Saturday, October 29, 2016

A most horrible death and cynicism

Remember back in the back in the 1960s where the Buddhist monk self immolated on the streets of a Vietnamese city in protest at the western country invasion of his country? Could there be worse death than being burnt to death. Perhaps. Death at the hands of passionate religions in earlier times were pretty bad. But that Hanoi death was so awful, mainly because it was on our tv screens. 

How about if you are a bus driver, going about your bus driving business in Brisbane and a passenger boards your bus, pours a fuel all over you and flicks his Bic lighter at you and you are burnt to death. This happened a day or so ago in Australia.  Facts are yet to be revealed, but what I guess is that a mentally unwell person saw the Sikh bus driver as a Moslem and has picked up via media that Moslem is bad. There may be a better explanation or even the truth.

Immediately the Queenland police said there was no evidence that it was a race hate crime, but I am not so sure and neither is his family back in the Punjab and quite rightly, they are asking questions. Government, government authorities and organisations who depend on government funding like to keep a very tight lid on racial issues in Australia.......and I would go as far saying that includes our ABC.

R got stuck into me for being so cynical and not believing what the QLD police were saying. I confess, at times it must be hard to live with a cynical smart arse like me, but I reckon I am right in this case.. 

Vale to Brisbane bus driver Manmeet Sharma. You seem to have been a good person and I can offer no explanation for your horrific death, aside from what I have said above and that won't offer you much comfort. At times in this world some really bad things happen.



I don't like being cynical, but one thing to say, it is so great when your cynicism is proved wrong and you have a restoration of faith in humankind. I try to avoid cynicism in my personal life but at times I don't succeed. Sadly that happens so rarely when talking about public figures, the police, celebrities, government, employers and those with a vested financial interests. 

The highly respected John Silvester is a long time crime investigator and reporter for The Age. This is from today's paper. I can only conclude that this story from way back then is correct and nothing has changed my mind since, that governments and a police have changed. Improved perhaps, but changed, no! 

It is so good that we don't live in a corrupt country (insert sad and laconically tired face emoticon). Read more at The Age.

The man on the other end of the phone didn't need to waste time with an introduction. His opening sentence was direct and to the point: "The people you are writing about could kill you stone dead."
This observation immediately gained my attention, because I recognised the caller as the director of the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence who was also my father, Fred Silvester.
The reason for the call was that I had written a story that certain NSW police had advised Mafia boss "Aussie" Bob Trimbole to leave the country rather than risk having to give evidence to the Stewart Royal Commission on drugs.
Trimbole took the advice (there were others urging him to take an extended holiday) and in 1981 nicked off, dying six years later as a free man in Spain.
The story created a furore in Sydney, sparking the then NSW commissioner, that plodding plodder Cec Abbott, to declare the story false and malicious, while the police minister did the same.
I was interviewed by two embarrassed NSW detectives who showed a staggering lack of curiosity, and within a week this internal inquiry cleared everybody of everything.

15 comments:

  1. That was horrific Andrew. One has to assume the attacker was a religious zealot, a racist, or insane.. probably all three!

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    1. Grace, I keep thinking about his last thoughts. Too awful.

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  2. Oh my lord that is beyond horrific...I cannot believe this. This poor man.

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    1. Keith, beyond understanding or trying to make any sense.

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  3. I saw that story, and my heart ached for his family and friends. And, of course, for him.
    I caught a cab driven by a Sikh a while back and he told me that being abused as a murdering 'rag head' was very, very common. (And that many of the abusers tried to avoid paying the fare.) Sigh. Sadly I suspect your thoughts are probably true. How I wish they weren't.

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    1. EC, I knew a Sikh many years ago and he stopped wearing his turban as the mild abuse and comments were relentless.

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  4. I hope you are wrong Andrew but in any event this was an horrendous act.

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    1. It was Victor. It is odd how humans don't like randomness. They want a reason and if the reason has nothing to do with them, they feel safer.

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  5. Anonymous9:31 am

    Having lived in Queensland back in the 70s, I know very well what Q police were like in their dealings with gay men. Avoid at all times if possible. So I understand your cynicism. I always maintain give police the power, and they will always abuse it. As for The Age article, don't doctors always get cleared when something goes horribly wrong in a hospital? The great Aussie tradition of looking after your mates twisted and bugger the ordinary person. Saving reputations are more important than justice. - Ian

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    1. All quite so Ian. Lordy, QLD in the seventies under Joh. It is a wonder you survived. I agree with you that the police will always need strong overview of their powers. Things are better in that area now, but not perfect.

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    2. Anonymous2:44 pm

      Don't forget, Peter (Mutton) Dutton is a former Qld copper. When it comes to abusing people and denying them their rights, he learned from the masters. - Ian

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  6. Poor guy. Saw his brother on the news earlier today. Very sad that the parents don't yet know he has passed away. The plan is to try to break it to them gently by telling them that their son is in hospital in a coma.

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    1. AdRad, I have caught up with the news now. Yes, very sad but it is kind of the dead man's siblings to ease the news to his parents.

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  7. It's good to be cynical darling, I'd call it realistic.

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    1. Me too. I try not to be bitter with it.

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