As if the the proverbial planets which were causing my frustrations somehow managed to align themselves even further, the hashtag activists decided to rear their repulsive heads. The #illridewithyou phenomena that gained global media attention deserves a special mention, although not for the reasons that made it an international social media trend in the first place. For those unfamiliar with this hashtag campaign, let me start by giving some background on it.

When Man Haron Monis took 17 hostages at the Lindt Café on December 15, the siege wasn’t even a few hours old when Australia’s moral and ethical betters decided to replace the legitimate victims of the attack with fabricated ones. The real victims (the hostages) were replaced with fake victims (Australia’s Muslim community) in one of the most contemptible displays of ignorance I have ever seen. Apparently, there was an impending backlash from Australian bigots who had their sights set on the Muslim community in retaliation for Monis’ actions.

Muslims who felt too intimidated to travel on public transport could now cast their fears aside and take solace in the safety and power of smug leftist elitism. The #illridewithyou hashtag was created to combat the nonexistent threat of mass violence toward Australia’s Muslim community by showing solidarity and support for the ‘real’ victims of this entire affair. Meanwhile, and obviously inconsequential to Australia’s high-horse vanquishers and moral guardians, 17 hostages were still being held against their will and at gunpoint by a madman. Two of these victims would not live through the ordeal.

Not surprisingly, there is much more to this story and the motivations of the people who began campaigning this empty gesture. So how did it all start? Well, during the initial hours of the siege, a woman by the name of Rachael Jacobs claimed she was sitting next to a Muslim woman on the train during her daily commute. By this stage, the siege had already gained national and international attention, and Islamist terrorism had now found a new place in Australia’s history books.

Jacobs claimed that the Muslim woman she was sitting next to began nervously removing her headscarf, no doubt doing so out of fear that hordes of Australian bigots would set upon her at any moment in retaliation for the terrorist’s actions. Jacobs detailed the events on her Facebook page, saying that she then “ran after her at the train stations…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.”

Jacob’s Facebook status started to gain momentum, and it was subsequently picked up by an Australian blogger by the name of Tessa Kum. Kum saw Jacob’s post, which she claimed was her “breaking point.” In a later interview, Kum gave detail of how the hashtag was created. She said:

I sort of saw another tweet online indicating another woman’s act of kindness and I simply felt that there needed to be more of that in the world. She’d done a very simple thing—she had seen a distressed Muslim woman on a train take off her hijab and had approached that woman at the train station and simply said, “Put it back on, I’ll walk with you.” That broke my heart a little bit.

Jacob’s story subsequently led to Kum tweeting: “If you reg take the #373 bus b/w Coogee/MartinPl, wear religious attire, & don’t feel safe alone: I’ll ride with you. @ me for schedule.”