When an Islamic terrorist took hostages in a Sydney, Australia cafe this week, the first thing our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters did — before the siege was even over, before two of the hostages were killed — was change the subject.
The real victims weren’t the hostages. The real victims were Muslims who were too scared to use public transportation because of the imminent anti-Muslim violence that never happened. To combat this nonexistent threat, some genius proposed the Twitter hashtag #illridewithyou, which was supposed to somehow show solidarity with the “victims.” And of course, it went viral among journalists and other people who don’t care about the truth.
As it turns out, #illridewithyou was an even emptier gesture than I first thought. The incident that so inspired all those smug leftists worldwide didn’t actually happen. John Hayward explains:
The creator of the hashtag, Rachael Jacobs, said she was inspired when a Muslim woman sitting next to her on a train began nervously removing her headscarf, no doubt fearful that a crowd of Australian bigots would set upon her and exact revenge for the actions of the Muslim terrorist. “I ran after her at the train station,” Jacobs wrote on Facebook. “I said, ‘put it back on, I’ll walk with you.’ She started to cry and hugged me for about a minute, then walked off alone…”
The epilogue to the #illridewithyou story is that Jacobs, in the course of telling her moving story of courage in the face of conjectured intolerance to the Brisbane Times, admitted that she made the whole thing up:
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!
Fortunately for Jacobs and her fellow travelers, she cast aside all such doubts and just made something up. So what if she invented the whole thing in her tiny little mind? She was angry! And sad! And bitter! Because of all those poor, poor victims of the most recent anti-Muslim backlash that wasn’t.
To recap: In reaction to an act of Islamic terror, smug lefties “bravely” opposed bigotry that didn’t exist by embracing a stupid Twitter hashtag based on something that never happened.
Or, as they call it: #Win.
As Hayward points out, the only bigotry here is among people who assumed the worst about their fellow man. People who went along with the idea that innocent Muslims were in danger, and damn the evidence or lack thereof. People who couldn’t face facts.
Finding no ready target for their confused rage at the unwelcome intrusion of reality into their carefully constructed fantasy world, these people did what they always do: