The best of humanity on display in tragedy
AT a time of chaos and division, we saw the best of humanity on Friday in Melbourne, even while the weakness of past immigration policy came back to haunt us.
Brave police officers confronting a crazed Muslim terrorist wielding a knife, as his crashed ute packed with gas cylinders blazed nearby.
They did their job, calmly and with enormous courage as Somali-born Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, attacked. They risked their own lives trying to disarm the killer before one of the officers shot Ali squarely in the chest at close range.
Then there was the courage of the three civilian bystanders who armed themselves with whatever they could find and ran towards the danger.
“Trolley Man”, as he has come to be known by an instant fan base on Twitter, managed to slow the terrorist down at one point by shoving a shopping trolley at him like a battering ram.
Their motives were noble, whether or not their actions helped police.
Considering the explosion of carjackings and violent home invasions in Melbourne, it’s no surprise if citizens have started to lose faith in police and feel the need to take public protection into their own hands. This is the hazardous flip side of Victoria’s politically correct, riskaverse policing.
But on Friday, unlike in the last Bourke Street tragedy, currently before the courts, police were on the scene almost immediately and taking action against Ali.
Keyboard critics say they should have shot him dead sooner. Civilians were calling out “Shoot him” as Ali lunged. But that’s easier said than done.
According to one NSW frontline veteran, those two officers refrained from shooting earlier because “the proximity of civilians and the changing angle of movement by the offender meant that a clear shot was clearly not possible until the last second’’.
The fact is that no one was killed after those two police officers arrived, except the terrorist.
Where we are being let down is not by those frontline heroes. It is by the culture of aggressive suppression surrounding any discussion of why a disproportionate number of Muslim refugees or their children have become radicalised to commit terrorism against the country which took them in.
The irony is that the latest attack came a week after the ABC Four Corners’ report casting black Africans in Melbourne as victims of oppression. The media was slammed as racist for reporting home invasions.
It’s not the colour of the offenders’ skin that makes the crime news, but the extreme violence and utter disregard for the law, which has been imported from the war-torn lands of Sudan and Somalia.
There are three reasons why we need to be able to discuss this problem openly without being shouted down as bigots. First, because suppressing debate just ensures more extreme and erroneous private conclusions.
Second, only by discussing the problem openly will good Sudanese or Somali community members be spurred to take action to control their youth, police their mosques and call out anti-Australian attitudes.
Third, we need to learn from our mistakes.
We now can count five fatal attacks on Australian soil in the past four years which were committed by first or second-generation refugees, including Lindt Cafe terrorist Man Monis.
Yacqub Khayre, 29, shot dead by police during an al Qaeda-inspired terrorist attack in Melbourne last year, was a Somali refugee.
Farhad Jabar, 15, who murdered police accountant Curtis Cheng in Parramatta in 2015, was an Iranian refugee.
Islamic State follower Numan Haider, 18, shot dead after stabbing two police officers in Melbourne in 2014, was an Afghan refugee.
As well, two of the men convicted over the Holsworthy Barracks terror plot in 2009, Saney Aweys and Nayef El Sayed, were refugees (from Lebanon and Somalia respectively).
It costs an estimated $8 million per year for security agencies to monitor one terrorism suspect. Then there is the cost of terror trials, our loss of civil liberties, the uglification of our public spaces with bollards, and so on.
The Operation Pendennis trials alone, relating to the terrorist plot to blow up the MCG, cost $5 million. The investigation cost more than $15 million. Counter-radicalisation programs are $40 million.
Imagine how much good that money could have done to help refugees in situ overseas.
If there are countries whose citizens are so damaged by war or whose culture is fundamentally incompatible with ours, who will resent our generosity, then it is common sense that we should not bring them here as refugees. This will only create community discord and bring the refugee program into disrepute.
Rather than shipping reluctant refugees halfway around the world to an alien culture that simply cannot bend enough to accommo- date their wishes, far better to spend the money on helping them in their global neighbourhood, where one day they have the chance of rebuilding their homelands.
Our governments have to put the welfare of Australian citizens above the UN’s opaque priorities.
We have the world’s most generous refugee program per capita. But there are 25 million refugees in the world. We should choose more wisely.
NSW police accountant Curtis Cheng, pictured her with his son Alpha, was shot dead in the street at Parramatta by Farhad Jabar, an Iranian refugee.