It is easy to assume that world events such as the liberation of the Iraqi city of Mosul and the terrible toll it has taken on civilians are distant conflicts with no relevance to this peaceful part of the world.
However, we know that to be wrong.
Australia, and, in particular Shepparton, is home to people who have experienced violence and armed conflict and who watch with keen interest the political and military developments of distant places.
And so it is with our Iraqi community which has made Shepparton home.
Iraqis have been arriving here since the mid-1990s when thousands were displaced and forced to flee from the terrors firstly of Saddam Hussein, and then Islamic State. Today, Shepparton has a vibrant and valued Iraqi community of several hundred people who contribute much to our city and who reflect our nationwide reputation as a place of multicultural harmony.
However, it is important to remember that distant events such as the liberation of Mosul have significant meaning to many of our citizens.
For Sarmed Yassin and many of his Iraqi friends, the freeing of the northern city of Mosul from the yoke of IS is a bittersweet victory.
It is both a cause for celebration and a time to remember the terrible cost.
His reflections are a reminder to all of us that the pictures we see on social media and on television are about real people and real suffering.
While the majority of our Iraqi community members come from the southern relatively peaceful part of the country — all would feel affected by the conflict that has torn apart their nation ever since the rise of IS.
Mosul is one victory — a major one — but the war is not yet won because there are still Iraqi cities under the control of the forces of darkness.
There is a certain powerlessness we feel here watching these developments in a conflict so far away, but we can and should bear in mind the emotions of those who walk and live among us who have very real connections to the suffering.
All we can do is offer our support and prayers that this terrible scourge will eventually be removed from Iraq, and that peace and stability can once again return to the original homeland of our fellow citizens.