Racial violence against Indians in Melbourne has received a lot of reportage in the Australian and Indian media, which is a shame because I believe Melbourne to be one of Australia’s great multicultural centres. There’s enough ethnic diversity here that you rarely feel like you don’t belong when you walk down the street whether you be of Asian, African, European or South American descent. I wanted to be part of a movement that expressed this, so I went to the Harmony Walk.
The event felt contrived, however. I felt it was more of a John Brumby gimmick than anything. I’m certain I wasn’t the only one. Actually, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one. When the walk finished and the political speeches began, I was standing behind two locals who were rolling their eyes and directing snide comments towards the speechmakers.
Fortunately, someone has suggested a less flashy way of saying ‘no’ to racial violence. They’ve set up a website called Vindaloo Against Violence, asking Melbournians to show their support towards the Indian community by dining out at a local Indian eatery on February 24th. Organiser Mia Northrop states that the initiative doesn’t receive sponsorship from any businesses, governments, or organisations. Being a grassroots event without a centralised meeting point, it probably won’t be hijacked by some dog-awful politico, which means it might manage to maintain its integrity. What with the continuing racial violence in spite of the State Government’s reassurances, the Indian community is probably sceptical of any movement that is initiated at an official level.
So. Butter chicken on the 24th? Maybe some eggplant massala? Ho-hum. Do you vindaloo?