The hostage situation that occured yesterday in Sydney was a terrifying situation, and when disaster strikes, true human nature is exposed whether we like it or not.
With what seems to be an Islamic terrorist flag hung at the window of the Lindt café, the hostage situation that began yesterday morning has sparked fear amongst the Muslim community in Australia – fear of another Islamphobic backlash that could implode in Australia just like it did after the 9/11 attacks.
Muslim listeners have called in to 702 ABC Sydney proclaiming their fear to ride on public transport at the moment.
But instead of the expected hatred and distrust they expected, Australians have showed a heartwarming display of support and community spirit towards their Muslim neighbours through the use of the hashtag #illridewithyou.
The hashtag started from a Facebook post by @RachaelJacobs who was riding the train in Sydney. Jacobs noticed a Muslim woman quietly take off her head covering and said to the woman: “No, if you want to wear it, then wear it. I’ll walk with you.”
Another social media user, @sirtessa, took to Twitter and wrote to extend her support to her Muslim neighbours, offering to ride the buss with them. The user also suggested, “maybe start a hashtag? What’s in #illridewithyou?”
The kind gesture by these two Australian women had ignited the hearts of not only the Australian community but also those around the world, inclining a restoration in the faith of humanity. The hashtag is now currently trending worldwide on Twitter and has proven to be one of the most prominent topics on the site. It is a brilliant show of Australian support for their Muslim community in light of the unfolding situation.
Some Australian Muslims have also voiced their happiness towards the display of support towards the Muslim community in light of the disaster.
Human nature at its raw form
But the national disaster have also brought out the worst in people with some individuals taking #selfies (more like self-ish) at the scene. The 16 hour long hostage siege that finally ended last night did not stop people from taking selfies in the area. While #selfies are not uncommon today, the actions were deemed as thoughtless and have since created a huge backlash on Twitter, with many users shaming the people who have done so.
Amidst the disaster, some individuals tried their best to capture the cameras in the background to alleviate their credibility. The incident have resulted in both waves of support as well as criticisms on social media, with many Australians outrightly bashing the culprits of these #self-ish for their insensitivity towards the situation at hand.
In times of disaster, true human nature reveals itself and sometimes, it may not always be in the form of an extraordinary display of togertherness but a performative act of narcissism and in this case, #selfies. But we can be comforted by those among us who are still willing to take any opportunity to help someone in their own way, and say that yes, #illridewithyou.
We offer our condolences to the families of the hostages who have been killed during the Sydney Siege and applaud those who have put their lives at risk to save the hostages.