Joe sec guard-on-Brisbane-Train

He simply goes by the name Joe.

Until October 2nd, he was a humble train security guard working the graveyard shift on Brisbane’s Indooroopilly line.

When he saw a young male passenger with his feet on a seat, which is not permitted on Australian trains, he asked him to put them down.

The ensuing drama led to a racist tirade which, when filmed and posted online, almost caused an internet meltdown.

The passenger, who appeared to be intoxicated, was generous with racial slurs and epithets, screaming at the guard to “Learn some f***ing English, because this is Australia, c***, I can’t understand you!”

The tirade deteriorated further, with the attacking passenger saying to Joe: “Do you even have a citizenship, you f***ing n***er?”

The man continued to berate the security guard with more slurs, as well as abusing other train users during the five-minute rant. He also challenged the guard to a fight.

During the video, which was posted on social media over the weekend, other passengers can be seen looking on in disgust throughout the video, with two men stepping in to try to get the man off the train.

What’s amazing however, was the grace and composure of Joe, in the face of such hatred.

He kept his cool, calmly and politely repeating what he was requesting of the passenger. As the tirade heated, and other passengers on the train spoke up in Joe’s defence, he himself stood between the attacker and his defenders, to prevent any violence.

The manner in which he stood firm and still while being insulted to the core of his identity, was incredibly commendable. In that moment, he embodied the self-control, dignity and spirit of our African warrior and chieftain forefathers, refusing to stoop to the stupidity and ignorance of youth.

When the video was posted on social media, a Facebook page was set up to find the man behind the tirade, gaining hundreds of followers in four hours and bringing a strong backlash from users. Australian rapper Fortafy also shared the video, condemning the attack. Within hours it had been shared almost 10,000 times.

The Australian government and police were swift to act. Queensland’s Premier Campbell Newman condemned the attack and spoke to Joe, about the incident, telling him he showed admirable restraint during the attack and that he was absolutely disgusted by what Joe was subjected to.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott also condemned the tirade, calling it “un-Australian” while Queensland Rail praised the guard for his cool behaviour during the “appalling” incident saying they congratulated the security officer on his response and attempt to safely de-escalate the situation. They subsequently offered their support to Joe over the incident, including charging the perpetrators on his behalf.

How many of us would hold our cool in the face of such disrespect? It begs the question.

For his leading example, Joe, from Africa, is our hero this week. Thank you for representing us so well.

The full video of the October 2 racist rant can be seen here(WARNING: Offensive content)

STORY UPDATE:

The Courier Mail* reports that Josphat Mkhwananzi, the security guard who stared down a vile racist rant on a Brisbane train blames the poor upbringing of today’s children for the shocking attitudes of some teens.

Speaking for the first time since a video of the attack went viral,  Josapahat says he will not judge the actions of his accused teenage attacker Abdel-Kader Russell-Boumzar, instead the 56-year-old said anti-social behaviour was caused by the way children were raised.  “If you can’t teach your kids the right thing … kids are ambassadors of their families,” Mr Mkhwananzi said. “I can’t blame the kids, I can’t blame the government.’’

“If you are a normal human being, you must not be pushed or pulled by the situation,’’ Mr Mkhwananzi said when asked about how he managed to remain calm. He also played down concerns about racism and has already returned to work. “I have never seen any other country where this is not (happening) … All countries are having their own issues. The Australian community are having their own issues. I’m not there to judge the Australian government or their people.”

What a man! Still our hero!

(Police have since charged two men with the incident. A Facebook page purporting to be that of the alleged offender featured contradicting comments regarding the incident, with one post claiming he was “proud to be white” before another apologised for the attack. It was followed up hours later with an apology, and a claim that the earlier post was not made by the alleged offender.)

* Click here to read the full interview The Courier Mail had with Josphat.

About The Author

Afritorial

Neva is a storyteller and media strategist with a background in PR, film, advertising and digital marketing who is passionate about technology, new media and the endless possibilities of the social and mobile sphere. Read more about her on our 'About Us' page.

6 Responses

  1. Amanda

    I saw and listened to no more than 10 seconds of this video, and chose to hear no more. Firstly, as an Australian, I am utterly embarrassed and appalled at the behaviour of this ignorant person, but most importantly I am deeply hurt at the treatment of such an honourable man. The fact that this video was uploaded to social media disappoints me and other than having their 2 minutes of unworthy fame, I hope it never comes to light again. To Joe, please accept my apology for this disgusting behaviour, and I take my hat off to you for maintaining your composure throughout this ordeal, and if I was to meet you in person I not only would be honoured to shake your hand, but would give you the hug you deserve. You have Australia’s support behind you as we do not tolerate nor accept this kind of behaviour and it’s extremely upsetting that we, as a country, may be portrayed as a racist country because of this worthless person. Please be assured that everyone I have spoken to, who has seen part or the entire video, are extremely embarrassed that this has happened on our home soil. We need more Joe’s in this world, and less scum like the one (but two – including his friend) who filmed it. I hope Australia’s justice system comes down hard on these two scums and make an example of them.

    Reply
    • Afritorial
      Afritorial

      Thank you Amanda for your heartfelt reply. I’m African by birth but have lived very happily in Australia for 18 years with only one incident of racism many years ago, so when I heard about Joe’s attack, I was equally appalled. The Australia I know is made up of people like yourself – accepting, humble and welcoming. It’s always the few rotten apples that let us down. However the real lesson from this incident is that if we were all to live out the beauty of grace and strength of character that Joe embodied, this world would be a better place. Also that parents really need to buckle down and teach their children respect and honour of others, no matter of race, creed, sexuality, religion, etc. *Selah*

      Reply
  2. Daryl

    When I first saw this video, I was ashamed to be white and Australian, but I changed my mind by the end of it.
    I changed my mind because I tan easily, and Joe is an Australian.
    Joe, sadly you are a better man than I could ever be. I would dearly love to meet you and shake your hand.

    Reply
  3. Philippa Goodbourn

    Well done Josphat. Thank you for being there. Thank you for embracing all that we are looking for in role models and authority figures. May you life be long and blessed.

    Reply
  4. Tororiro Chaza

    I have written a book on racism. It is called “Confessions Of a Racist” available on Amazon.com. It is a story of how I grew up under Rhodesian apartheid and how this made me a racist in retort. I then confess this and urge for reconcilliation. A racist is a tormented person.

    Reply
  5. Myra

    i really commend joe for his handling of this attack but I have to say I dissagre with the statement that this is unaustralian! This is one of the most rasist countries I have lived in. We have a government that actively turns away refugees and encourages a culture of distaste for people who have been tortured and live in fear for their lives. No wonder we have kids with no value for their fellow Australians of different ethnitic backgrounds!!
    This should be a wake up call to shift the undercurrent of racism that is rife in this country!!

    Reply

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