The Sydney Morning Herald wants readers to empathize with the Islamist hostage-taker with a history of criminal and immoral behavior.
Sheikh Haron still holds over a dozen hostages in the cafe.
The sheikh was previously charged for harassing war widows.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported:
The test of our humanity is to rise above the calls for exclusion and persecution. Photo: AP Photo/Rob Griffith
The siege in the Lindt cafe in Martin Place has tested Australians as individuals, and Australia as a civil and democratic society.
In fact we are having to face many tests, each of which challenges who we are, how we respond to criminal dangers in our midst and, most confronting, what sort of nation we want to be.
First and foremost, we have faced yet another test of our empathy. Like the Bali bombings and myriad natural disasters, our thoughts are with the innocent victims: those inside the cafe who were caught up in a tragic situation for no other reason than they were going about their daily lives. Our thoughts are with their loved ones, too, for the hard times ahead.
Perhaps we face an even more difficult test of our empathy as well. How should we feel for the perpetrator so far witnessed and his family? While we do not know his story or his motivation, we know he was once someone just like those people whose lives he has now treated with such disdain. He must have loved ones, too. Forgiving him will be very difficult, and it will take time. Without forgiveness, though, we have to live with destructive hate.
The next test is to ensure we see this sad event for what it is – and what it is not. While there were a number of instances on Monday when Sydneysiders and the media jumped to conclusions about the link between this event and other incidents around the city, in most cases people were rightfully reluctant to jump to conclusions about the motivations of the gunman or the extent of his plans.
Nonetheless, a temptation lingers in the community to catastrophise about such criminal behaviour; to believe that because we have endured one siege from at least one deranged individual, we are at risk of many more. Rationally, that is highly unlikely.
The Martin Place siege may well be an isolated criminal action in a city whose crime rate has fallen for the first time in decades. A very small minority of people feel compelled to commit acts of deplorable violence, whether they be linked to terrorist groups or drugs syndicates or merely due to psychological dysfunction. The siege is unlikely to change that.
That is so offensive.
Apparently, the US does not own the market on deranged leftists.