Monday, November 21, 2016

Peter Dutton and the Lebanese Sunnis

Take a sociological fact: one the most socio-economically deprived parts of Lebanon's population live in the north-western suburbs of Tripoli, Lebanon's second biggest city after Beirut. They live in deplorable conditions: the highest number of people per square meter in Lebanon, the lowest level of education in the whole country. And yes, fertile ground for the growth of Islamic fundamentalist of all kind of looney tunes variety, no doubt. but i understand that the number of young males who joined the police force, and even the number of males who became hairdressers from this milieu exceeds the number of males who became Islamic fundamentalist. So it's definitely not a sociological fact to just choose to emphasise the Islamic fundamentalist credentials of this group. 
Polemic: When Australia, under Fraser's government offered to have an intake of Lebanese amid the civil war. It made sense to take the most economically deprived part of the population. it's called humanitarian help. Now I know that today's rampant neo-liberal instrumentalism makes it inconceivable that one takes people like this. I know that today you are supposed to take the least needy people. people who represent a net asset gain. but. still, humanitarian help used to happen. some of us still remember it.
So yes, along came the most deprived of the deprived and yes, they came with the possibility of Islamicos among them. But do we have any statistical evidence of how this cohort developed as a totality. That is, *beside* not as opposed to the believable fact that there might have been a few home-grown Islamic fundamentalists that popped up from among them?
how many coiffeurs for instance? I'd be very interested. I've got this theory about Lebanese coiffeurs. Have you noticed how many of them there are in the world? Lebanon has unleashed way more coiffeurs on the word than Islamic fundamentalists and yet no one wants to talk about this. The destruction of western civilisation they have been responsible for far exceeds... (I'd better stop since my cousin in Lebanon is one so I'l wait to have more empirical evidence before pronouncing myself on this matter)
Take a second sociological fact: Peter Dutton was born in the working-class Brisbane suburb of Boondall. almost the equivalent (relatively speaking, of course) to Tripoli's working class suburbs. 
Take a third sociological fact: Beside coiffure, the Tripoli people from those suburbs who manage to get out of poverty commonly do so by getting some military education and joining the police force. Now, what do you know: Peter Dutton also rose from his working class background by getting a military education and becoming a police officer. 
Concluding Polemic: Now perhaps Peter Dutton has a lot more in common with the people he is attacking than meets the eye. Perhaps *he knows* he has a lot in common: working class, military education, low cultural capital, zero cosmopolitanism, tendency towards cultural fundamentalism.
Are we to blame the whole suburb of Boondall for the fact that the Liberal Party has unleashed someone like Peter Dutton on us. indeed on the whole world. of course not. Likewise, let's leave this poor Sunnis of Tripoli alone. They have enough problems surviving as it is. I mean they have to deal all the time with all the filthy Lebanese politicians for god's sake. It is just not fair to add some of the filthiest of all Australian politicians to this.
By the way, the brilliant Lebanese novelist Jabbour Douaiheh has written a novel called 'The American Neighbourhood' (available in English) on that part of Tripoli the is being talked about here. It is about an Islamic fundamentalist from the neighbourhood who returns after failing to go through a suicide-bombing mission in Iraq. go and read it if you are interested in intelligent fiction about this socio-economic milieu. Intelligent fiction is nicer and way more informative than Dutton's non-intelligent pseudo-sociology.