On #sydneysiege

This morning Sydney awoke to the devastating news that two innocent people had lost their lives, caught in an involuntary ideological skirmish and gutlessly used to satiate a degenerate’s reprobate agenda. Some number of others were injured, including a police officer, who has since been discharged from hospital.

Firstly, a reminder that we don’t know everything. Be careful what you believe and repeat. Words have weight, and while reposting ostensibly banal pieces may seem inconsequential, make sure you consider all the potential outcomes of viral content that will likely surface today.

Secondly, this is not a time for battle. The battle has already been fought, and won. Though there were tragic and unforgivable losses, perpetuating the sentiment of retaliation voiced by certain groups/leagues which have popped up on Facebook, Twitter and sundry Blogs is caustic and counter-productive. I, like many of you, know at least one person who was inside, and the natural response is to demand justice. But the person who committed this disgrace has been killed, and seeking informal ad-hoc justice elsewhere for this incident is wrong and intellectually dishonest. Whatever your opinion of Islam as a religion, don’t take one maniac’s behaviour as an excuse to conduct yourself in a violent way. That’s what he wanted, and we’re better than that. “To be good, it is not enough to be better than the worst” – Seneca.

Thirdly, unqualified, vehement thanks to the dedicated, vigilant and professional members of NSW Police Force, NSW Ambulance and the NSW Fire Bridge. In 2014 it is popular to condemn every police action as an act of brutality or unnecessarily violent. I’m sick of hearing the filth uttered by some individuals about police, especially online. I propose Emergency Services Week. If you see a Copper, Ambo or Firey, thank them. If it’s a Copper on beat, from any branch, I urge you to thank them for their service, professionalism and protection. If they’re allowed to, offer to shake their hand. NSWPF are no doubt the best in the world, and performed meticulously throughout the operation, especially after the rapid escalation. If you see an Ambo, thank them for providing you with the assurance that in an emergency, they have the training, care and skill to take care of you, give them a nod or a handshake, but certainly don’t set up tripods on the road in front of their ambulance so they have to dodge you while ferrying critically injured patients. That would be really stupid. See a Firey, same drill. Of course, many more people and organisations committed their time and efforts to help secure the safety of the victims and, in whatever small way, to assuage the anguish of tormented families. Thank you to Bill Shorten MP for adopting bipartisanship and pledging unanimous support to the Government at this time, bringing at least a little comfort in unanimity to the Australian public. Your leadership in opposition was deeply appreciated yesterday. Thank you to Tony Abbott for your calm speech which reassured us that the Government was on our side and was taking it carefully, as well as asking us to continue with life as normal and to listen to the advice of police. I’d also like to thank our other leaders, likeTanya Plibersek, Federal Member for Sydney, for really showing us how great it can be to have politicians. Nobody likes to admit it, but we need you, and you did our country and our city proud yesterday. Thank you.

Fourthly, and most importantly, to the victims and their families. We, as a nation, extend our love and support in whatever way we can. The next few months will likely be traumatic and difficult, with a combination of anxiety and stress, police interviews and undoubted media harassment, not to mention the social media frenzy that is already ensuing (and I am regrettably a part of). Remember that you are one of us, the people of Australia, and what that means and represents. Of course, I cannot know what you are going through and any sentiment I blindly express on Facebook has all the depth of a puddle, but it is genuine and you are in all of our thoughts.

With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.
‪#‎sydneysiege‬

The Daily Telegraph’s Disgrace

Front Page

Dear Daily Telegraph Editors,

The disgusting 2pm piece that you printed today [15/12/2014] breaches the Australian Press Council’s General Principles 1, 5 and 6. I have issued a formal complaint.

Regardless of the written standards to which you ought to adhere as a mainstream media organisation, how about demonstrating some journalistic integrity before making the editorial decision to publish blatantly false and misleading information as well as an identifiable image (I have posted a blurred version for obvious reasons) of a hostage on the front page of a periodical?

Your actions were reckless, negligent and shameful. Beyond that, they were against the advice of police for media to temper their responses and to publish responsibly.

How dare you publish disinformative tripe to extort terror victims and capitalise on their torment? You saw the lucrative potential of a shocking front page, and you certainly charged the paddles. This isn’t reporting in the public interest, this is profit-seeking duckspeak.

Your piece is harmful to Australia’s free, informed and socially cohesive discourse. It is sensationalist, inappropriate and inaccurate. You dishonour not only the victims, the outstanding police officers and dedicated standby paramedic crews, but also real-life, grown up, responsible media outlets and journalists.

I demand a national apology.

Isaac Harmelin

[I have also sent this to the Telegraph via separate channels since it appears they aren’t responding to Facebook complaints…on this piece, anyway]