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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sydney hostage bravery awards

The Reverend Fred Nile has said out loud what some men were thinking during the Sydney siege - why didn't one of the men jump him? Easy for them to say, you think, they weren't there, but do they really deserve a bravery award for simply being held hostage by Man Haron Manis?

"Usually men try to protect the women but it looks like they were trying to protect their own skin" Mr Nile said on morning television.  "Where were the men?  The only man really there was the man with the gun."

Naturally, this comment caused outrage and he later corrected his mistake.  "I wanted to say he was a cowardly man, I left the word cowardly out, I was certainly not complimenting him."

The leader of the NSW Christian Democratic party thinks the only two people who deserve an award are the two who died in the siege - Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson.

Real heroes

Prime Minister Tony Abbott wrote to the Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove to say Mr Johnson and Ms Dawson should be honoured with posthumous bravery awards and that "proper consideration" should be given to the actions of others involved, including other hostages and police.

"There may well be other significant acts by surviving hostages, police and others involved who are worthy of recognition" Rev Nile wrote.

But on Tuesday he said on Sydney radio "Obviously, they were wanting to escape and save their lives but normally bravery awards are given for an act of bravery, somebody actually does something, and they haven't done anything."

Were the male hostages who managed to get out told that if they tried to escape, the others would be killed?  ".......that's what happened in Paris, four hostages were shot" he said.

Maybe they could have done something more to protect the women but if you are being held at gunpoint by a mad Muslim with a bomb strapped to his back and a rifle pointed at you, I would imagine it's every man for himself.

"Bravery awards are actually medals and they are usually very strict.  If you devalue them, you are taking it away from others who really deserve them" he said. 

The Reverend Fred Nile has been a controversial figure for years. Among other things, he wants to ban the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, ban target shooting in schools and force women to view an ultrasound of their baby before they decide to abort.  

But I agree with Fred on this one, giving people bravery awards just because they happened to be held hostage isn't right, unless they put their own life at risk by helping others, as Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson did.