Oz engages in 'band aid' diplomacy against race attacks
After Indian diplomatic officials clamoured for world attention on the worrying number of apparent racist attacks on Indians in Australia, Wikileaks seem to have finally cleared the air. The leaked cables have revealed a quote by the Australian high commissioner to India Peter Varghese and Bob Birrell, Australia"s preeminent scholar on population and migration studies as saying, ““... the Australian high commissioner in Delhi did acknowledge race has likely played a role in some of the attacks." The conversation was recorded in the cables by Dan Clune, deputy chief of mission of the US embassy in Canberra dated Jan 2009.
The cables also revealed the measures employed by Australia to engage in “band aid" diplomacy, that was also an attempt to save its education industry that is flourishing with Indian students and is also the third-biggest foreign exchange earner.
The cables also showed the response from Birrell to the US consulate in Melbourne that said, “Dr Birrell believes racism has indeed fueled the student violence issue." Birrell also reacted to the concern over attacks and explained that the lack of affordable housing pushed Indian students to live in the suburbs that was violence-prone from immigrants from Somalia and Vietnam.
The US' Melbourne consul general Michael Thurston has been quoted as saying, “While solid data is hard to come by, Birrell points out that perpetrators of many of these crimes are not white Australians, but other first- or second-generation immigrants from these 'tougher" countries."
The cables also gave insights into how the Indian consul general in Melbourne Anita Nayar, is starting to look over her shoulders while walking the streets of the city"s central business district wary of racist attacks.