As many of us heard/read it in the news a Muslim gunman took hostages in Sidney, Australia yesterday eventually leaving two people and himself dead and four wounded by the time the hostage situation ended. These are tragic news but Australia has shown real courage and humanity by standing up for muslims, innocent Muslims by offering them help in their daily commute. Thousands of people joined the impromptu movement showing their effort to stand up against terrorism, crime and prejudices. Usually after an attack like this the wrath and revenge take violent turns on the related communities, in this case on Muslim communities who had nothing to do with the whole drama. Yet I can imagine many feel threatened so Australian people offered their support to those who are wearing religious attire on public transport and may fear of abuse or attack or feel threatened. It shows people start realising one madman cannot represent a whole religion and does not show the true face of Islam. I’m not an expert of Islam or the Koran but as far as I know it’s all about love and peace and respect and following a pure lifestyle to be rewarded in the end. It’s not about jihad and killing people and war and hate and wrath. Not more than like Christianity or Judaism. We don’t consider any of those truly hateful so why do we judge Muslim people based on terrorists’ acts? Or do we think like Ku Klux Klan represents whole of United States of America? Or every Japanese people is a member of the yakuza? Or everybody in Naples is a maffia-member? Or every family in Columbia belongs to a drug-cartel? Or do we say every person in Israel is the like of Yigal Amir (the assassin who murdered Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s Prime Minister, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate who worked towards a peaceful world)? No, we don’t. Yet that’s how we treat Muslims. Because all Muslims are terrorists, right? No, they are not. They are people like you and me and your friends and neighbours. There are good and bad people amongst them. That madman is responsible for the death of a mother, for the death of a son and for the lifelong trauma for all the surviving hostages. Not the Muslims in collective. One madman who happened to be Muslim.
I’ve been thinking since yesterday morning what to write and all I had in my mind was anger and devastation and I couldn’t find any peaceful thoughts and I didn’t want to have an angry outburst against violence as that would have been violent and violence cannot bring peace into the hearts and minds of people so I wouldn’t have been different from any terrorist, war-monger, hate-speaker or that gunman in Sidney so I decided not to do anything until I find a peaceful way.
All my respect goes to the people of Australia who were able to overcome their fear and hate and anger to support those who might have been abused innocently cumulating further injustice in our not too peaceful world. That’s how we stand up against hate and terrorism, together in peace and not with further violence.
Thank you for those who started it to show a way towards a better world, a better life and to show leaders a way to solve all the issues. Thank you for being human. Thank you for showing a peaceful way and courage for all those who suffer in silence. Thank you #illridewithyou
(coverphoto is from indybay.org of the peace sign demonstration in Budapest, Hungary in 2004 where I was an organiser…)