The siege that had been taken place at a Sydney cafe, ended with a storming of the cafe, after a total of a dozen hostages had managed to get out. It was believed there were still 9 hostages in there when Australia’s Special Forces Police made their storming raid.
And 3 lives were lost in that raid. One of those, was the gunman, the perpetrator, who was identified as Man Haron Monis, who was an Iranian cleric, who was on bail for a number of offences.
Some wondered whether he was with Islamic State, he wasn’t nor did he show their flag, despite what some have said but more on that later, and some wondered whether he was doing this alone, and yes he was.
But 2 of the hostages also lost their lives in the storming. Whether that was from the gunman’s gun or the police’s guns, we will probably never know. One of them was a lawyer, the other was the manager of the cafe. Two lives cruelly cut short.
But something else was lost in that raid. Understanding. We will never learn what drove the man to take these hostages, what his motivations were, what was going on inside his head, and that is a missed opportunity.
During the siege, he had been rightfully careful with his choice of words, not calling it terrorism, not referring to it as anything other than a criminal act, with the possibility of a political motivation, a possibility that unfortunately can never now be proved or disproved.
But after it, he reverted to type and waded into the quagmire.
"He had a long history of violent crime, infatuation with extremism and mental instability, We know that he sent offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan and was found guilty of offences related to this. We also know that he posted graphic extremist material online. As the siege unfolded yesterday, he sought to cloak his actions with the symbolism of the ISIL death cult. Tragically, there are people in our community ready to engage in politically motivated violence. Australians should be reassured by the way our law enforcement and security agencies responded to this brush with terrorism,"
“…this brush with terrorism”? Every time you call an act such as this terrorism, you are legitimising the cause that drives it. It is an act of criminality, plain and simple, and that’s how you should be categorising it, and talking about it. You call it terrorism, and call the perpetrators terrorists, and the criminals believe you just acknowledged that they are right to do what they are doing. So, never call it terrorism, or call them terrorists.
The other statement I take serious issue with is this one, “he sought to cloak his actions with the symbolism of the ISIL death cult”. Because every black flag with Arabic writing on it, must be the flag of ISIL(!). In fact, the flag that was displayed early on in the siege, wasn’t an ISIL flag at all. In fact, it’s a standard Islamic flag, a Shahada flag, which represents a general expression of faith in Islam. The writing on it reads, "There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah." The same phrase is on the flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Symbolism of ISIL? Only in the most shallowest of ways, and in fact, the ISIL flag, doesn’t use that phrase or classical Arabic style of writing. The script on the ISIL flag, looks almost like it was written by a child, it’s got that very handwritten, amateur quality to it.
Tony Abbott, in that one post-siege statement, took his grade for how he’d handled that, down from a B+, to a D-. He really should have stuck much closer to the original script that he’d been using during the siege.
When the siege started, I hoped and prayed for a swift, but just, conclusion. The conclusion was swift, but it was also brutal, and to lose the lives of two of the hostages in that raid, will be leaving a bitter aftertaste in the mouths of the Special Forces Police who carried out that raid. I wanted the perpetrator taken alive, to stand trial for his crimes, and to find out what his mind-set was. We’ll never get that, and the justice that was so badly needed at the end of this siege, was lost in a hail of bullets.