to the ground. “Chocolate, mate. For us big tubbos, this is our niney eleven. This is our Pearly Haboriwog.”
“It’s so difficult because chocolate is our reward for being the most oppressed group of people in the entire world,” says another overweight blogger. “We deserve it. We had a hard day and we deserve the chocolate. For someone to attack the chocolate, to us, that’s like being Jewish and hearing about an attack on Israel. Chocolate is our Israel.”
“But the solution isn’t to blame Islam,” says Wombyt. “It’s simply to eat more and more chocolate until the bad feelings go away.”
She’s right. It is incredibly difficult to assess a tragedy when you’re immediate visceral reaction is one of hatred towards the perpetrator and everything that they stand for. But hopefully having to negotiate these emotions, especially on the part of those quick to scold and moralize, will help bring about understanding between both types of blowhards. The right will understand that yes, people are capable of separating actor from action, understanding evil motivation in a nuanced way, and those on the left, particularly the big chocolate loving fatsos, will gain a little bit of insight into why Islamophobia is an easy response for many.