Flowers and engagement, gratitude even, in times of horror

Government House, Darwin Australia. A town unique in Australia as it experienced major bombardments during World War II. The beautiful ambiance now can remind us that nature can restore its beauty in time, even after periods of horror, war and evil human activities.

I observe from afar the horror of another senseless murder of a young woman in Melbourne, she an international student there and in the prime of her joyful life. The sorrow for her family must seem irreconcilable. But still her father travelled to this far flung country, to collect his daughter in the most grave of circumstances.

Sadly, these events are occurring in every corner of this blue planet, in supposedly civil societies as well as in war-ravaged zones. Sometimes the evil of men (and yes, it is more often the male gender of the species) rears up and wreaks havoc, for families, communities, and even whole countries.

Words fail us to convey our desire to comfort those so harmed, being the living, those destined to carry the horror as memory for the remainder of their lives. So good people act. They communicate their concern, their love, their solidarity, by engaging with the bereaved, by demonstrating that they care. Some may know how they feel, from their own lived experience, others have empathy and a preparedness to contemplate how horrible it must be.

The Melbourne people came. They wrote letters, they brought flowers, they organised a vigil that many attended, they acted honourably and without retribution. They behaved in peaceful and loving ways that a male perpetrator did not some days prior. They reminded us and themselves that love and compassion must always trump hatred and tyranny. They spoke for their community, and our country too, that we are so sorry that we could not keep your daughter safe.

Sadly, that is human nature, some people are evil, and some have the capacity to become so. Thankfully, most people are not, and mostly, we support those who work tirelessly to rid our society of their violence.

In times of such horror, I am grateful for the people of Melbourne who have stepped forward and sought to comfort those in the greatest need now. We need this humanity to continue and to flourish, as life predicts another tragedy will inevitably occur, again and again. In-between times, it is never more important to be grateful for the love of others now, as the lottery of life does deliver injustice to some unlucky souls.

Meanwhile, men of all persuasions the world over need to take stock, if we are to reduce such unnecessary violence against women. Testosterone delivers men a natural physical strength advantage and so patriarchal societies have dominated. Time now for men to smell the roses, engage in civility and generosity, and act as honourable humans. Your world and ours will be better for it.

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