Friday 15 March 2019

Kia kaha, New Zealand

Shit. I never wanted to be right about this. 

This afternoon a scumbag armed himself up with an illegal semi-automatic rifle and shot dead 41 people - men, women and small children - in a mosque on one side of Christchurch, while an associate killed seven in another mosque a few kilometres away. Currently there are 48 people in hospital with gunshot wounds, one of whom has died. So today 49 people were killed while peacefully going to Friday prayers. In Christchurch. In New Zealand. By terrorism.

I've written so often in this blog about places I've been to that have suddenly been all over the news because of mass shootings - no need to list them, you know them as well as I do - and I've said more than once, with no smugness, but unease, that if terrorists really wanted everyone in the world to feel afraid, they should stage an attack in New Zealand, because that would prove that nowhere is safe. And that's exactly what's happened - the greatest ever loss of life here not caused by a natural disaster.

The perpetrator, whose name we all know but no-one is using, was all over Facebook with a 37-page manifesto in which he said just what I did. He'd come here FROM AUSTRALIA to plan and prepare his attack, and it was only then that he realised we would be the ideal target, for exactly that reason. Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, put it very well this evening: 

"We, New Zealand, we were not a target because we are a safe harbour for those who hate.
We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, or because we are an enclave for extremism.
We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of those things.
Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion. A home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it. And those values will not and cannot be shaken by this attack.
We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities, 160 languages. And amongst that diversity we share common values. And the one that we place the currency on right now is our compassion and support for the community of those directly affected by this tragedy.
And secondly, the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this.
You may have chosen us – we utterly reject and condemn you."

And you know what makes it even worse, if that's possible? That he chose to stage his attack in Christchurch. Just eight years after massive earthquakes wrecked the city and the lives of its people, who are still struggling with the aftermath, physical and mental. Poor, battered, brave Christchurch. My home town. 


the queen said...

I am at this moment waking up and listening to CNN coverage, and you have more detail in this one post than I got in the fifteen minutes I have been watching them. I’m sorry this happened in Christchurch.

TravelSkite said...

That's the result of watching seven hours of straight, solid news, no ad breaks, no other topic covered. The poor climate strike kids didn't get a look in today.


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