New Zealand lost its innocence on Friday 15th March, a day that will be forever remembered as our darkest.
And well it should because evil showed its face that day when in our laidback Kiwi community, a mongrel gutless coward slaughtered fifty innocent people while their heads were bowed in humble prayer. Their lives cut short and their families destroyed, for no other reason than their choice of faith and the actions of a monster.
I will take my lead from my Prime Minister and the perpetrator shall be to me as a blight upon all that is good and proper, his name shall not pass my lips, neither will I write it or pay it any heed at all.
As for innocence, we know from our own personal experience that it is a treasure and as such, it should be treasured. It is sad when it goes, especially when it goes before its time but make no mistake that nearly all worthwhile ideas, constructive endeavors and moral progress are made by us as humans after we have lost our innocence and we look at the world with the clarity that reality brings.
Our innocence as a country has now gone, and it is unlikely to return but maybe in its place, we might look at our society and indeed our world with new eyes.
Eyes that see what we couldn’t see before, eyes unencumbered by our past prejudices and erroneous ideas, eyes that now see through a new lens, a lens washed clean by griefs tears, that illuminates not just what is around us but more importantly, what is inside us.
For all outward change must first be proceeded by inward change and surely, we would now all do well to look at ourselves.
A child that says something inappropriate is funny and we laugh, it is the child’s innocence that makes it so but how now with us, no longer with the pretense of our innocence to mask our coarse language, jokes that degrade and debase another precious human being or our treatment of the marginalized or less fortunate.
Yes, innocence has gone, and long may it stay away if what replaces it is maturity, decency, genuine love, compassion for those who need it, empathy for those different to ourselves and the lending of a hand to those who are falling.
You may make what you will of these words of mine, I make no claim to be good or wise or clever, it is your business what you do and it is mine what I do.
But a good friend and I have been looking seriously at our own lives, hearts, and language these last few days and we have been questioning our own thoughts, motives and actions in the light of recent events.
There is an ancient saying from a sacred text and it goes. “The heart of a human is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” and as I look with genuine honesty at my own heart, I see the truth of the saying and come away very unimpressed.
In the battle between good and evil, the scales hang in the balance and as Solzhenitsyn so accurately said. “The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being”.
Innocence is no longer an excuse. We must do better.