THE article “Just kill Westerners” (The Advertiser, 14/10/14) drew an interesting parallel with events in South Australian history. Like “Muslims” of today, being defined as a “German” in South Australia during the first quarter of the 1900s was the gross simplification of a complex identity. Confession, class, political ideology and region of origin were the cornerstones of the many disparate communities formed by “Germans” upon arrival in South Australia. With both the Boer War and the growing militarism of Imperial Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm II, suspicions heightened over German colonists’ allegiances. Given that the outcomes of this “German” label included expulsion from representative office, closing of social clubs, and internment on Torrens Island, we could do well to ponder our history.
– Published 17/10/14 as ‘Suspicious Minds’.