We were all sitting around the table just now, the mister, the lads and the I, eating our lunch and the conversation was civilised, but stilted, because we all had our heads in books or screens. Some of us were reading Asterix, some were clicking through their blackberry, and I was flicking through news from home, and I was all, ‘Listen to this’ and ‘Can you believe?’ and then I saw that photo.
Seriously, Tony Abbott, how dare you take democracy and do that to it? Especially now, while so many people in so many places are sacrificing so very much for democracy. How dare you? We go to school every day with families whose hearts are heavy with fear and uncertainty, but also burning with hope. I check my email constantly for messages from friends in places I’d rather they weren’t. And while they are doing these things, showing courage beyond imagination, this is your contribution.
‘Look at this,’ I said to the mister when I first saw that photo, and I turned the screen his way.
‘Can I see?’ Eldest lad asked, but I said, ‘No,’ and turned it around before he could see. I don’t actually shield my children from much of the news. We don’t watch graphic images on the television, but we talk to them about most things.
But not that, I’m not letting them see that, because I come from a time and a place where such attitudes need not be explained. I come from a time and a place where our leaders respect women, respect people, respect democracy and take the responsibilities of freedom of speech seriously.
Eldest said, ‘Mum! Don’t cry! Think of a happy thing.’
Right now I can’t.