Tragedies brought out the best in us in 2014

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2014Oh boy, what a year we’ve just had.

But not just in how many big events there were or how many well known people died across the globe.

In 2014 it became clear that there are no longer local events. Well, there are, but because most of us seven billion humans are connected in one way or another thanks to technology, events that resonate are also now international.

The Sydney siege for example was unfolding for those suspenseful 17 hours on screens around the planet, from Melbourne to Minsk.

Same for the three airline tragedies, including the latest one just a few days ago in which more than 150 people perished.

And of course pretty much the whole world will watch Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks on the harbour on their TVs or iphones and laptops.

So no matter which tiny piece of planet Earth you call home 2014 has been a big year.

The internet era came of age during the past 12 months, as big local events became international ones thanks to the explosive growth of social media.

It’s so hard to think there was a time when it took 24 hours or even 24 days for news from one end of the planet to reach the other side.

But in so many ways, the incredible connectivity across the globe, as well as with those who live next door, down the street or a suburb or two away, has had a positive side effect.

It has made local connections even more important than ever, and by that I mean the actual person to person get togethers, not the virtual world we seem to live in most of the time these days.

And it was local tragedies – at Martin Place where barrister Katrina Dawson and cafe manager Tori Johnson died, and the SCG where Phillip Hughes received that fatal blow to the head, which brought the best out of all of us.

The incredible flower tribute at Martin Place and the outpouring of grief for Hughes by people who did not even follow cricket was humanity at its best.

And then #illridewithyou received world wide praise for a wonderfully Australian approach towards our Muslim brothers and sisters.

This was recognition that the vast majority of local Muslims are hard working, law abiding Australians who detest terrorists as much as anyone else.

So there you have it, the human comedy may be getting its act together at last, with a little help from its friends in cyber space.

Can we go one bit better in 2015?

I reckon we can, so let’s do it, people.

Happy New Year.


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