September 9, 2008
Interesting take today on fairness and equity in society by a community group spokesperson in Camden, NSW:The president of the Camden/Macarthur Residents Group, Emil Sremchevich, told Fairfax the Catholic plan “ticks all the right boxes”, even though he was yet to see its development application. “Catholics are part of our community so we should be supporting it on this basis alone,” Mr Sremchevich told Fairfax. “To become part of the community, you need to live in the community. You can’t just turn up.”
Apparently this Mr Sremchevich believes people of a Catholic disposition definitely reside in Camden, whereas Muslim folk come from “elsewhere”. Not sure how he “knows” this, perhaps he did a door-by-door survey of everyone in the district. And the local Muslim believers of course owned up to the inquisitors immediately and honestly; or perhaps simply lied, as one suspects non-Catholics may do. (Oh dear, and me not at all a Catholic, either.) In any event we are assured there are no people of the Muslim faith anywhere near Camden, so why they wanted a school there in the first place is just plain weird.
Mr Sremchevich is surprisingly not at all discriminating with regard to what is being built. If it’s proposed by a Catholic group it gets immediate approval without further consideration, according to his quoted words. That certainly speeds up the development process, doesn’t it? (Who needs the previous planning minister Frank Sartor when you have this bloke in charge.)
I certainly agree with Mr Sremchevich that his is not a racist stance. Mr Sremchevich said he was not being racist. He is not discriminating by race, rather by religion. Hey, isn’t there a law against that, too?
If quoted correctly, Mr Sremchevich surprisingly admits to being “a beast”: “Why is it xenophobic just because I want to make a choice. If I want to like some people and not like other people, that’s the nature of the beast,” he said. Being “a beast” may be a good thing, but I’m not sure of the context. Mr Sremchevich should however seek assistance in defining “xenophobia” as he may be a tad unclear on what ‘a fear of foreigners’ may actually mean. It may not mean that he’s afraid of them, per se, because he’s obviously a brave man to say these things, but perhaps any dislike of people from outside one’s own area or district of locale, zone of comfort or belief could fit the bill. I’m just trying to help.
Even more surprisingly he is advocating dividing suburbs up along car ownership lines, proposing gated communities for particular brands: “It’s very simple: people like some things but don’t like other things … some of us like Fords, some of us like Holdens.” I’m not sure if the Holdens (a GM brand, btw) can traverse Ford suburbs (or Territories, a local Ford joke ha-ha) and vice versa. (Shame I didn’t fit a Chevy Suburban gag in there too but Aussies don’t actually buy cars that big, I hope). It’s unclear if Camden will be deemed a Ford or Holden suburb by Mr Sremchevich, or which brand will subsequently be forced to leave the suburb.
Camden was a nice township when I last visited. They have a splendid little semi-rural environment with an interesting history. It’s also close to transport and forever threatened by over-development. Whilst I favour preserving the theme and flavour of such quaint townships on the outskirts of Sydney, it would be a shame to see it isolated from the rest of Sydney, walled up and gated from intrusion. If everyone did that we’d have a lot of unnecessary fear and loathing of the people “outside”, which of course would be everyone else.