I live in a suburb that was rocked by a horrendous crime two weeks ago. It’s an inner city suburb that is usually best known for its multicultural community; with cafes and bars; Italian deli’s and Middle Eastern sweet shops; classy boutiques alongside recycled clothes shops. People walking along the main shopping strip, and riding bikes to breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s a friendly area where people are concerned for the environment and hold local councils and governments to account. It’s an ‘anything goes’ kind of place where you feel that its people are genuine and down to earth.
I don’t want to dwell on the crime as it is too upsetting – suffice to say a beautiful young woman was taken from the street and assaulted and then murdered when on her way home from a few drinks with friends.
It has stunned the country, and in fact has been in the news worldwide (she was an Irish national). This kind of random, violent crime is extremely rare in our country, let alone in our suburb, thank goodness. However, it did happen. The public outpouring of grief, then anger, that someone could do this has been overwhelming. Last Sunday a local resident organised a peaceful march through the suburb. He publicised it through social media and thought a handful of people might turn up to protest against violence. Well, 30,000 people turned up! It has united the community and although it has made us all more aware of who and what is going on around us, it has strengthened the resolve of everyone to look our for each other and to publicly denounce violence.
The power of the people has been witnessed again today, protesting against violence – this time against animals.
Thousands of people rallied in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane against the live export of animals.
The rally took place only weeks after evidence emerged of Australian sheep being brutally slaughtered in Pakistan. This followed revelations last year about the cruelty inflicted on Australian cattle exported to the slaughterhouses of Indonesia.
RSPCA Victorian president Hugh Wirth told the crowd that such cases were just the tip of the iceberg.
“These cases are just the latest evidence of what happens when animals leave Australia,” he said.
“Australians have seen the gross reality of this trade — inhuman slaughter, animals left floating around in the middle of the ocean, and what can only be described as totally barbaric treatment of Australian animals. Enough is enough.”
Enough is enough indeed. It gives me heart to know that people are now more than ever willing to stand up against violence in our community; whether it be violence against people or animals. There can be no place in our communities for such abhorrent behaviour and it is up to everyone of us to ensure that it is not accepted under any circumstances.