New Zealand’s Darkest Day

New Zealand’s Darkest Day

Prime Minister Jacinda Adern has rightly called yesterday (15th March, 2019) ‘New Zealand’s Darkest Day’. Covering real world news is not something I intend to do normally, but this is so incredibly far from normal.

If you’ve not yet heard, Christchurch, one of the most beautiful cities in New Zealand was subject to a terror attack at the hands of a small number of white supremacists. At this time, there are 49 confirmed deaths with 48 more critically injured in hospital. Children are among this number. By far, the worst our country has ever seen.

For updated details, NZ Herald and Stuff are doing their best to keep up with it. So I’ll keep this short.

This act of violence was horrific in every sense. It was cold, calculated and utterly born of a place of hate. It was evil. It was terrorism. Jacinda Adern took a strong stance and called it what it was with no beating around the bush, so while I do not agree with all she does, in this she has my utmost respect and support.

The values that lead these white supremacists to this action are so foreign to NZ as a culture it is a type of shellshock that the nation is experiencing in even trying to fathom how we got here, to the first day in our history of being at high terror alert. At having to warn Muslim people to stay away from their places of worship and prayer lest there be more attacks planned.

There is nothing I or anyone else can say to make this right for those most directly affected, but nonetheless know that all the love and support I can muster goes with you. This is true, too, for those who were separated from their children or parents today due to the city going into lockdown while IEDs in cars were found and disarmed, while we couldn’t be certain there were no remaining active shooters.

To the members of my team based in Christchurch, who called reporting the gunfire they could hear (their office being no more than a 5 minute walk from the Hagley Park Mosque), without yet knowing what was going on — your assistance and calm in locking down the site and keeping everyone there safe makes you heroes in my eyes.

Yesterday was a horrific day, and tomorrow is going to be one of reckoning. In one sense, because the confirmed shooter is in custody and due to appear in court tomorrow, sure. In another because of the resurfaced trauma just barely put to bed after the loss of life and homes in the Christchurch Earthquakes.

Victim Support New Zealand — whom you should reach out to should you get a sense of those feelings returning — has also setup a ‘Give a little’ page for anyone who would like to donate to support those most directly impacted. It was sitting just under $NZ400,000 when I was last able to load the page but the demand to donate is rendering the site difficult to use at the time of writing.

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4 thoughts on “New Zealand’s Darkest Day”

  1. I had no clue you were a Kiwi. Makes sense now, to be honest. I saw it on the news today and I have been to NZ about 10 times, and love the people there. Sad day indeed.

    • Being Kiwi is no secret, but I guess I don’t have it out there too much, so not too surprising you wouldn’t know. It’s on my Twitter location, but that’s about it as a permanent reference.

  2. From this side of the world, where we’ve had to come to terms with events like this being part of our reality, I think we sometimes imagine New Zealand as a safe haven where we could, if we had to, take refuge. This appalling event brings home the truth: there’s nowhere to run. We have to stand and fight.

    Easier said than done, I know.

    • Agree.

      There is a lot of doubt and uncertainty around whether this will inspire more attacks, retaliation, or whether this will be the last of its kind for another 20-30 years.

      I’d like to believe the latter and if I don’t examine it too closely, I think I do. But I have no historical backing for this, it is the truest example of belief by desire. So we’ll see.

      Being out and about yesterday was an interesting experience showing a range of examples. A Muslim woman known to my mother as someone who regularly walks the same route she does needed a hug and admitted she no longer felt safe, and had brought two of her family with her. At the other end, others who would normally pass with a smile but no word seemed to be making an effort to at least say, ‘Hello’ and see how we and others were doing.

      It will take some time, most of all for the families directly affected and their friends in Christchurch. I guess ‘belief’ is really the wrong word for what I started out saying, it is very much a ‘hope’ that I have some faith in.

      Let’s just hope that I’m right to.

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