Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Trying to make sense of it all.

This week has been a harrowing one, for Australia, for Pakistan.

We all know about the siege in Sydney. On Monday, Australia watched in horror to the same newsreel repeated all day. Operational tactics rightly dictated that there was very little information disseminated about the siege while it was in progress.

We woke up the next day to images of the police storming the cafe, terrified hostages running from the building, ambulance officers performing CPR. The shocking news that two hostages died. It was heartbreaking watching the news in the morning.

It has taken me a few days to get my head around things.

Basically, it was a bad man doing a bad thing. Bad men often have a rap sheet. There is talk about whether this could have been prevented if he were not out on bail. That's probably a very valid question. I can think of a few instances where bailed or paroled criminals have gone on to commit murder. We could be more swift to incarcerate, or at least watch these people more closely. I would imagine that there would be some logistical issues with that, namely that the jails would be full. We can't pre-emptively jail people before they have been found guilty. That may not even work.

This was an absolutely outrageous act, but fortunately, it is exceedingly rare, compared with most other countries. It is tempting to ask "what did we do wrong", but the better question would be "how can we continue to do right?"

Why is this sort of violent crime against strangers (as opposed to by a partner, that's a different kettle of fish) so rare?

We all remember the horror of the Port Arthur Massacre back in 1996. After the event, then-Prime Minister John Howard very swiftly acted to tightly control access to automatic and semi-automatic weapons. So that deals with the access issue.

We are a relatively wealthy country, and democratic. There is not the gross income inequality we see in North and South America, or Africa.  Nobody needs to commit crime to get enough money to eat or live. There are those who might wish to harm us as a country, and these people are stopped by our functional law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Fear and hate breed violence. We have our share of bigots and xenophobes, but this is counterbalanced by a large part of the community that believe that we do well if we embrace other cultures. Even if we don't embrace, we tolerate happily. We could have felt incredibly helpless as we watched the news on Monday, instead people took action and proclaimed hashtagillridewithyou. Love and compassion are the best antidotes to hate and violence, and we definitely took that route on Monday.

Short of pre-emptively locking up every sociopath, we need to keep up the good work we are doing, and ensure that the social checks are kept in place.

Now, the horrors in Pakistan. 141 people, mostly children, massacred in a school, by the Taliban.

I can't get my head around why anyone would do that.


Christmas is almost upon us.
We are having a family event on Christmas eve. Christmas day, it is just the two of us - members of my family have work or other events. We haven't had any invitations. I felt quite sad about that. I had been hoping that there may be a little one around to spoil next Christmas, but what will be will be, and hoping too hard will put too much pressure on things.

I have embraced the situation by reserving us a night in a hotel in the city for christmas, with a big buffet breakfast. Then in the evening we will drink wine and eat cheese. It will be a day of rest, we are both pooped. We are off to NZ after Christmas, and we are immensely looking forward to it.

The events of this week have reminded me to be grateful for the wonderful people that I have around me.

If we don't talk before, a safe and blessed festive period to you and yours.


  1. Merry Christmas! Sorry to read that you feel the absence of a small person in your life.

    Australia is by and large a democratic, tolerant country. We continue to examine our attitudes and beliefs. The fair go remains an integral part of our psyche.

    Hopefully, the Coroner's report into the siege will highlight areas that need change, eg 'domestic' violence is no different from 'public' violence. The police may not have done such a sterling job as they are busy telling us that they did. Three dead, four injured and the only police injury is a one officer with a bullet graze. Are they serious, what were their KPIs? All the hostages who escaped did so of their own initiative not due to any police action. Review of bail, firearm licences etc.

    1. I take your point re the police. Though storming the building may have lead to more deaths. Thanks for your comment- ps can I get a name/ nickname :) x

  2. I am very much struggling to make sense of it all - both Sydney and Pakistan. Maybe that's the point? It doesn't make sense and, in a civilised world, nor should it.

    Interesting comment from anon above - I think the Police are stuck in a very difficult situation and interesting that they received praise from both the US and UK re their response. I really think they are damned if they do and damned if they don't. I also think we know so little about what really happened that it is hard to judge.

    Christmas is a funny time - I generally love it at the moment as we are at the two smallish children stage of life and they are super excited. Having said that, with having to prepare a dinner for 30 tonight for our staff party, having 25 on Christmas Eve and then 8 for lunch on Christmas Day your hotel concept seems very attractive right now!! I think it is a matter of making the most of whatever circumstances you are in any given year (and I think I have tried all variations!).

    Have a wonderful wonderful Christmas Cilla.

    1. Best of Luck with all the cooking! Hope you get plenty of help x

  3. Hello

    I read your blog every post you make (I think I found you from Faux Fuchsia) although I do not 'follow' any of the many blogs I do read and very very rarely comment. I enjoy your writing, your educated responses but written in somewhat lay terms with a lot of compassion and empathy, and also your ability to show thru your writing you're ability to see two sides of a coin so to speak.
    I hope you keep up with your blog in the New Year. Good luck with your hopes for a small one next year (I do know how the sorrow feels from my own experience, although after many years eventual success and love from two now adults, of course still my babies!)
    Merry Xmas

    1. welcome to my corner of the blogosphere, Fiona. Thankyou for your lovely comment. All the very best of the festive season to you and yours x

  4. Merry Christmas, dear C!

    Thank you for your friendship and support.

    May 2015 deliver you everything you wish for.

    SSG xxx

  5. thankyou cilla, how beautifully succinct! ... my sentiments also!
    send love into the universe! I will be returning to your blog in the future!
    wishing you everything beautiful for Christmas and the 2015! ... love m:)X

  6. thankyou cilla, so succinct! ... my sentiments also!
    I will be returning to your blog in the future!
    I wish you everything beautiful for Christmas and 2015 ... much love m:)X

    1. sorry cilla ... that went through twice! ;0x