As you may know, the city I currently live in, where my home, friends and family are, was besieged by terror yesterday.
You probably know them already, but I feel it’s therapeutic to recite them here, on my blog. A lone gunman came into a favourite Lindt Café in our central business hub, with a gun, a machete and a sword. He held 17 people against their will, forced them to post videos with his demands and hold up a flag with Arabic writing in the Lindt store window.
At 3.37pm, three of the people being held hostage managed to escape. At the time, we didn’t know if they were released or not. It was later discovered that because he was alone, he was fast losing control of the situation and they managed to escape out the front and side doors.
At 5pm, two more people escaped. I imagine he was getting quite agitated at this point, and this was when I started to really fret about remaining people. Someone as insane as he was, would no doubt act without any thought for consequences and he placed no value on human life.
When we went to bed that night, nothing else had happened. It was just…quiet. And dark. We waited anxiously the whole night, for some kind of peaceful resolution. It felt wrong that I should be able to go to sleep in my own bed, with my loved ones safe and sound, while those poor souls stuck in the café didn’t know if they were going to survive the night. The poor family members who didn’t know if their loved ones would ever come home.
My heart breaks that two people didn’t survive. Both died saving other people. Katrina Dawson, a 38 year old mother of three and barrister, died protecting her pregnant friend. Tori Johnson, a 34 year old man, was the café manager. He tried to wrestle the gun out of the gunman’s hands when he fell asleep.
These people are the epitome of our Australian spirit. We’re mates. We’d do anything for our mates. We protect them. Care for them. Care about them, even if we don’t know them.
Since the siege ended in the early hours of this morning, the Australian people have shown such an amazing, united spirit. Have you seen the hundreds of flowers being left at Martin Place? It’s overwhelming and it makes me incredibly proud. It
re-inforces the fact that we’re one group. We don’t care if you’re Muslim, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist or whatever, if you’re Australian, you’re Australian.
The lone gunman was a nutcase, and does not, and never will represent the views of the Muslim people, who are also Australian and will always be welcome in this country.
I’m proud to be Australian. We stand united.