I wanted to say just a few words about the horrendous terrorist act in Christchurch a week ago in New Zealand. It pains me to even write this actually as New Zealanders or Kiwis believe they live in a beautiful paradise, far removed from terrorism or mass gun shootings. There was a strong belief that terrorism would never happen there, but sadly that is not the case. I grew up in Christchurch and this hits hard.
This is the country where some of the dead escaped to from war zones to rebuild their lives in what they thought would be a peaceful haven. The grief of the families and friends who lost loved ones at the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques is unimaginable. Compassion and love are being offered to the Muslim community and this will hopefully provide a small comfort.
I believe that this attack will make the country stronger, it will unite not divide. Some businesses have also started to pull their Facebook advertising perhaps only temporarily but it does send a signal that more needs to be done by Zuckerberg et al as well as governments to regulate these companies that have become a platform for hate speech. Live streaming is unacceptable when you are killing people. When will they revise their strategies? Revenue and user numbers are their bottom line so unless users and advertisers stop using their platforms this is not going to happen, so personally I think more regulation is required.
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister has shown herself to be a compassionate and decisive leader, something that seems to be missing right now from various heads of state around the world right now. One week after the attack, the government has banned the sale of assault rifles and I hope that hate crimes will now be registered as to my surprise they are currently not recorded.
I’ll leave it there and sign off with words from Ardern …
“In this role, I wanted to speak directly 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, manaakitanga and all that makes us, us. Our hearts are heavy but our spirit is strong.”
Notes : Image of flowers outside Linwood Mosque taken by friend Emily Thomas.