AS DRAMATIC AND TERRIFYING as it was, the Sydney hostage crisis was more widely reported worldwide than it might have been, even than other similar incidents occurring at the same time, because the hostage-taker was a self-identified Muslim barbarian.
It’s unarguably true many Muslims see themselves at war with the west. But his being free to inflict terror on
three-dozen 17 Australians points to a serious flaw in Australasian justice more than it does to the spread of Muslim barbarism.
MANY HAVE WONDERED WHY, if the Sydney cafe gunman just wanted an ISIL flag brought in, he hadn’t just brought one in himself. War correspondent Michael Totten explains the reason by identifying the gunman’s own flag so widely misreported:
Shortly after he took over the café, he forced some of the hostages to hold a black flag up to the glass for news cameras to photograph. It is known variously as the black standard, the jihad flag, and the Salafist flag. It’s similar in some ways to the Saudi flag. It’s also similar to the black flag of the Abbasid caliphate.
Anybody who flies it is potentially dangerous.
Salafism is a relatively recent Islamic ideology (less than 150 years old) that arose as a reaction against 19th century Western imperialism in general and the liberal Western ideas that began percolating into the Middle East at the time… Salafists wish to remove all modern “innovations” from Islam and to bring back the 7thcentury version as practiced by Mohammad. They also wish to build a caliphate—a state—based on the 7th century model. Some of them would be content to do this non-violently, but others are a little less, shall we say, patient.
So an individual won’t necessarily be violent just because he’s a Salafist—especially not in the Persian Gulf region where their numbers are huge—but Al Qaeda and ISIS are the armed wings of the Salafist movement.
When the Australian gunman forced his hostages to hold that flag up to the glass, he was identifying himself as a Salafist. But no one in media seemed to know what that flag is… The gunman sent a message, but it wasn’t received…
Would the standoff have ended better if the man had more quickly succeeded in delivering his initial message without all the mounting frustration of being misunderstood? Probably not. Obviously, since he took hostages at gunpoint, he was not from the non-violent wing of the Salafist movement. Nevertheless, it’s time for Westerners who aren’t Middle East experts to know what a Salafist is and what they’re insignia looks like. They’ve been at war with us now for a long time.
So the gunman took in a Salafist flag to make a point, but his monitoring of the news told him no-one had a clue what it was. So he wanted to change the flag.
Which makes it fairly clear: The gunman was certainly motivated by Muslim brutality, but wasn’t too precious about which particular Muslim brutes he identified with.
BUT THIS PARTICULAR BARBARIAN shouldn’t even have been on the streets.
He was on bail on sexual assault charges from his days as a “spiritual healer.” He was on bail for allegedly helping his girlfriend brutally murder his ex-wife in January. He was charged with two serious counts of brutality – one from twelve years ago! – yet was left free by the Australian injustice system to walk the streets and brutalise others.
Justice delayed was justice denied to those he terrorised, and to the two Australians that were killed overnight.
This is not the first time here or there. You could compile a long list of Australasians who have been attacked, killed and maimed by thugs who had a history, who were out on bail, out on parole, or who had killed before but had not been given the sentence their crime deserved. Two more people were added to that tragic list overnight. Susan Couch, Tai Hobson and the families of Kylie Jones, Karl Kuckenbecker and many many other good NZers who deserved better can tell you the story on this side of the ditch.
This is an utter failure of law. The first duty of any responsible govt is to protect the rights, lives and liberties of its citizens. That’s its duty. That’s its job. This is the task of a government—of a proper government—its basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government.
The legitimate arms of government are there to protect innocent people from those, like this savage, who think force is the means by which humans deal with one another. Instead, by delay and intransigence the arms of government deliver mercy to the guilty and injustice to the innocent.
Thank goodness another arm of government was there to pick up the pieces, but sadly too late to rescue the two who died.
NOT THAT THIS IS the only flaw in the law. Almost immediately that reports of the hostage-taking hit the news, commentators and politicians began talking up Australia and NZ’s latest terror laws. The dumbest was twit Tau Henare who trolled…
There were responses…
… to none of which Tau bothered to respond with anything but dumb laughter.
But in defending those laws this morning, our Prime Minister did make a good point: that in calling for worldwide jihad ISIL is essentially running “an outreach campaign” for deranged and disenfranchised individuals. Which appears to be the only way in which ISIL et al have any global reach at all.
If we were to find some good news in all this, that might be it.
The bad news is that the law failed Australians – the same laws and delays, in regard to bail, as we endure in New Zealand.
UPDATE: “The Sydney siege – the grandiose name being given to the invasion of a chocolate-and-coffee shop in Sydney by a mentally ill sex abuser – has exposed the dual fears of the ‘war on terror’. On one side we have those of a more right-leaning persuasion citing the siege as evidence that Western nations like Australia are under threat from ‘politically motivated violence’ stoked up by outsiders. And on the other side we have small-l liberals, those who fancy themselves as searing critics of officialdom, claiming that actually it’s the insiders, Western nations’ own apparently dumb, prejudiced, Muslim-fearing populations, who are the true source of social instability today. One side ratchets up fear of Islamofascism, the other spreads panic about Islamophobia. One side frets over foreign-inspired lone wolves, the other agonises over the native masses and their likely response to seeing a brown man doing something bad on the news. Both sides peddle the politics of fear.
“What happened in Sydney yesterday was certainly tragic. Ordinary people were buying their morning coffee in a Lindt cafe when they were terrorised and held hostage for hours by a clearly disturbed man in Islamo-headgear and wielding a gun. Three people, including the gunman, were killed. This is terrible. But was it an act of terror, as such, never mind an act of war? The man who carried out the attack, Man Haron Monis, was apparently a troubled individual, a weird sheikh, a‘fringe and erratic’ man, who was under investigation by the police for sexual assault. His attack could just as easily be seen as the random act of an individual with mental problems, which he then tried to doll up as ‘political’ by waving a black Islamic flag and demanding a phone conversation with Tony Abbott. Monis was certainly a threat to the people in the cafe, but he posed no threat to Australia or its national security or democracy. Even to describe his actions as the ‘Sydney siege’, as if he had the whole city under his command, is to imbue his erratic behaviour with way too much menace and meaning; he should be known as the Lindt loser, the chocolate-shop gunman…
“The impact of acts of terror is determined, not by the terrorist himself, who is usually isolated and weak, but by us, by how we choose to respond to his actions….
“So the Sydney siege – or the Lindt event, rather – shines a light on the extent to which modern public debate is really just a clash of fears, a struggle between different breeds of panic. The question people are asking is: ‘What’s more terrifying: Islamofascism or Islamophobia? Muslims wolves or mass idiots?’ A better question to ask would be this: why is our first response to even small acts of violence always fear and panic rather than defiance and simply carrying on with life exactly as it was the day before one guy decided to do something wicked?”
- After the Sydney Siege, the Clash of the Fearmongers – Brendan O’Neill, SPIKED