In the early hours of Tuesday 16 December 2014, the 16 hour siege at the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place, Sydney came to an end. Unfortunately, innocent lives were lost, as well as innocent people injured in the dramatic ending. The world is still unsure on what the reasons were for taking of hostages, and what exactly sparked the ending. But one thing is for certain, in times of trouble, we do see the ugly and beautiful side of humans.
One man took hostages, one man caused this siege and the rest of the world needs to remember that: it was one man who could be referred to as a psychopath. This incident is not a reflection of everyone else who follows a religion or comes from a particular race. Unfortunately, a small minority have taken the opportunity to take this incident to fuel hatred of certain groups, and have taken to the streets and social media to show this ugly side of human nature. However, I do not want to concentrate on the ugly side, what I personally love is the ray of light that come from this incident.
A young Sydney woman, Rachael Jacobs, inspired the #illridewithyou campaign after posting a moving Facebook / Twitter status about her encounter with a Muslim woman earlier in the day.
“I ran after her at the train station. I said ‘put it back on. I’ll walk with u’. She started to cry and hugged me for about a minute – then walked off alone.”
This status quickly circulated and the ridewithyou hashtag was born. It amassed almost 120,000 tweets on Monday evening, with @TwitterAU declaring 40,000 mentions of #illridewithyou in two hours.
This shows that the majority of people are caring, are thoughtful and are compassionate. We as humans should not tarnish a whole group because of the actions of one person. All over social media there is the tarnishing going on, but shining through is this campaign and that should be the focus for everyone.
My deepest sympathies go to the family and friends of the two people who lost their lives in this hostage incident. My thoughts are also with all the hostages and I hope that they will be able to overcome this nightmare. They have the love and support of the world, hopefully they can see the compassion and focus on the good things too.
The authorities will be going over the siege with a fine-tooth comb and work out logistics of how a similar incident can be avoided or stopped in the future. No doubt there will be countless planning meetings that will look at everything. They know what they are doing and that planning is in their capable hands. The rest of us can focus on the beautiful side that is happening in social media and not let what ever message that one man had, get any traction.