Stabbing at the heart of Melbourne

A little bit of Melbourne died yesterday. Not just in the literal sense, in that an innocent Melbournian was killed by a terrorist fanatic. In a deeper sense, a part of Melbourne?s culture and history, its very soul, was brutally obliterated.

Australia is a nation of migrants. This goes without saying. Half of my family have roots in this country stretching back to the 1820s, but the other half are migrants or the children of migrants. But something about migration to Australia is changing.

Yesterday, the sinister force fracturing Australian life collided directly with the good that built so much of value in this country. Quote:

Sisto Malaspina arrived in Australia from Italy, and for more than 40 years ran Melbourne?s wonderful Pellegrini?s restaurant. Hassan Khalif Shire Ali arrived from Somalia, and did rather less with his life.

Yesterday the paths of these two very different men briefly intersected. End of quote.

Melbourne is renowned for its coffee culture. Pellegrini?s is deeply rooted in that. It owned the first espresso machine in Melbourne. The word ?icon? is much-overused, but, without doubt, Pellegrini?s was a Melbourne icon. Quote:

Melbourne is mourning one of the founders of the city?s famous coffee culture after the murder of Sisto Malaspina in Bourke Street?s terror attack yesterday ?

It is believed Mr Malaspina had gone to the aid of the attacker after his car blew up.

Of course he did. And of course the jihadi stabbed him to death for it. End of quote.

Like millions of other migrants, like so many in my own family, Sisto Pellegrini worked his entire life to enrich the country that had given him a home. Quote:

Sisto?s business partner since 1974, Nino Pangrazio, remembers his great and generous friend:

?He loved life. He was always happy. Never a bad word, never a dull moment,? he said.

?As soon as people walked in the doors they were welcome.

?He was a bon vivant.

?The happiest person you could imagine. Always had a smile. Always had a smile for a pretty face, always with a joke.?

Sisto?s first grandchild, a baby girl, was born last Saturday. End of quote.

Then Sisto encountered a very new and very different type of migrant. A migrant who had bludged on, yet resented bitterly, the country that offered him a haven from war and anarchy. A migrant immersed in a culture of deadly hatred: his brother was convicted last year of plotting a large-scale terrorist attack.

The Bourke St attacker had planned a massive atrocity, too: if his attack had gone to plan, he would have mowed down pedestrians, then crashed into a shop and killed more. Then the car-load of gas cylinders was planned to explode, igniting an explosion and fireball that would have scattered deadly shrapnel for hundreds of metres.

Luckily, he didn?t succeed. In no small part to Sisto Malaspina?s old-fashioned instinct to lend a hand. Quote:

The Herald Sun?s John Masanauskas farewells a man who made Melbourne so much better:

Everybody knew Sisto, and he knew everybody.

Business people, lawyers, politicians, even the odd lord mayor, loved to come in for a coffee in casual surroundings ? it was so authentic you could have been in Rome.

Just a few weeks ago I popped in for a quick flat white and saw Sisto chatting amiably to customers at the back of the cafe.

I remember thinking it was good that he was still there ? a comforting fixture in a rapidly changing city.

Now he is gone.

And the affection he embodied has been replaced by a force of pure hatred. End of quote.

In the wake of the attack, premier Daniel Andrews channelled Islamist sympathiser Sadiq Khan, saying that we ?have to accept that violent extremism is part of a contemporary Australia.

Fellow politician Tim Smith is having none of it. Quote:

Absolutely devastated to learn that Sisto is the victim of this atrocity. I?ve been going to Pellegrini’s for years, Sisto is a Kew resident. I?m so furious that someone our country gave refuge to murdered this wonderful man. Enough is enough. End of quote.

Enough is enough, indeed. Something is slowly being killed off, one terror attack at a time, in Melbourne as it is across the west. A genuinely vibrant multicultural society is being murdered while the elite closes their eyes and mouth empty platitudes about diversity. But, here?s the thing: you can have a genuinely diverse society, built in no small part by migrants who work hard and love and cherish their new home, or you can have mass Muslim immigration.

You can have Sisto Malaspina, or Mahomed Khalif Shire Ali.

You can?t have both.