By this time you’ve no doubt heard all about the hostage situation in Australia over these past two days. In case you haven’t though, let’s recap:
Around 9:30am local time on Monday, a gunman took hostages at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney. Hostages were made to phone news station and hold up a flag favored by Islamic extremists. The suspect eventually asked for an ISIS flag and a conversation with the prime minister.
After 16 hours, heavily armed police raided the cafe, shooting the gunman. Two hostages were also killed, though we do not know whether they died in the crossfire, or if they were shot by the gunman.
During the long, long siege, a hashtag began to appear on Twitter that proves that even in dark, frightening times, the human race can be compassionate and beautiful.
That hashtag was #illridewithyou, and it began when Tessa Kum retweeted the Facebook status of Rachel Jacobs in which Jacobs related a story wherein she saw a Muslim Australian remove her hijab because she was afraid of people lashing out at her as a surrogate for the gunman. Jacobs says she offered to walk with the woman so she didn’t feel threatened.
Kum then started the hashtag, literally offering to ride public transit with people who were afraid they’d be attacked for their religious beliefs.
If you reg take the #373 bus b/w Coogee/MartinPl, wear religious attire, & don’t feel safe alone: I’ll ride with you. @ me for schedule
— Sir Tessa (@sirtessa) December 15, 2014
From there, it turned into an internet movement, where Australians and people the world over came out to support Muslims who feel targeted because of the actions of extremists; people who chose to stand up and come together in the face of terror.
We could learn a thing or two from a simple movement like this.
Image via: Angger Prawitasari