Today in Sydney, in the city I have lived my 23 years, a hate-filled man took siege over a cafe. Stopping Australia and locking the worlds attention on a little chocolate shop. Ending in the violent death of three people and the trauma of a city.
Today I cried.
Not because I knew the hostages.
Not because I am fearful or angry.
Not because I was there in Martin place.
Not because I am Muslim and fear the social repercussions of this one lone man.
I cried for the loss of innocence – for the victims, for a city and for it’s citizens.
I cried because for me this has never happened in my home, yet for millions around the world this is a daily burden and today I felt only part of that horror.
I cried because the world stopped for this tragedy in Australia, yet doesn’t blink for the 126 children killed by a school bombing in Pakistan.
I cried for the fight Australia now faces in softening angry voices, diffusing racial tension, and stilling religious vilification.
I cried because while our eyes were fixed on a cafe in Sydney, the Australian Government quietly went about stripping the world poorest of another $3.7billion.
… and I cried for so many reasons I myself am yet to fully understand.
The siege in Sydney affected me and many I know in a strange, weird and confusingly exhausting way. Some days the world just stops. There was a eerie stillness in my home and my work. We called friends over for the comfort of community and the solace of a hand to hold. As my friends and I gathered on our little couch in suburban Sydney to watch the unchanging news after so many hours, none of us quite fully understood our thoughts and feelings. As we sat, holding each other that little bit tighter, none of us could express our feelings, many of us were silent – yet we acknowledged the worry and sadness. A worry now present as grief.
Today we are grieving, we are confused, and we cry. And amidst this grief and confusion let us not surrender ourselves to fear and hatred.
Let us hug our friends and families a little tighter. Let us maintain soft hearts. Savour the blessing of freedom that little more eagerly. And allow this to become a time representative of Australia’s compassion, our strength as a community and our hope as a nation.
I hold onto the hope that the beautiful and peaceful city I call home, will despite today’s trauma remain alive and full of hope for a brighter more peaceful tomorrow.