Oh how time flies, but it is already the third-anniversary of the Sydney Hostage Siege of 2017 and one of the greatest journalistic frauds since, well, at least a few weeks. The west has an unreliable news media. It’s broken. It is filled with liars and that broke it.
The #IllRideWithYou hoax was pushed hard by the BBC but it originally began as a tweet by Rachael Jacobs, a lecturer at Australia Catholic University, that was picked up by Aussie media and then the BBC.
At this point I saw a woman on the train start to fiddle with her headscarf.
Confession time. In my Facebook status, I editorialised. She wasn’t sitting next to me. She was a bit away, towards the other end of the carriage. Like most people she had been looking at her phone, then slowly started to unpin her scarf.
Tears sprang to my eyes and I was struck by feelings of anger, sadness and bitterness. It was in this mindset that I punched the first status update into my phone, hoping my friends would take a moment to think about the victims of the siege who were not in the cafe.
I spent the rest of the journey staring—rudely—at the back of her uncovered head. I wanted to talk to her, but had no idea what to say. Anything that came to mind seemed tokenistic and patronising. She might not even be Muslim or she could have just been warm! Besides, I was in the “quiet carriage” where even conversation is banned.
By sheer fluke, we got off at the same station, and some part of me decided saying something would be a good thing. Rather than quiz her about her choice of clothing, I thought if I simply offered to walk her to her destination, it might help.
It’s hard to describe the moment when humans, and complete strangers, have a conversation with no words. I wanted to tell her I was sorry for so many things—for overstepping the mark, for making assumptions about a complete stranger and for belonging to a culture where racism was part of her everyday experience.
But none of those words came out, and our near silent encounter was over in a moment.
The entire story was essentially a figment of Jacobs’ imagination. But that imaginary event became the conversation in the West, rather than an Islamist taking over a café and murdering two people.
Humbled by friends and strangers love and gratitude. My article explaining why I’m unable to make further comment http://t.co/Z4rI7OqbeH
— Rachael Jacobs (@rachaeljacobs) December 16, 2014
Yeah, that’s what happens when you lie. Your Twitter feed goes silent for 3-whole-years!