2014-11-23_0931

Sydney siege 1

Is this the most recognisable wall in Australia, of recent times?

Sydney December 2014 (10 photos)

At 9:44am on Monday December 15 (Sydney time), ten days before Christmas, a man who had recently converted to a radical religious death cult walked into the Lindt Chocolate Café in the centre of Sydney. He disabled the automatic front doors and produced a shot gun from his bag. Almost immediately, a woman following behind the man saw this happening and called the police. 18 people inside, staff and customers, immediately became hostages. Some were made to stand at the windows you see above to act as human shields. This vision dominated the local and world news broadcasts for hours. The café is located on a large and busy pedestrian mall, directly opposite a television station newsroom, opposite the Reserve Bank, and close to law courts.

Sydney siege 10

The gunman stated there were four “devices” located around Sydney. However, this was later proven to be a hoax. At the time, parts of the city were evacuated and placed into lockdown. Various demands were made by the gunman and many of the hostages were forced to use their social media accounts to echo the gunman’s demands. During the day, 5 hostages were able to escape. This action angered the gunman and further threatened the safety of the remaining hostages. After about 16 hours, shortly after 2am local time, gunfire was heard inside the building and police were forced to break in to the café. By the end of the drama, the gunman was killed and 2 of the hostages had died. At the inquest that followed, it was learnt that the store manager (Tori) had been assaulted and then executed by the gunman, whilst the other hostage (Katrina), a lawyer/barrister and young mother had died in the crossfire.

Sydney siege 2

Later that morning and for days afterwards, people from far and wide, of all denominations and faiths, came and paid their respects to the victims. Gradually and steadily, a giant field of flowers evolved in the pedestrian mall outside the Lindt Chocolate Café…

Sydney siege 9

Sydney siege 3

Sydney siege 4

Sydney siege 6

My photos were taken 3 days after the ending of the siege.

Sydney siege 7

Sydney siege 5

The Lindt Chocolate Café will reopen tomorrow, 10am friday morning (local time). The bullet holes will have been plastered over, and the interior redecorated but the memories of the tragedy will linger. A memorial to the 2 victims has been placed inside.

Sydney siege 8

Canada mourned in October. Australia suffered before Christmas. And then tragedy on January 7, 2015 in France, and today in Tunisia…

My next post will be after Easter.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

The Sydney Siege: life and death in a chocolate shop

Image

81 thoughts on “The Sydney Siege: life and death in a chocolate shop

  1. So sad about all this sorrow spread around The world ….men again other men , worst Than animals : animals are Not acting with Such Bad & cried intentions ..
    I think now it’s time for Italy to cry its deaths , ️Hope I am wrong but We are expecting an announced tragedy 😖😖😩😩 We feel so lonely in these moments but We Have to believe That We can overcome everything can happen !!
    Take care & ️Hope to meet you one day in Sydney or Wherever 😍☕️🍝🍷

    • Thank you and yes, I heard about threats to Italy from across the Mediterranean Sea. That is what terrorism is about. The answer is to remain alert.
      Stay safe too. 🙂

  2. Many and sharp the num’rous ills
    Inwoven with our frame!
    More pointed still we make ourselves
    Regret, remorse, and shame!
    And man, whose heav’n-erected face
    The smiles of love adorn, –
    Man’s inhumanity to man
    Makes countless thousands mourn!
    ===============================
    Man was made to mourn: A Dirge
    Robert Burns

  3. It’s coming up on one year since I’ve boycotted the news. I had heard that this happened, of course, but didn’t know any details. I feel that I learned more from your post than I ever could have from the media. You have shown, without speculation or opinion or political slant, the trauma of a city and its will to overcome. The field of flowers is lovely. Have a Happy Easter, LD. 🐰

    • Thank you for your kind words. The field of flowers was a sight to behold, along with the countless police presence, security guards, and “emergency” chaplains who patrolled the area. Most people just stood there in relative silence.

      Have a wonderful Easter too. I hope the Easter Wabbit is kind to you. 🙂

  4. Who CAN understand? I remember Jude posting photos of this store in it’s Christmas finery before she moved on to NZ. Who would have thought, then? And now, it’s Easter, and chocolate time… of course.
    Have a good break! 🙂

    • There was a large crowd outside the store this morning, with long queues to get in. I guess a lot of people wanted to show their solidarity and support.
      Thank you kindly.

    • “Je ne comprends pas” – I thought that was very appropriate and I’m glad my last second photo of it turned out, as the woman walked past me.
      The reopening of the shop will stir up a lot of emotions again, particularly for the families of the victims.

  5. to remain in him says:

    I always confuse to put my “like” on something I am sad with. Of course I put it to say I am with you in that sad situation.

  6. Thank you for sharing. Such a shocking day for our city and the other cities as well. I havent been to MP to pay my respects as yet.
    Take care and we’ll see you after Easter.

  7. Our world has become more brutal than ever and you’ve done a superb accounting through what you do best (your exquisite photography and ease of word usage) to describe the savagery that consume beasts and destroy the beauty of ordinary days. Stay safe, Lignum. I’ve missed your photography while I’ve been absent. Although this blog is particularly sad, your work brings me a sense of grace.

  8. I suppose this post is your statement about the madness of today’s world, LD. The photos are of the usual top quality.
    I’m not sure that I agree with your posting it; and whilst no-one understands more clearly than I the unimportance of my opinion – especially in the face of your photographic and blogging credentials – I feel impelled to add it here.
    I was not at all happy about the hysteria of the coverage, I suppose, and this brings it back to me.
    Oh well. See you after easter.

    • Thank you for your welcome comments. I was in two minds about posting these photos, but reportage photography is about emotion, good or bad.
      The media really does border on hysterical at times, which is precisely what that man wanted -non stop coverage. What happened to the days of the news flash? A 1 minute update every hour or so. Not this second by second analysis we get bombarded with.

  9. This is going all all over the world. First the muslim countries for decades had to endure so much tragedy and terror and still do, now also the Western world. We all wonder, who is next? I wonder, why is so little done to stop the ideology and the people spreading it? I am glad to see all the flowers, people standing together in the sorrow. We must still stand together and oppose those who want to destroy freedom and democrazy. You did great reportage.

    • Thank you, I agree we must be united and more proactive, or this will continue for many years. This kind of activity against such an easy target is almost unstoppable otherwise.

  10. What a sad story. May their souls rest in eternal peace. I watched the clips on news here. I look forward to your next post, after Easter.

  11. I don’t watch a lot of new these days, but I do remember hearing about this. It leaves me speechless really that anyone for any reason would want to kill people in this way or any way.

    You certainly have some very striking pictures here, amazing how many people turned out to bring flowers (reminds me of the flower scenes in London after the death of Princess Diana). Flowers really show just how many people are strongly affected by these events.

    I hope the place recovers from it’s tragedy. And yet, saying that seems very dismissive of what happened. What else can you do, mourning forever wouldn’t be good, the only thing left is to move forward – and live. I hope every can.

    • The violence seems so senseless and random, but I guess that’s what it’s about for them. For many, visiting the site became a pilgrimage. And as you say, life must go on.

  12. 😦 this is really sad…i got goosebumps by reading what happened. It angers me how just one person can bring so much pain to innocent people… Like if what they say it’s true about the GermanWings flight that crashed killing all 150 people on board a few days ago, that the co-pilot was mentally unstable and crashed the plane to commit suicide…that’s just insane….

    • Regardless of the cause, such acts against mankind defy belief. Innocence is irrelevant to these people.

      The GermanWings incident was shocking. Whilst mental disease requires more attention in society, there is a very huge difference between suicide and mass murder.

  13. A beautiful and most touching tribute Lignum to a tragic situation. Following the fanaticism and frenzy in real time it is only right to pause and reflect, remember the loss while hoping for resolution, however long it might take.

    • Thank you, Patti. It was so long ago now, yet it still seems like it was only yesterday. Unlike in a “conventional” conflict, truce and resolution are difficult concepts.

  14. How awfully sad… 😦 I hadn’t even heard of this. And it’s true such tragedies seem to happen more and more often in the whole world. Your photos are really great Draco, especially the last one.

  15. And two short years ago, we had the Boston Marathon bombing…still so fresh in my mind. All these event so horribly tragic. I agree, we must be more proactive and certainly united against these despicable acts.

    • Yes, nowadays the enemy doesn’t wear a uniform, doesn’t conform to rules/treaties, and chooses to attack civilians directly.
      I heard the verdict in the Boston Marathon bombing trial. That must be of some relief to you.

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