In December 2005, Sydney was subject to one of its worst racial riots in history. Thousands of White-Anglo Australians lined Cronulla Beach in preparation for ‘Leb and Wog bashing day’. Anyone believed to be Arab, Muslim or of Middle Eastern appearance was subject to racial and physical abuse. These riots were mediated internationally and painted Australia as a racial nation fractured by multicultural policies. In 2009, film maker George Basha released his debut local film The Combination. The film uses the Cronulla Riots as a precedence of how Arab and Muslim Australians have been represented throughout Australian and Western media for decades. Thus, The Combination centres on the exclusion and segregation of Arab and Muslims from the Australian mainstream. This paper aims to analyse Basha’s film The Combination in the context of ‘otherness’ by discoursing multicultural politics. As such, this paper looks at the development of Arab and Muslim ‘otherness’ through media demonization. Furthermore, this study correlates with multiple others which expose the media politics involved in the reporting of Arab and Muslim affairs. The Combination foregrounds much of this and blurs boundaries of fiction/non-fiction, real/reel and fact/experience. As a result, this film is about the migrations and belongings of a demonized race. The Combination shows how local Australian films possess agency in challenging common media and orientalist discourses.
Branka Prodanovic, Macquarie University, Australia
Stream: Cultural Studies - Orientalism
This paper is part of the NACMFCS2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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