Don’t forget the enormity of what happened in Christchurch

It is easy to become jaded by the wall of media coverage, and it’s easy to get distracted by quibbles over the wearing of scarves, whether to shake hands or not, or whether a shop should stock a book – all trivial stuff.

But we shouldn’t forget the enormity of what happened in Christchurch. It was just one evil man, and just one (double) terrorist attack, nut it is a big deal for many people. It is the biggest atrocity by far in New Zealand in my lifetime.

50 innocent defenceless people were slaughtered – at their place of prayer, some (as reported ) in the women’s rest room. Men, women, children indiscriminately killed.

50 candles lit at the  Dunedin vigil, one for each life taken away in Christchurch
– watching those candles being lit one at a time emphasised the number affected

The attempted murder of 42 more people.

Fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, grandparents and grandchildren. A four year old girl critically injured, shot by a man with an assault rifle in a place and a country of peace. A fourteen year old boy injured, who watched his best friend and brother, and his father, gunned down.

Hundreds of people witnessed horrific scenes of callous carnage.

Thousands of people directly affected, family of the fallen, friends, members of the Muslim communities.

Millions of New Zealanders impacted by the shock, horror, grief.

This was an attack on all Kiwis, all of us here in New Zealand where we thought we were too remote for this sort of despicable act. Of course it only takes one deranged man to do this sort of damage, but it was an assault on our innocence and on our perception of immunity.

Don’t forget the enormity of what happened in Christchurch.

If you haven’t done it yet, drive or walk past a mosque if you have one in your area. All around the country many thousands of New Zealanders have paid their respects, and left flowers and messages of sympathy and good will.

Dunedin mosque a week after the Christchurch attack

One man carried out an enormously horrible act of violence.

Millions of New Zealanders rose in unity and defiance at an attempt to terrorise – an enormous reaction.

We can’t make the loss of fifty lives go away, we can’t erase what will long be remembered as a major historical event, but we learn from this and make more history.

We can all become better people for it, more understanding and accepting of differences, and united in working towards a more peaceful and more unified New Zealand community.

Each of us can only do a little, but together we can make an enormous difference.

This cartoon from The Canberra Times cartoonist Pat Campbell aptly depicts what has been happening around new Zealand over the last few days.

Leave a comment

27 Comments

  1. Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  23rd March 2019

      I agree, it was the people who really did the work, so to speak.

      Reply
  2. A sad side of behaviour over the last week:

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  23rd March 2019

      The trouble with symbols.

      Reply
      • Kimbo

         /  23rd March 2019

        No, more the trouble with arseholes who can’t restrain their base and vile thoughts and impulses I would suggest.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  23rd March 2019

          Arseholes + symbol trigger = trouble

          Reply
          • Kimbo

             /  23rd March 2019

            Seriously? You are buying into the lib-prog determininist notion of triggers? Or have I missed Poe’s law in this case?

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  23rd March 2019

              Are you seriously suggesting appearance did not trigger this abuse?

            • Kimbo

               /  23rd March 2019

              As “triggering”, or at least any antisocial and illegal behaviour that accrues from it is ultimately a personal choice…no.

              Or have I misunderstood what you mean by “trigger”?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  23rd March 2019

              Obviously you have adopted a peculiar definition of trigger based on the supposition those triggered could have been different people from what they are.

            • Kimbo

               /  23rd March 2019

              But if you mean that if you make alcohol available, or marijuana, or gambling, then someone, somewhere will inevitably misuse it…yeah, ok.

              But idiots or people who are worse sometimes adopt swastikas and other Nazi accoutrements (I see the amongrel Mob are dropping the “Seig Heil” salute) and while they face justifiable social opprobrium, I’m unaware of widespread reports of threats to their safety.

              So why is it expected, even as an “unintended consequence” in the case of wearing a hijab? And can we expect the same for the crucifix, Masonic square and compass, whatever…?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  23rd March 2019

              Those are questions you can easily answer yourself.

            • Kimbo

               /  23rd March 2019

              Maybe, although I think my definition of arsehole is those who are looking for an excuse/opportunity to vent their arseholeness. For instance, you don’t seem to be in favour of the hijab, and given your reason – you see it as a symbol and means of gender subjugation- fair enough. Some may find your unwillingness to put that aside during the current time of national mourning and reflection (wallowing?) tasteless and intransigent. Fair enough too.

              Either way, I don’t consider you an arsehole, much less “triggered”…although some on the radical lib-prog extremes might.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  23rd March 2019

        I don’t think that these two ignorant creeps mean that Muslim women face hatred every day; I see them every time I am in town, and nobody takes any notice, even of the veiled ladies.

        Reply
        • Kimbo

           /  23rd March 2019

          Yet a number of Muslim women have come forward in the last week and advised that their experience is that words of malice towards them are a regular occurrence. And as they are the group in question, their anecdotes would hold more weight than yours I would suggest. With the acknowledgement that some Muslim women have also advised that their experience of New Zealand thus far has been entirely positive.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  23rd March 2019

            Any correlation with wearing symbols?

            Reply
            • Kimbo

               /  23rd March 2019

              As the hijab, burka and other similar items of clothing are readily identified and universally understood as symbols of Muslim faith and practice (although, as you point out, whether that is positive or pejorative is moot), one would assume so. With the caveat that assumption is the mother of all stuff ups. But I find the reports credible, if perhaps exaggerated. But then I don’t expect people in fear, living in a country where 50 of their co-religionists were butchered just last week to be thoroughly objective in their reporting of empirical data.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  23rd March 2019

              I said ‘face hatred every day’, not never having a negative reaction because some fools think that all Muslims are terrorists. Please don’t put words in people’s mouths.

              The Muslim women who had the remarks made by these creeps didn’t say that they faced hatred every day; the writer made that interpretation.

            • Kimbo

               /  23rd March 2019

              No, she gave the generic category of “(New Zealand) Muslim women”. In the context of the 140 character limit of a tweet, I would consider that a reasonable extrapolation to make from the individual anecdote she reported, not putting words into a specific person’s mouth. And in context I think you are hair-splitting hairs over “hatred”, and “negative reaction”.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  23rd March 2019

              Alan, there are some symbols (like the swastika or phallus) that are asking for a negative reaction. But people should be able to dress as they please or wear crosses, Stars of David or turbans.

              If someone whose usual dress is a gourd, a tiny flap of leather or nothing at all (as in the case of some Australian aborigines) walked around like that here, they could expect to be stopped. In the weather we’ve been having, I can see the attraction of these modes of dress, but the law doesn’t.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  23rd March 2019

              It’s a bit like wearing a MAGA hat, Kitty. There will be those who love you, those who hate you and those who don’t care. But it’s your choice to wear the hat or not.

  3. Finbaar Rustle

     /  23rd March 2019

    The trouble with the fanatical belief that only “your” symbols count.
    The danger then is that other symbols are bad, the people are bad
    and removing these bad people can become paramount.
    We need to stop seeing difference as division
    but rather difference as diversity.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  23rd March 2019

      The trouble with symbols is that they mean different things to different people. The blind assumption that they only mean what you think or want them to mean causes trouble. That was always the unintended consequence of Jacinda’s hijab.

      That is the truth no matter how passionately some people deny it.

      Words and actions speak for themselves but the meaning of symbols is in the mind of the beholder.

      Reply
  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  23rd March 2019

    It wasn’t an attack on all New Zealanders but all New Zealanders were shocked by it. The attacker came here because we had no expectation our people would do such a thing and were unprepared to prevent it.

    After looking after those attacked and harmed our job is to prevent anything similar recurring.

    That is all. Those who conclude we must remake our society and are forever changed are fantasists.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  23rd March 2019

      I think and hope that anyone else coming here to do that will be in for a surprise.

      Reply
  5. Kitty Catkin

     /  23rd March 2019

    I am glad that the bodies were buried in just shrouds and didn’t need coffins (the most pointless waste of wood imaginable)

    Reply

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