‘He Must Have Loved Ones, Too’: Pathological altruism in Sydney

“Two hostages and the gunman at the centre of a siege at a cafe in Sydney’s CBD [central business district] were shot dead when armed police stormed the building,” the Australian Broadcast Corp. reports. The victims were a 34-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman; the number of surviving hostages is “as yet unknown.” The siege—at the Lindt Chocolate Café on Martin Place, a pedestrian mall—went on for more than 18 hours and ended at 2:10 a.m. local time (10:10 a.m. EST).

The gunman has been identified as 50-year-old Man Haron Monis, né Manteghi Bourjerdi, an Iranian native who had received political asylum in Australia. ABC describes him as having been a “cleric”; Australia’s 9News adds that he was of the “radical Muslim” variety. Shortly after the Monday morning attack, a widely circulated image showed a black flag bearing the Islamic Shahada, or statement of faith, which translates from the Arabic as “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” (The Sydney Morning Herald notes that the banner was not, as some had thought, the similar one used by the Islamic State.)

Hours before the siege ended, the Morning Herald rushed out an editorial titled “Martin Place Siege Response Tests Our Humanity.” It’s a textbook example of what scholar Barbara Oakley calls pathological altruism.


  • Rosenmops

    Story is behind a pay wall.

    • Frau Katze

      Yea, I know, that sucks, but you can read most of it above.

    • Frau Katze

      I’ll email it to you.

  • I’m confused about this: since the terrorist was Shia, why was he displaying an Al Nura flag?

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      He “recently” converted to Sunni from Shia Islam.
      When you are too ‘cray-cray’ for the Shiites there are only a limited number of places a psychopathic street-Imam can go, and an al-Qaeda franchise seemed to be a good ‘fit’ for him.

      • Frau Katze

        That part was crazy. He just wanted “to fit in.”

  • Observer
  • pdxnag

    You too can test your humanity and marry Charles Manson.

  • dingo ate my baby

    yes he must have loved ones and they should be on the first plane out of australia
    deport his family close the mosque he prayed at.
    rid australia of this death cult

    • Frau Katze

      He appears to been involved in the murder of his ex-wife. Likely no family left now.