Monday, December 15, 2014

Thoughts #20 - Sydney Siege

I wish this entry could be articulate, poignant, and thought-provoking. I'm just not prepared to write that piece. I'm going to write based on my own personal experiences of the day, so those who care can experience today with me.

For those unfamiliar, here's a tiny geography lesson: I work in North Sydney which is situated on the north shore of the city. We are on the other side of the Bridge and the Sydney Harbour is between North Sydney and downtown Sydney, the CBD, which is where Martin Place is located. Martin Place is a bustling area filled with shops, kiosks, offices, a memorial statue, and cafés.  

I went into the city this morning to pick up some small diamonds, chains, and silver cleaner (typical jewellery store errands). As I left my last stop of the list of errands at 155 Castlereagh (red pin on map below), I walked towards the train station at Town Hall. I noticed a couple of news vans and a police officer walking purposefully in the opposite direction I was going and thought "something must be going on". I continued to walk enjoying the bright, yet relatively comfortable summer day. 

I reached Town Hall Station and received this text from my guy: "Stay away from Martin place and come back here ASAP."  I read that as a train was pulling up, so I responded that I was heading back to North Sydney. As I stepped on the train, I read the news. A gunman or gunmen were holding hostages at a café at Martin Place, possible connection to terrorist group. 

Honesty time: I was on a train from one of the busiest stations in Sydney. I felt uncomfortable. The thoughts entered my mind that terrorists target public transport. The thoughts entered my mind that there have been coordinated terrorists attacks that hit multiple targets. The thoughts actually entered my mind "I don't want to be the news story 'Married Sunday; Killed Monday". I admit these are extreme thoughts, but I'm being honest. I prayed. I felt a sense of relief and safety when I got to the north shore side of the bridge. 

Throughout the day, I watched and read news reports, social media, and even an Emergency Announcement from the US Embassy in Canberra, Australia. A half-hearted comment was made for me not to talk today, for fear someone would hear my American accent.  Again, an extreme reaction, yes, but I'm sharing honestly. I have firsthand knowledge of friends who were in lockdown or forced to evacuate their offices and workplaces. 

As I type this, police and authorities are still in the midst of negotiations. Five of the hostages are free and appear physically free of injury.  There is no confirmed tally of how many hostages or perpetrators are still inside. There is no confirmed motivation or specific group that is to blame. I feel, and I ache for those involved. Imagine the fear and panic. Imagine the thoughts for 8 plus hours, and it's still going. 

I shared texts and emails with my parents. I checked on a girlfriend here in Sydney who is an American.  I heard from a few friends back home. A friend from high school who works in Washington D.C. intelligence reached out to me (which really meant a lot). 

I often talk on this blog about spreading kindness. Today is a day to remember that there are some evil, messed up people in this world. Don't contribute to the ugliness. Be thoughtful. Be kind. 

Whatever your beliefs, send prayers, good thoughts and vibes and power to those involved and impacted by today's events in Sydney. 

(Taken on my train ride home as I type this piece)

I love this amazing, wonderful adoptive city of mine...Sydney. 


  1. OMG I can't believe what is going on. I'm glad you're safe as well as your friends.

  2. Very well said, my dear. I love what you said "Don't contribute to the ugliness" some of the stuff i'm seeing on social media makes me so mad.
    Thankfully it seems to be over, but still terrifying. I used to work in Martin Place. Terrifying.

  3. It's scary when something like that happens in your own backyard!


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