“We’re here for regional Australia, “ said Tony Windsor petulantly, “I won’t go too much further on that.” And so, with an irritable frown, and to sustained loud applause, the Independent member for New England decided he wasn’t going to waste his breath – or his precious airtime - discussing “that”.
“That” of course being the killing and bringing to justice of a man held responsible for the death of over thirty thousand Pakistanis, and the inspiration for the mass-murders of 9/11, London 7/7, Madrid, Nairobi, Tanzania and countless other atrocities.
Bin Laden’s real crime? Threatening to stand between Tony Windsor and an hour of unctuous, self-congratulatory, pompous bragging to an adoring regional studio audience. Nothing it seemed, not even a crucial victory in a war that has blighted the world for the last decade and will almost certainly dominate the next, was more important to Tony than talking about, um, himself. Gleefully explaining the power he now wields he proudly boasted that he was going to… well, we never did find out exactly what he was going to do with all that power other than chair a committee of really nice and well-meaning fellow rural MPs. (Whatever they do, he helpfully informed us, will be a “win-win” situation for all concerned. Whew, that’s alright then!)
Thank you, Osama, for yet again allowing us to witness the fairy floss morality of the left in Australian society in all its childish, self-indulgent, gullible and immature glory.
It’s unfair, of course, to judge Australians (rural or otherwise) on the make-up of the Q&A audience. But there is something seriously amiss when such an audience gives us the following reactions:
To Simon Labor’s Crean: “This is an important development and a welcome one, and in the circumstances, the only way that someone like Osama bin Laden could have been brought to justice.”
To Liberal Sophie Mirabella : “This is a victory for every democratic nation that has been fighting this insidious war on terror… and an important time to pay tribute to our serving men and women.”
Stony silence again.
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t expect to see Australians swinging from the studio rafters yelling “Obama! Obama! Obama! Oi! Oi! Oi!” into the wee hours of the morning. But the death of the symbolic figurehead of one of the world’s deadliest cults – an organization dedicated to the sadistic destruction of any human being who does not adhere to its horrific nihilistic doctrine – is a legitimate cause for appropriate celebration. By us all.
Or so I thought. But this particular crowd of earnest Australians – and not only them, I soon learned - were craving an altogether different emotion; one which was articulated with lump-in-the-throat sincerity by the Rural Woman of the Year, Alana Johnson: “The images from Ground Zero of people actually thinking this is a victory is very disturbing… and is a sad commentary on our humanity.”
Wild applause! Aha! I finally understood. We’re the baddies. In a bizarre echo of the most commonly expressed emotion of September 12th 2001, what many left-leaning Australians immediately seized upon this week was the opportunity to yet again don the hairshirt. Nothing soothes the souls of certain people more than the blissful reassurance that it is us and our terrible ways that are to blame for all the evils of the modern world. When the twin towers fell, the phrase I most commonly remember being assailed with was: “Why do they hate us? It must be our fault! Look what we’ve done!”
Retreating to the sanctity of my social media network, I found my worst fears confirmed. Facebook and Twitter were alive with it. Barely a word of empathy for the victims of the terrorist mastermind, but rather an avalanche of self-flagellation and self-hatred. “Absolutely disgusted by the US response,” summed it up best. And “the global celebration of Osama bin Laden’s death makes me sad.” Similarly, one of the Q&A panelists weirdly opined that she “wouldn’t like anybody to lose anybody” and somehow managed to draw a parallel between bin Laden’s demise and the death of her own father. Really?
And then of course, the emotional bandwagon found its turbo-charged carriage. In quick succession, I received the following quotation, and variations of it, from half a dozen different friends. Within the hour, thousands if not millions around the world were wallowing in the warm bath of its emotional embrace:
‘Thanks Doug for reminding us of these timely words... “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy - Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Timely? Maybe a little too timely, because, as Doug and other eager tweeters were soon forced to acknowledge, the quote – and its exhortation to not rejoice - was a fake. Totally made up. That’s the internet for you. Who knows what’s real anymore? A fact that troubled many, who automatically assumed that whatever the US was telling us must, by definition, be a lie.
“Do you believe he's REALLY dead??????? No proof! … they have come to an 'arrangement' with him! But...they threw him in the SEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol yeah right!”
Which translated means it’s all a hoax. Or even better, as another one of the Q&A panelists insisted, with a nod to Tony; the death of bin Laden was “not relevant.” In fact, to paraphrase this enlightened individual, terrorism is all in our minds; so if we stop worrying about it, then it will simply disappear. I’ll try and bear that in mind next time I visit Bali. Or London. Or Madrid.
“The world belongs to those who turn up,” were Tony Windsor’s final words of wisdom, in which he encouraged rural Australians to take control of their lives by voting for Independents like, um, himself. Osama bin Laden turned up. And he changed the world for the worse. I, for one, am jumping up and down that he’s dead.
Copyright Rowan Dean 2011