15 December 2014
The big news in Australia today is the taking of hostages in a Sydney café, apparently by Islamists. We are all shocked of course, but no-one should be surprised. We are at war. We send ’planes to bomb IS positions in Iraq. We should expect them to do all they can to frighten us and harm us. We are their enemies.
They despise our democracy – in their eyes a weak man-made system that must ultimately crumble before their own, which is simply to follow the will of God. They hope that our democracy will deliver our surrender. After all, we are soft and godless and have no stomach for the fight. We will tell our leaders, “Don’t get involved, don’t spend our money, leave us alone to shop and drink coffee. Yes, yes, they are evil, but they are someone else’s problem.”
I don’t have a copy of the book ‘Tales of the South Pacific’ to hand, but there’s a passage towards the end in which James Michener extols the strength and courage of free people who choose to resist tyranny. I’m paraphrasing b ut that’s the gist. I hope the same might be said of us when the history of our own present struggle is written.