by Yair Frid, April 26, 2018
Another racist attack has been registered, this time the target was the Macedonian community in Melbourne. In the past weeks at least two buildings were vandalised with violent and racist graffiti. Fortunately, the graffiti removal in this case was prompt and performed by the local council and police.
The first attack was directed to the Lalor United Sloga Football Club building, in the north of Melbourne, where graffiti with the phrase “death to you all” shocked the community. A member of the club committee, Sash Nikolovski, said that the offence was very unfortunate because the club hosts at least 350 junior kids who enjoy playing football as a leisure activity. His son, a five-year-old child, is part of the club members and he considers that young children should not be exposed to racial slurs like those, and that politics should not be mixed with sports.
The second attack was in Preston, in the Macedonian Orthodox Church of St Nikola. In this case, the graffiti was a reference to the capital city of the Republic of Macedonia with the wording “f*** Skopje”. The Father of the church, Mile Taleski, condemned the act, saying it shows disgrace and barbarism from the offenders, who he considers, must lack any spirituality and are only trying to build up tension between the Greek and Macedonian communities. He also mentioned that it becomes really difficult trying to explain to the young ones the reasons of this kind of vandalism.
The tension between the two communities becomes more relevant since their respective governments are currently trying to end a discussion regarding the name of the Republic of Macedonia that has been on for decades. Even representatives of the Greek community of the Macedonia region in Greece condemned the offences and are appealing for mutual respect in a multicultural society.
And while other reports of graffiti incidents occurred, including displays with anti-Greek graffiti, the local council and police acted right away to begin with the graffiti removal works, something that becomes crucial in cases such as violent tags because they can bring more cases of violence and also can make people feel unsafe within any community, plus the fact that offensive graffiti should not be tolerated.