People & Human Resources

Mourning the Sydney siege

Cara Waters /

People lay flowers at a memorial at the scene of the Sydney siege

Today we mourn the tragic outcome of the Sydney siege.

Three people are dead including gunman Man Haron Monis, who held customers and staff at the Lindt café in Sydney’s Martin Place hostage for 16 hours yesterday and into the early hours of this morning.

The victims have been named as barrister Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson, the manager of the Lindt café in Sydney’s Martin Place.

These were two small business operators who were just going about their daily lives and doing their jobs.

Other hostages injured in the siege are all in a stable condition. 

Lindt’s chief executive says the café appears to have been chosen “in such a random way”.

“I’m shocked and deeply saddened by the terrible incident that has taken place in Sydney”, Ernst Tanner said in a statement this morning.

“I cannot believe that such an act of violence happened. I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the victims and their families. In these difficult times we all need to stand together in order to defend the values of freedom, peace and tolerance.”

As we try to deal with the devastating end to yesterday’s siege it’s not a time to write about business.

It’s not a time for Russell Zimmerman, head of the Australian Retailers Association, to comment on the likely impact on consumer spending.

It’s not a time for social media expert Laurel Papworth to tweet “Where is the social media manager for @LindtCafeAus 🙁 🙁 #MartinPlace”.”

It’s not a time for Uber, in a bizarre parody of itself, to impose “surge” pricing and then backtrack with free rides for customers.

Instead it’s a time to remind ourselves that small businesses are people.

Our hearts go out to the families, friends and colleagues of those involved in the siege.

Today we remember them as we return to our day to day lives.

On social media the slogan #Illridewithyou has taken off: a symbol that as Australians we won’t let racism and divisiveness triumph as a result of the siege.

Today let’s all ride together, work together and remember together.

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Cara Waters

Cara Waters is the former editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter at the Financial Times website FT Adviser in London and she also worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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