I’ve woken to the news that the siege has ended, with two hostages having been killed. The gunmen is dead. Several people are injured. My heart feels heavy but I will leave these words that I wrote last night as they are, because even with this terrible outcome, now is not the time to let fear divide.
Have you seen the beautiful thing happening on twitter?
In light of the terrifying siege that is still ongoing at the time of writing these words, this was shared:
— Michael James (@MichaelJames_TV)
Then this happened:
If you reg take the #373 bus b/w Coogee/MartinPl, wear religious attire, & don’t feel safe alone: I’ll ride with you. @ me for schedule.— Sir Tessa (@sirtessa)
Maybe start a hashtag? What’s in #illridewithyou?— Sir Tessa (@sirtessa)
So now a hashtag is now trending:
Original photo taken by Carl at Lost Hero Creative
The idea being that anyone who may wear Islamic cultural dress who is afraid to catch public transport alone for fear of backlash against them need not worry because there are a whole bunch of people wanting to ride with them.
This is about solidarity, acceptance and removing blame from people who haven’t done anything wrong.
This siege, it’s terrifying. I’ve been watching updates all day long. I’m so scared for those involved. I can’t even imagine how stressful and terrifying it must be for the hostages and also for those trying to sort this out- all the police and emergency services. Like everyone, I hope it ends peacefully and soon.
Yes, the guy in there holding all those people has a Muslim flag but that’s literally all we know about his ideology. Yet half the internet is full of people condemning the whole of the Islamic faith for this man’s terrible actions.
What exactly does that do to help? I’ve written before about Islamophobia. I’m guessing it will come up again in future, but for now, I just wanted to say something to those using this as an excuse to bring down hate on Islamic people.
Your hatred helps no one. Your calls for violence and discrimination against ordinary people make you the extremest you claim to be fighting against.
After seeing so much online today from people mocking and making light of this situation, this idea of riding with people as a show of support and strength is so heartening.
I have read much of the vitriol online today directed at Muslim people and you know what? No. Just no. I reject all that.
We are Australians.
We are a nation built on many cultures, many faiths, many colours and many languages.
We are about being mates and backing the underdog.
We are about generosity and offering welcome.
We have boundless plains to bloody well share. Do you know that bit of the National Anthem?
Let’s not have another Cronulla Riot. Let’s not let the bigots win. Let’s not let their voices drown us out. Show kindness. Offer welcome. Be generous.
Let the worst bring out our best.
Ride with someone.