Aiia Maasarwe’s killing too close to home

When Aiia Maasarwe came to Australia to study at La Trobe University last year, her family was entitled to think she would be safer than at home in the Middle East. She had, after all, grown up in Israel, where rockets and bombs and the threat of terrorism hangs over even peaceful people in a troubled place.

Before coming to Australia, the Arab-Israeli citizen had studied in China, where policing is stringent and violent crime is rare.

In Melbourne, she was just another visiting student, one of tens of thousands in what is, by world standards, an extremely tolerant society.

Aiia dressed in Western clothes and did the things young Westerners travelling the world often do. She was seeing the sights Victoria has to offer, recently even daring to do a tandem parachute jump — a traveller’s rite of passage. On a trip to the Grampians, she was photographed perched on a rock ledge jutting into space, proof she was willing to test her nerve.

Her parents might have worried about the parachute jump and the rock-climbing. Most parents would.

But they could hardly have imagined that their girl’s life ultimately depended on a casual decision to do something apparently far more harmless: going out with friends to a comedy club in North Melbourne.

But late on Tuesday night or early the next morning, lightning struck: this normal young woman going about her normal life became the latest of a handful of victims of random killings of a type that stir deep-seated fears in us all.

Read the article by Andrew Rule in the Herald Sun.