There are very few things that have thus far been untainted by Islamic fundamentalism. Chocolate is one of them. And of all the brands it is the Lindt name that has hovered suspiciously between the mortal and the celestial. It is not chocolate, it is a piece of the world to come. It is the Conch in Lord of the flies, the it the Sword in the Stone, it is as close to the Holy Grail as would seem possible.
Sydney has been attacked by a radical ISIS-non-flag –bearing member, and all we are able to do is watch aghast as another icon falls to this scourge. And it wasn’t Cadbury or Nestle that they assaulted, it wasn’t Rowntrees or Beacon or Elite (God forbid). It was Lindt. They attacked the Holy of Holy’s. And this time I fear they have gone too far. Australians and indeed the world will react and it will not be pretty. No longer will anyone have the luxury of pretending that this is not about fundamentalism and baseless hatred. No longer will good minded people be able to delude themselves that it is about politics or Zionism or building on “pre ‘67” borders. It is about the need to destroy, and they have hit us where it hurts.
There are many impressive aspects to Australia. Their support for the global war on terror, their adherence to what is good and decent, their cricket team, their people, and of course their airport customs practices. Which of us has not watched mesmerised to Border Security as wily Asians try and sneak unmentionables (oranges and stuff) onto the island. Which of us hasn’t called it correctly when we suspected a lettuce in the luggage and how good we felt when it was revealed for all the world to see.
Well what if that approach was used to forage out fundamentalist as they enter a country that has done little to deserve their poisonous ways. And I am not suggesting, for sake of clarity, that all God fearing Muslims be precluded from coming ashore, but rather only those ones who mean to carry Isis flags (but forgot) and to attack people as they go about their lives buying Lindt Chocolate. What if Border Security had us screaming at our televisions sets as we selected and exposed the non-flag bearers as they try and pretend that it is merely watermelons that they carry in their luggage, and not the obsession of ruining the lives of the undeserving.
We have become used to the insanity and aggression of Isis. Our Facebook feeds have tired of the decapitations and the brutality. 54% of us have never even watched the Orange Videos and the 66% who have might not remember having done so. And considering that the aim to shock and repulse, it is clear that Isis had to stoop lower. They had to take to a level that would affect us all. They have focused on chocolates and no one knows where it will end.
It appears to not have been the best executed plan in the world (given the fact that the perpetrator left his flag at home) but he has done damage. He has brought a city to a standstill, he has our attention and he has damaged lives. At time of writing, no one has been hurt, but the trauma of those trapped in the café and the stress to the families cannot be imagined.
And so, although we sneer at the stupidity and laugh at the Lindt, we cannot ignore the ruthless baseless brutality of what they are capable of. It has shown Australians and indeed the world what Israel lives with daily and how lives can turn in an instant. May God protect those inside the building and usher them to safety.