I received Australian citizenship as an adult. In my mind, pursuing a new citizenship as an adult is like the difference between being baptized as an infant, and baptized as an older individual, making a personal choice. I was born American, and I still am, but I chose to become Australian.
As the ongoing hostage crisis in Sydney is splashed around the front page of international newspapers, with words like TERROR emblazoned, Australia keeps her footing. The details of the number of hostages is not being released to the public. The gunman's demands are not being released. Multiple contacts have been made to media in effort for the gunman's demands to be broadcast to the world, but they have refused.
The police remain calm, and dedicated to bringing the hostages out safely.
For Australia, this is not the time to spark a media frenzy. This is not a time to launch a fear campaign.
Instead, there is a movement on social media in support of Australia's Muslim population. The hashtag #illridewithyou was tweeted 22,000 times as evening fell on Sydney. To quote the story in the Sydney Morning Herald, the tweet started when one woman, Rachael Jacobs, noticed another woman on public transport removing her hijab, and encouraged her to keep it on, and that she would walk with her if she felt unsafe. That's the Australia I know and love.
"I'll walk with you." "I'll ride with you." The world may be telling us we are a threat to each other, yet I'll walk with you.
What a stirring example of using whatever privilege we have on behalf of others.
I'm proud to be Australian.