What is it with Anthony Mundine?

I’m not sure I’ll ever understand the fascination with Anthony Mundine. I don’t have a problem with Mundine, but something about him rubs me the wrong way. A lot of people say that, but then many people like him as well and consider him a good representative for Aboriginal and Islamic society. Now there’s been talk of Mundine going into politics in a few years, and that’s what I’m uncertain about; if that happens, it could prove very divisive.

Mundine is obviously a talented sportsman. You don’t make a successful jump from league to boxing without a lot of skill, and probably a heap of determination and focus to go with it. But it’s his language I’m getting tired of. There’s no trace of humility in anything he says and it’s like public opinion has no weight with him. Just the other week, after beating Soliman, he seemed to disregard the spectators who’d paid to watch him by saying “I’m a two-time world champion – you all can’t say shit.” (The Sun Herald, March 11)

He’s cocky and that’s the persona we expect, but it’s only a minor example. There have also been the occasions when Mundine has said that the United States brought on itself the 9/11 attacks; when he’s called league selectors racist, and called John Howard a coward. He’s said that Aborigines suffered a Holocaust and that Australia should learn from how Germany re-established itself after the Holocaust. And that’s not even mentioning his refusal to wear the Australian flag, or the burning of the Union Jack and photos of PM Howard for his music video for Platinum Ryder. Plus his lyrics, which are just as inflammatory.

His language is obnoxious and attention-seeking, catering to the lowest denominator. Mundine shocks, causing outrage to elicit a reaction: it’s the language of the mob. What’s dangerous is that, like with any mob, he can’t always control the reaction.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion; the problem is that these are important issues Mundine is talking about and he comes across (to me at least) as sounding ignorant. From someone who might enter politics in the future, that’s not a good combination. Even if your views differ from the mainstream, it’s important to be able to express those views intelligently so people can consider your viewpoint. I’m not sure that’s a quality Mundine possesses.

And yet, I do respect Anthony Mundine. Whatever he says, he backs up. Much of his boxing rhetoric is pure showmanship, sure, but he still wins, so it’s hard to disprove. He brings in thousands of people to watch his fights. But more importantly he’s a big donor to various charities, sets a good example for children by neither drinking or smoking. He genuinely cares. He’s one of the few people who lives by what he says, and in these times that’s a rare thing.

So what should we make of Anthony Mundine? He’s become such a polarising figure in the public, should we just ignore his rhetoric? My feeling is no, because he does represent a portion of society which feels the same way – it’s important to be aware of their point of view. That doesn’t mean we should take Mundine too seriously, though, either; rather it’s part of his persona and should be taken that way. If he does run for politics later, that’ll be different; but for now I think it’s all part of the show.

6 thoughts on “What is it with Anthony Mundine?

  1. You say you respect this 1/4 Aboriginal arse clown, eleven Australians were murdered on September 11, please enlighten me on what pearls of wisdom he has dropped into your lap that have made you agree with his “Islamic verdict” that they and the other 2900 + victims from all over the world deserved to die in the name of this thing they worship that they call allah.

  2. I said I respect Mundine’s work for charities; as I made clear in the post, I don’t respect his views on 9/11 and other issues. How you can read my post and take the exact opposite from it is beyond me.

    And your comments about Islam are insulting and say much more about you than they do me.

  3. “And your comments about Islam are insulting and say much more about you than they do me.”

    W T F ?

    Are you aware that if you were living in say, the Islamic Utopia of Iran for instance, that you would not be able to write this Blog without every word been subject to Sharia Law and as such you could be imprisoned at any time the Holy Men of Islam ordered.

    But you just keep getting a free ride here in Australia showing us all how tolerant you are of the most intolerant bunch of Godless savages ever to breath air on the planet.

    Beard stroking arse clowns are usually first against the wall come the revolution, what makes you think they will make an exception for you?

  4. I’m entirely aware of that. I am also aware that I’m living in Australia and there are many thousands of wonderful, peaceful Muslims living in Australia – as there are in countries throughout the world – who are as Australian as I am; Muslims who vote, watch the cricket, follow the footy, and more than anything want peace and respect our way of life. Surely you must have seen the protests by Palestinians in Sydney and Canberra over the Gaza attacks this weekend? They were peaceful and unless I missed something were not calling for an intifada against Israel, the US, Australia or our way of life… all they wanted was peace and an end to the violence and conducted themselves in a dignified manner.

    I understand the dangers of extremism very well but I believe it is true for all beliefs; all faiths have their share of extremists, including Christianity and Judaism, and they need to be confronted – but I don’t believe those extremists speak for all of Islam. The followers of bin Laden, Hamas and others are not the moderates that speak for the Arab world and need to be defeated but it is not reasonable to hold the whole of the Arab world to account for the sins of the minority. Should modern Germans still be held to account for the Holocaust too?

    And if the most “intolerant bunch of Godless savages ever to breath air on the planet” were responsible for giving us works like The Arabian Nights, Mir Haydar’s Miraj-nama, the Taj Mahal and art by Zarah Hussain, then I’ll gladly stand in support of their rights. Intolerance is true for both sides. If believing that makes me a “beard stroker” and destined to die in a revolution, then so be it.

    Please don’t comment again. Your comments are not welcome on my blog.

  5. Thanks, Priya. Aussie just struck a nerve as unfortunately there’s still an undercurrent of bigotry in Australia that continues to distress me, as we saw with the Cronulla riots several years ago. I came close to deleting the comments but thought it was more important to address what Aussie said, whether he/she was just looking to stir up trouble or not. I find this kind of intolerance reprehensible and as you said, in the end it will only create more Mundines. Ironically I don’t think Aussie can see that. I appreciate your support and kind words, as always.

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