What is more interesting to me is the response of everyday Australians to the threat of terrorism and why it won’t work in Australia.
Even though there was a media blackout to prevent the lone gunman getting any information of what was happening outside, the news of yesterday’s hostage situation at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place in Sydney’s central business district went global.
The siege ended this morning after the manager of the cafe attempted to wrestle the shotgun from the gunman. During the scuffle, shots were fired and the police moved in. The end result is that, sadly, the manager and another hostage are dead and a number of other hostages and a police officer were injured.
The (now deceased) gunman was acting alone and was known to authorities. He had previously written poisonous letters to the families of Australian soldiers who died while performing their duty. Last year he was charged with being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife. Most recently, he was charged with more than 50 allegations of indecent and sexual assault.
If you want more details on the siege itself, you just need to look at any of the Australian media outlets, such as the Sydney Morning Herald.
What I wanted to post about the siege was the news behind the news….. I saw this article on TechCrunch and it highlighted two great reactions to the events.
The first is a Facebook post by a Sydneysider, Jason Maggs, who explained that Australian “Mateship” will always triumph over terrorism. Have a read of what he said:
I just caught a train home through the central Sydney line. The mood was very different to my usual monday afternoon trip home.
Less people were looking down at their phones. As you walked past complete strangers they gave you a little nod and a smile.
As I got off at central station I saw two grown men in suits run into each other, they obviously knew one and other. They gave each other a manly hug and asked “how ya goin?”… they both responded with “Yeah… shit day but good, I’m going good mate.”
I realised on my trip home that terrorism WILL NEVER work in Australia. We are not scared. We are not terrorised. We are gravely concerned about our brothers and sisters in that coffee shop. But you will not win. You will never be able to tear apart this nation.
Because we have a weapon stronger than yours.
Stronger than your religious beliefs, stronger than your hatred, stronger than your pathetic fear mongering, stronger than your misguided violence, stronger than you.
We are Australians and we have a secret weapon you will never have or understand…mateship.
We are a nation of mates who will never be broken by the actions of a cowardice few.
What I realised on the way home was that in your attempt to scare our nation you have galvanised our mateship.
#nowletourmatesgo #mates #sydneysiege #secretweapon #youfailed #straya
— at Sydney
The second is the creation of the #IllRideWithYou (and #IWillRideWithYou) Twitter hashtag. The idea started with Rachael Jacobs and the hashtag was nominated by Tessa Kum. The thinking behind the hashtag is that no one should fear persecution while using public transport because of their faith and there are people who will accompany fearful passengers to help make them feel safe.
Both of these reactions, just show how terrorism or politically motivated violence just strengthens the community rather than the intended effect to fragment it. This is not new, many other countries have shown a strengthening of their “spirit” as a result of acts of violence.
Please let your thoughts and support be with the families of the victims and with the other hostages who have been through a rough ordeal.
PS: Thanks to those who have contacted me (as an Australian) to show their concern and support.
This article was originally posted on http://www.winthropdc.com/blog.