Turning #IllRideWithYou Into Real-World Action in Australia By NOAM COHEN DEC. 15, 2014Amid the panic at the hostage siege in Sydney that left two captives and the hostage-taker dead early Tuesday, a call for compassion quickly took hold on Twitter.Sydney residents writing on Twitter under the hashtag #illridewithyou offered to stand in solidarity with Muslims in Australia fearful of repercussions from the attack, which was carried out by an Iranian immigrant in his 50s who carried a black flag with Arabic writing on it. The sentiment took off on social media and was amplified around the world in more than 250,000 posts to Twitter.Mark Steyn blogs:
Anti-Muslim sentiment has been high in Australia, at least since September, when the government raised the national terrorism public alert to high in light of fears of an attack by Islamic militants. On Monday, during the 16 hours of the siege at a downtown cafe, when the gunman forced hostages to hold up the flag for the news cameras, a Muslim group reported instances of people spitting at women wearing traditional Islamic clothing.At such a fraught time, a Facebook note from a Sydney resident, Rachael Jacobs, about riding next to a woman on a train whom she believed to be Muslim struck a chord. She “silently removes her hijab,” or veil, Ms. Jacobs said in her post. “I ran after her at the train station. I said ‘put it back on. I’ll walk with u.’ She started to cry and hugged me for about a minute — then walked off alone.”
A Twitter post by Michael James, identified as a radio producer and reporter in Brisbane, Australia, repeated that anecdote, which was then shared online thousands of times. Another Twitter user, Sir Tessa offered to ride her regular bus route with Muslims who contacted her, and quickly came up with the hashtagMost of the reactions on Twitter have focused on the good will coming out of the violence.
The Sydney Morning Herald worried about whether we'd be able to "empathize" with the perpetrator, but even the less insane Sydney paper - The Daily Telegraph - wobbled:As I pointed out earlier today, the celebrated originator of the #illridewithyou hashtag, Tessa Kum (a.k.a., Sir Tessa), is an articulate proponent of the dominant worldview. She embodies the spirit of the age memorably.ANTI-ISLAMIC sentiment has flooded social media in the wake of the Sydney siege, but there is a campaign gathering steam that will restore your faith in humanity.A Twitter movement, #illridewithyou, has sprouted with everyday Australians offering to ride on buses and trains with Muslims, or give them a lift to work tomorrow, in order to keep them safe.Sorry, but that doesn't "restore my faith in humanity". In fact, it makes me think humanity, or at any rate civilization, is doomed. The mythical "backlash" against Muslims is such a dreary staple of these stories that I might as well just rerun my shtick from a dozen or so backlashes back:Stage Four: The backlash that never happens. Because apparently the really bad thing about actual dead Jews is that it might lead to dead non-Jews: "French Muslims Fear Backlash After Shooting." Likewise, after Major Hasan's mountain of dead infidels, "Shooting Raises Fears For Muslims In US Army." Likewise, after the London Tube slaughter, "British Muslims Fear Repercussions After Tomorrow's Train Bombing." Oh, no, wait, that's a parody, though it's hard to tell.Indeed. Usually the Muslims-fear-backlash crowd at least waits till the terrorist atrocity is over. In this case the desiccated multiculti saps launched the #I'llRideWithYou campaign even as the siege was still ongoing - while Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson were still alive. Muslims are not the victims here. Ms Dawson and Mr Johnson are the victims. And yet the urge to usher Muslims into the victim chair and massage their tender sensibilities is now so reflexive the narcissists on Twitter don't even have the good taste to wait till the siege is over and the corpse count is known. Far from a restoration of faith in humanity, it's a glimpse of how advanced the sickness is. For good measure, Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition, threw in the usual smug moral preening:Australians tonight doing what we do best - uniting to overcome intolerance and hate #illridewithyouwhat we do best – uniting to overcome intolerance and hate #illridewithyou