Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Palme' d’Ors for silliness in Sydney’s hostage crisis

I don’t want to write a lot here tonight and especially on the results of Sydney’s hostage drama, but a few comments.

I'll ride with you

The first Palme d'Or for supreme silliness goes to the Australian’s Chris Kenny for  this piece: Sydney siege: Alarm bells should ring over latest Islamic wake-up call.

It is a silly piece at multiple levels. Of course Australia needs to be aware of the dangers of Islamic extremism. In fact, how could we be otherwise? But what are we to do with Mr Kenny’s arguments? What is he actually suggesting? I’m not sure.

His attack on the #illridewithyou. hashtag is both gobsmackingly petty and stupid. It was a human response to a tragedy, something that people could do.` It also reflected a fear that there might be an irrational response, a coming together to prevent that.

My second Palme d'Or for supreme silliness goes to Mike Baird, the Premier of NSW and others like him, for describing this in some way as Sydney (or Australia’s) lack of innocence. I’m not sure what that means. In fairness to Mr Baird, I’m sure that he was very tired and trying to strike the right note, but it was all very strange.

Probably the oddest thing in all this has been the discovery of Mr Monis’s troubled but well known past. The instinctive reaction is to ask why the authorities didn’t take some action. Perhaps they should have, we have to wait on this, but we also have to be aware of the constant present Australian tendency to demand more restrictions on freedom to avoid what-if's.


Anonymous said...

Two awards Palme d'or would probably be Palmes d'or - just saying. But I digress.

Well said, Jim.


Evan said...

Hearty agreement from me.

This thing about 'loss of innocence' seems to get trotted out every time there is a massacre. It's silly - it was even used after Port Arthur!

Anonymous said...

Hello Jim

Good post.


Rod said...

Here is a counter view for you from Quadrant Magazine... just like to be the one who does the non-PC thing;)


Jim Belshaw said...

Wasn't I using it in the singular kvd? Each award was separate!

Rod, accepting that the Quadrant piece was satiric/sardonic, what did it actually mean?

Thanks, Sue. Evan, I thought that loss of innocence could only happen once? Or is it doled out in bits?

Rod said...

Hi Jim,

It appears to say that sitting with a non-threatening person dressed in a hijab because they are wearing one is just patronising.

Travelling and engaging with someone who has radical views is another matter but ultimately that is more important and not just a hollow self-congratulatory activity.

Engagement with fellow citizens should be on the basis of a genuine interest and intent for friendship not an activity to be patronizing to others.

I've probably put my neck out a little bit here. Feel free to disagree!

Jim Belshaw said...

mmm, Rod. I'm not sure that I'm any clearer on the message! Just looking at the English. Patronising means having a superior manner; condescending. It is usually expressed in terms of one's relations to another individual. So, the argument would appear to run, someone who expresses the Ill ride with you view is adopting a superior manner, is condescending, towards a women wearing a head scarf. Does this make sense to you? Further, even if true in individual cases, is it then wrong?

Jim Belshaw said...

kvd, I suddenly realised that your comment applied to my heading. How dumb am I?

Anonymous said...

Well stuff it!

If it is being 'patronising' to acknowledge one's common humanity, and to publicly express one's willingness to counter the endless stereotypes force-fed by our self-styled free, independent press - then call me patronising. Or call me Bruce - whatever.

#illridewithanyoneanywhere - provided they pay their fare share.


Evan said...

What kvd said.

John Stitch said...

Jim here's a couple of points firstly our trade off on freedoms didn't make a damn bit of difference in this case. Thanks Mr Brandis. Secondly and this may piss a few people off but I suspect Monis was probably not intending to shoot anyone. Indeed several cafe patrons had previously ran out and nothing happened. The hero of this siege may have unwittingly set off a chain of events that resulted in his and others loss of life. Had the police been able to wait this one out who knows how it might have ended. But we wont know who was shot by who until the investigation is complete.

John Stitch

Rod said...

Hi Jim,

I agree... in part. The way I'll Ride With You idea is presented appears to me to be the hallmark of white Australians being "superior". Thinking that the inferior person (e.g. someone wearing a hijab) obviously needs my protection!

If the I'll ride with you idea is expanded to cover anyone that you don't know then that is a good thing. Everyone needs people to be genuine and take an interest in them. Not knowing what a random person needs and finding out is good. Making the assumption of what they need because of what they wear is still being patronising... or even being racist in a way.