Has the Sydney siege changed us?

by rodney on December 16, 2014

sydney siegeThere’s no doubt that the Sydney Siege was a terrifying event. Like most Australians, I was glued to the TV, watching to find out how it would end. I saw the look of terror on the eyes of those who were lucky enough to escape, I saw the messages of hope on social media and I saw the sadness after two hostages lost their lives.

Now that it’s over, like many of you, I’m also wondering, what’s next? I’ve heard so much talk about how this will change us forever, how we’ve lost our innocence. This is a terrifying concept, that everything has changed forever and is no doubt making people scared and uncertain.

So is it true, has the Sydney siege changed us forever? I believe that it doesn’t have to. Don’t get me wrong, for the people who were in the café and their family and friends, yes, life has changed, but for rest of us, our lives haven’t really changed. We’re still going to go about our daily lives as they were before this, we are as safe as we before this and our future is going to be what is was before this happened. The only way our lives will be changed is if we let it.

However, if our lives do change, does it have to be for the worst? Of course not. These types of events can help us change for the better, if we let it.

We can ask ourselves what can we learn from this? If there’s any solace out of a tragic event it’s that it will reveal to us many lessons that we can use to make our lives better. What can we learn that make us a safer nation, what can we learn that will make us a more tolerant nation, what can we learn that will make us a stronger and more resilient nation? Once we answer these questions and apply these lessons, will have changed for the better.

This type of event will also bring us closer together. Before the siege had ended, social media was going crazy the hashtag I’ll ride with you, which was in support of Muslim women who may have been afraid to travel on public transport alone. Tragic events bring out the best in people, our natural compassion kicks in and we rally behind each other in order to get through. If we can resist the urge to hate and condemn and instead come closer together, we will have changed for the better.

We had no choice about whether this event happened or not, and that’s what terrorism is all about, taking away our power and our choice. We do have a choice on how to respond. We can choose to let it change us or not and we can choose to let it change us for the better. So long as we hold onto that choice, we will be empowered. How will you choose to respond to the Sydney siege?


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