Melbourne African community comes together after vigilante Facebook messages



updated

August 26, 2018 09:46:53

When Morley Muse saw a Facebook message about juvenile delinquents of African origin urging the local community to "hunt down these so-called people", she immediately thought of her own child.

"When I saw that my son was two and a half years old, I made a choice to come to Australia," said the research engineer.

"I do not know if these people know that there are black people in it [Facebook] group or not … I have been in the lab for hours, my research will benefit Australia, not Nigeria where I come from.

"As the new prime minister said … whether you were Australian ten minutes ago or ten days ago or 10,000 years ago, whatever.

"You are an Australian, you have made a choice to be here and we all want to contribute to our society."

The responses were quickly removed by the manager of the page, but were made when Melbourne struggled with its response to a number of serious crimes committed by a small group of returning juvenile delinquents of Sudanese or South Sudanese heritage.

The calls for justice and deportations of vigilante prompted the husband of Moms Muse, Bode Muse, to organize a community meeting, inviting the potential civilian guards to meet their own community face-to-face.

He feels extensive coverage in the media about crimes committed by young people with an African migration background and has planted unnecessary fear in the minds of people.

"When a group of African teenagers meet, I do not blame them for being afraid, because that's what they've seen [in the media]," he said.

"But the point is, are you willing to just be scared or are you willing to teach yourself, are you willing to meet these people and understand who they are?

"Why do not you talk to these people to discover that they are people like you, parents who want the best for their children, contribute to taxes, pay their taxes, contribute to society.

"You know, we want to show people that the African Australian community, we are just as human as you are.

"Let's not divide or separate a community to feel that the problem is just about them."

& # 39; Let my heroes shine & # 39;

On Saturday morning, about 30 people gathered in Point Cook in the west of Melbourne and began to agree on a complex issue.

Among them was the 24-year-old writer Tier Ataing, who was born in South Sudan but moved to Australia at the age of nine.

He used the opportunity to talk to the group with a roaming microphone.

"Being a part of the youth, and this youth being portrayed on the news, there are many things that I think are wrong," he said.

"Every time I go out on the streets, many white people look at me in a certain way because the media said," This is who I am, "but that is not who I am.

"I am someone who tries to succeed and becomes the best version of myself.

"We have heroes in our community, but [the media] do not show me … to whom should I look if you show me negativity?

"At the moment many children feel hurt themselves because you tell them they are monsters and if you constantly tell a child that they are monsters, they will eventually believe that they are monsters.

"Let the media shine my heroes so that I can feel good."

Crime has no color & # 39;

Tier said he knows young people who fall into a pattern of crime after things get worse at home.

"Crime has no color at all, I've seen crime, I've hung out with kids coming from every culture from all over the world," he said.

"If you do not have love and appreciation for everything you do at home … you go somewhere to try to find it and usually you try to find it on the street.

"Because the street is going to tell you" I love you and I appreciate you "no matter what you do, no matter if you are doing bad things or good things, your friends on the street will tell you & # 39; good work & # 39; and that is the sad one. "

He also urged his South Sudanese community to focus on strengthening the relationship between the elderly who grew up in South Sudan and their children who only know life in Australia.

& # 39; They are all Australians & # 39;

Dr Mimmie Claudine Ngum Chi Watts, a researcher in the field of public health and one of the multicultural commissioners of Victoria, was also present at the meeting.

She said that many of the juvenile delinquents that are being talked about were born in Australia.

"Most of the children we are talking about have never been to South Sudan," she said.

"People have spoken about deportation and do you know what I said?

Do you want them to be deported to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where they were born, or to their mother's uterus? & # 39;

"And we should stop talking about" South Sudanese, this person, "because they are all Australians.

"Their citizenship is no less important than anyone in the citizenship of this room.

"We need to have that inclusive approach, and I do not hear that in the paper because we" think "about it, we have to stop thinking about community because of the way they look."

Police beats & # 39; keyboard cowboys & # 39; close

Inspector Marty Allison of Wyndham Local Area Commander said the meeting showed the best of the local community, in contrast to the actions of online vigilante activists.

"These specific problems they raise today are quite complex, and they actually require a community solution," he said.

"Certainly social media have an element behind keyboards, and I've heard the term" keyboard boobs "and are happy to surprise you with some anonymity in some of the comments they've made.

"Not only are they not useful, but they are really hurtful, I do not have time for that kind of people, if they have a solution, let it be a lot more constructive and something that their communities can actually bring together."

Victoria Police has set Task Force Wayward to focus on domestic invasions, carjackings and armed robberies in the western suburbs of Melbourne.

Inspector Allison said the latest statistics point to a decrease in both overall crime and the number of juvenile offenders, while the task force has identified a group of about 60 male offenders who reportedly committed most of the offenses.

"Mainly from African descent, but there is also a mix of other ethnicities, including white Anglo-Australians," he said.

Mr. Muse said he hoped that the meeting was the beginning of a continuous dialogue to bring communities together.

"In the future, we want to expand to other suburbs where people can discuss the most current topics about which the community is divided, to reach an agreement."

Subjects:

law-crime-and-justice,

crime,

crime prevention,

community-society,

youth,

race relations,

point-cook-3030,

melbourne-3000,

vic

First posted

August 26, 2018 09:04:26


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