Christchurch Massacre. From Heartsick to Awe!

Today marks a week from the devastating Christchurch massacre. It is hard to explain how and why this has been such a devastating blow to kiwi’s but if you live here, you will understand. We were raised in a culture where it was normal not to see your parents during the daylight hours in the summer because you left in the morning to play with your mates and only came back to be fed and watered. No one worried. It was safe. Normal.

I’m not saying that terrible things didn’t happen here but it was rare. I’m also not saying that we didn’t have racism or white supremacists either. It and they were both here. It and they clearly still are.

The Christchurch massacre isn’t the worst thing to happen on the planet but to quote one expat, this sort of thing doesn’t happen in l’il ole New Zealand. I’m not trying to take away from the agony that other countries feel at the terrible things that happen overseas by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just that Kiwi’s have been, not programmed as such but raised to see New Zealand as a safe haven. Many of the survivors (and also the victims) have been quoted as saying the same. All so very sad.

But, personally and unfortunately, I have always thought that it was only a matter of time. Hate and extremism are everywhere. But, so is love.

I don’t believe that our innocence is lost or that our sense of security has gone. The thing that makes me the proudest is that the stories getting the most airtime seem to be focusing on the same things. Support, healing and just getting on. This heart breaking event has opened more hearts than it has closed.

As Jacinda says:

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, because we’re an enclave for extremism. We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things; because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, a home for those that share our values, a refuge for those who need it. And those values, I can assure you, will not and cannot be shaken by this attack

Jacinda Ardern

I haven’t watched the news with any regularity for years. It’s too horrible to watch – my eyeballs and ears do not need to see that or hear that. But, I have this week.

Not to hear about the hideous details of what occurred. I have watched to hear the outstanding stories of our heroes. Our community. Our spirit.

What has really struck me about this week is not the ripple effect of the hateful but the tsunami of loving courageous people that have had to deal with this tragic event at the coal face.

I have literally gone from feeling sick to being in awe of the victims, their surviving family/friends, the people of Christchurch and New Zealand. It’s been staggering. It has made me see and more deeply understand that our mostly accepting culture has been brought together due to the actions of one hateful man who intended exactly the opposite. As a nation we have stepped up to support and demonstrate our love for the victims – irrespective of their religious beliefs. Because that isn’t what matters here. Well not to me anyway.

It is awe inspiring to know that for the most part, us Kiwi’s don’t care about what religion you are or the colour of your skin. We’re all part of the same community – therefore, kin. Countrymen.

As I have said, I am not naïve enough to think that racism and extremism don’t exist in this Country. But, after seeing how (on the whole) New Zealand has come out in horror and supported the victims – I have great hope that as a Nation we can (with time) help to heal together.

I have never been prouder to be a kiwi.

To the families, we cannot know your grief but we can walk with you at every stage. We can and we will surround you with aroha, love, manaakitanga, kindness and all that makes us us.

Jacinda Ardern

Focus On Our Humanity

It is clear the terrorist/lone gunman/madman has done this partly for a desire to be in the history books. But, who cares. On this, I am 100% with Jacinda Ardern. I won’t say his name or focus on the hateful piggy-backers that have come out since the shootings. In the days to come, I will make sure that all of that is deleted from my memory banks entirely. We as a Country will make sure (I hope) that this misguided man is not remembered.

The controversy and international impacts that the Christchurch massacre has caused is a concern. The license that this has given to other like minded people around the world is also a concern. But, we all have our opinions and we are all entitled to them. It’s a free world. But…

I CHOOSE not to make that my focus.

Maybe, we shouldn’t be focusing on the religious aspect of this tragedy either. That only seems to strengthen what this one person was trying to achieve. Hate speak, debate and shit slinging on social media. This only serves to create more and stronger factions. More hate. Uncertainty. Fear.

I CHOOSE to focus on the humanity.

The Muslim community has handled this tragedy with a depth of faith that is incredible. Their voices have not been about hate. Rather than being bitter about this tragic event, I will choose the path of least resistance and feel sorry for the shooter. As the wife of one of the victims said, she feels sorry for the shooter because he has obviously never known the love that she has had and still feels. I’m choosing that.

From this tragic event, comes a reminder to be forever mindful and thankful for our differences. My hope is that we all take this as a time to spread the love and be awesome!

Thanks for the reminder crazy man.

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