15 March 2019

New Zealand I

Image from Instagram

It’s hard to believe the news this morning.

The latest update says that 49 people have been killed and 20 seriously wounded in the terrorist attack at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

New Zealand. The country known for its extraordinarily tolerant, peaceful community.

And to hit a place of worship. Places of worship should be places of safety, of community and of peace. I cannot bring myself to understand how anyone could target these sacred spaces for such brutality.

Here in Manchester we were rocked by terrorism not so long ago and we came together as a community to show the world that these acts don’t divide, they bring people closer together. We see this time and again. Whilst terrorists carry out these unimaginable atrocities, they don’t divide communities, they rebuild them. I am sure that the same is happening in the Christchurch community right now, we can already see it on social media.

It is often said that in these harrowing times, we should always look for the helpers. Look at all of the people doing what they can to ease others’ pain, to support the community. That’s what I choose to do today.

Having stumbled across the video posted by the attackers while reading through the latest updates, I am appalled that this is being circulated. There are also a huge number of conversations on social media about the way the society has normalised hatred and racism in the name of freedom of speech. How growing political divides across the world are perpetuating hate-filled narratives.

Now perhaps isn’t the time for these conversations. Now is the time to regroup. To come together to send love and condolences to all of those families who’ve lost loved ones, who’ve been injured and whose lives are changed forever.

We’re all people. It’s that simple. We all have our own views, our own religions, our own backgrounds and our own experiences. That shouldn’t divide us, it should be what makes us better.

My heart breaks for Christchurch today. My thoughts will be with those families for a long time to come.

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