There is a difference between a human and a hero, writes Max Moola.
I confess I am no hero… I may have been the first to run out of the Lindt Chocolate Cafe doors if an opportunity presented itself during the siege situation in Sydney in December 2014.
However, after the siege I wondered ‘where were the men?’
I voiced this question aloud to friends and colleagues, refraining from taking it further. The Reverend Fred Nile has raised this in light of the Prime Minister writing to Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove to say Mr Johnson and Ms Dawson should be honoured with posthumous bravery awards, and that “proper consideration” should be given to the actions of others involved, including other hostages and police.
The victims and survivors of the siege were human, not heroes. But I can’t help but wonder why the men did not stand up. It was reported that cafe manager and captive Tori Johnson challenged Man Haron Monis and he was wounded as a consequence. Why did not a handful, even one or two of the other men run to assist him? Monis was a big man and armed, but surely several of the men could have overpowered him.
Tori Johnson was a hero and deserves a bravery award as he tried to save the men and women in ‘his’ cafe. After the siege it was reported that three women were in stable conditions after being shot—a 75-year-old was shot in the shoulder, a 52-year-old woman was shot in the foot, and a 43-year-old woman was shot in the leg. Two pregnant women, aged 30 and 35, were assessed at hospital and both are stable. One woman, Katrina Dawson, 38, was dead.
The actions of John O’Brien, 82, the first captive to escape who ran when he could are understandable. But did he not stop to think that his actions could have cost someone else their life? It’s not like he has his whole life ahead of him.
Later more men fled, leaving elderly, infirmed, young and pregnant women behind.
Feminists might argue that women don’t need protecting, but instinctively men by their nature and physicality take that role, just as women instinctively nurture their children and are the heartbeat of the family.
I also wonder at the ‘beat up’ of Fred Nile’s comments — some media outlets claiming public outrage at his statement. I can’t seem to find this outrage. Many people on social media today, including on Mamamia — a female skewed website — are open and even supportive of his words, with comments such as:
Giving bravery awards to everyone erodes the acts of the two hostages who died.
I don’t think a bravery award is the correct form of recognition. Bravery awards are for when you sacrifice yourself to save others (not implying death). I’m sure there is a different award or recognition which better represents what they went through.
Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is not bravery.
Running out of that building, petrified, was normal, understandable, perfectly expected … that’s why bravery awards are special. They’re given for behaviour that is out of the ordinary … Firefighters who run into burning buildings. Trying to grab a gun from a crazy terrorist. Tori Johnson faced it down. To tell me that those people were the same is demonstrably incorrect.
Did you even listen to him or did you just hear his name and add 1+1 and get 3? He said they shouldn’t be awarded medals but they shouldn’t be shamed. I think most people would agree.
So, let’s not race to be politically correct or to assume because it is the Reverend Fred Nile, it is wrong.
This time, he may have it right.
What do you think?