16 December 2014

Thoughts on the Sydney siege

Deep breath.

A huge 24 hours for Sydney.  Acts of violence like this are all encompassing and yet nothing to do with most of us all at the same time.

I really really hoped for a good outcome - no fatalities.  But that hasn't happened.  And that fills me with sorrow.  Senseless deaths always do.  People are always missed by somebody.  A parent. A friend. A sibling. A lover. A child.

And we have seen the worst of Sydney and the best of Sydney online.  And we have seen the very worst of media both here in Australia and overseas.

We are told that the killer in the Lindt store identified with the ISIS cult in the Middle East.  And that may well be true. But Martin Bryant identified with no-one, anywhere.

We need to make sure this story doesn't become more than it is.  Because it's already big and horrible in its basic truth.

The police have cited it as the act of an individual with a personal agenda. A known criminal.

We need to remember that if we become hateful or fearful 'he wins'. That is the purpose of 'acts of terrorism' - the acts of a few permanently impacting the way the world works.

Our challenge is to respond by impacting the world in a way that is contrary to hate.  Acts of unity like #Illridewithyou demonstrate that for the majority of people, their humanity is always at the fore.

We would all do well to remember that. The majority of people are good people.

Don't be afraid to actively reach out.  Do something in memory of Tori Johnson or Katrina Dawson.  Remember their names. Do something to help the other hostages who will live with this long after it's immediacy recedes for the rest of us. Send them love, prayers, support - whatever works for you.

And remember these three quotes from Martin Luther King.

1. We must constantly build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.

2. Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend

3. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Choose love. Choose unity. And always, always choose kindness. 

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