Updated: Mar 20, 2019
The scourge of hate and ideology has come to New Zealand, as it has to so many other countries and in this sad and scary time, when our country has suffered great loss and our Muslim brothers and sisters have been murdered in unspeakable acts of hatred, we wonder what we can do.
Life often offers stark choices doesn’t it and as I watched our Prime Minister speak last night, her voice trembling with emotion, about the events that had unfolded during what she accurately described as “New Zealand’s darkest day”, my heart went out to her. She will be carrying the weight of the world on her young slim shoulders and needs to know she has our support as she is faced with difficult and possibly unpalatable decisions.
And it is our darkest day, in many ways New Zealand lost its innocence yesterday.
I, like most of us I’m sure, have looked at other past events around the world, the horror and sadness but never really felt like it was a part of my world.
I, like most of us, have had opinions and advice for other countries and communities on how they should have responded to acts of barbaric terrorism but it’s a different case when it changes from “What I think you should do” to “What am I going to do”.
Between stimulus and response, we have the power to choose and in the battle between good and evil (and make no mistake, this is a battle) we could do worse than listen to the sacred writings from 2,000 odd years ago that say “Choose you this day, whom you will serve!”.
I am not a particularly clever, good or eloquent man and so, given the enormity of the evil that was inflicted on our Kiwi brothers and sisters while they prayed in their houses of worship, just like I do, I feel I have very little to offer that could help in any meaningful way.
In times like this I seek out the words of better people in the hope they will mean something to someone.
Sayings like “A Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu and Atheist go into a café for a drink. They sit down, talk and become good friends. That’s what happens when you’re not an arsehole!”
And “To lend someone a hand when they’re falling. Maybe that’s the only thing that really matters in the end”
My prayers, thoughts, love and condolences are with the victims and their families.
My gratitude to the police, medical, and support services for all you did and continue to do.
My respect and admiration for the unbelievable bravery of the officer who arrested the mongrel gutted coward.
And when I look at the outpouring of love and grief from my fellow New Zealanders, I am fiercely proud to be a Kiwi.
To close I can find no finer, fitting or more poignant words than those of the Arabic poet Nizariat.
“The finest souls are those who have gulped pain, and avoided making others taste it”
Wise words. Wise words indeed!