By Situation Theatre 19/07/2016
The damaging effects of publicising Hanson's rhetoric were entirely unforseen.
It really was terrific that four Muslim Australians had their voices heard on the fringes of Q & A last night as an Islamophobic demagogue took centre stage. Seeing the ABC broadcast messages of solidarity, love and support throughout the broadcast was especially moving, although they were mostly for Pauline Hanson and One Nation
In a spectacular display of cognitive dissonance from the Q & A producers, the episode included these comments from audience participant Khaled Elomar to the new Senator:
“People like yourself, who have extremely dangerous and disturbing rhetoric, it’s a fuel to hatred, bigotry and ignorance...you are creating a dysfunctional country by isolating a religion, 20 years ago, isolating a race, and you keep on going down this track, I will fear for my wife’s life, I will fear for my kid’s life.”
“I work in Cronulla. I have worked there for eight years. I absolutely love the place. Only recently, after your rhetoric has come on board the media, almost every day I get called a Muslim pig, because of you.”
On the upside, it’s not like 780,000 people watched the episode or as if the program easily won the ratings in its timeslot. And at least there’ll only be a few days of wall to wall media analysis quoting and requoting Pauline’s poisonous views.
Congratulations to Q & A for the its breathtaking feat of irony: emphasising the harm caused by publicising divisive and hateful rhetoric during a special episode devoted to airing the views of an Islamophobic demagogue.