What happens when pretend politicians pretend to be terrorists
In the week of the 2007 Australian federal election, it was clear that the Liberal Party were going to lose power to The Labor Party after 11 years in government. The electorate of Lindsay was made up of middle to lower earning white Australians with pockets of immigrants and first generation Australians from the Middle East. The seat was held by Jackie Kelly for 11 years, but she was retiring and hoping to pass the seat onto a Liberal Party colleague, Karen Chijoff, on the Thursday before Saturday’s election. The husbands of Kelly and Chijoff were seen putting pamphlets in the Lindsay voters’ letter boxes.
The husbands had invented THE ISLAMIC AUSTRALIA FEDERATION. They printed pamphlets from this fake organization, thanking the Labor Party for seeking clemency for terrorists, building more mosques in Llndsay, and for supporting the Bali bombers. The husbands put the fake pamphlets in letterboxes in the poorest white areas.
This painting is about what happened in the local girl’s school and the local shopping mall when the white parents thought that the “Islamic Australia Federation” was targeting Lindsay to be an Islamic/Sharia enclave, with mosques on every corner, bombs in every bus shelter, and most frightening, women with scarves on their heads. The white fear of Lindsay becoming Islamic spread to the schools and made the most vulnerable (Muslim girls) the most accountable for the fear. The Muslim girls already in semi-denial were forced to completely deny their identity.
They had to leave home in traditional dress and change at bus stops and the shopping mall, semi-naked in front of predatory white men – cleaners, gardeners, and business men. The girls had to hunt around shopping malls for the cheapest possible versions of non – Muslim dress: singlet tops, short shirts, high heels, and brand names. While their parents, particularly their fathers, did laps at the mall, anti-clockwise, oblivious to the children’s struggle.
Later still in the year 2002 a container ship has rescued 300 refugees, including women and children, from their sinking wooden boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The refugees’ boat and the container ship were both headed for Australia so the container ship continued toward this destination. However, the Australian Government does not allow the ship to dock because it does not want to accept the refugees. To complicate the situation the ship’s captain will not unload the containers unless the government takes responsibility for the refugees. So the rescued refugees had to live off what was on the container ship, which because it was headed for Australia was full of fake Italian fashions and pet food.
The importers who bought the merchandise are losing money, they fear the imported fashions will go out of fashion and the dog food will go off. So they lobby the Government and convince them to let the ship drop anchor close enough to the shore for them to negotiate with the refugees for the protection and hand over of the merchandise.
On the container ship itself, the refugees are happily adapting to their new environment. They start breaking into the containers to eat the dog food and begin wearing the fake Italian fashions with delighted aplomb. They have made comfortable homes out of the half empty containers, but the diet of pet food has begun to give them a domestic complacency.
Because of the similarities between container houses the mothers have to stay at home and with a metal spoon tap an empty pet food tin so the family can find their way home by following their pet cat. The refugees wait by cat stops to catch a cat home. The empowered and spoilt fattened cats become dangerous when their territory is threatened by new born refugee babies.
Meanwhile the importers and elderly Australian citizens have gathered on the shore. The importers are trying to convince the refugees to sell them their Italian fashions in order to recoup some of their costs. The refugee women and men model the clothes on improvised cat-walks to get the best price and to sell t-shirts with the fashion labels printed on them. The elderly Aussies are demanding some pet food for their beloved starving cats and dogs while still trying to protect their borders with garden hoses.
The scene is clouded with smoke wafting from the barbequing steaks which the refugees are blowing on to the crowd to help them sell sausages to the people on the shore. Pavlovian bells are used to retrain the elderly into welcoming rather than fearing the refugees.