New Zealand is still awash with grief in the aftermath of the killings in Christchurch that left 50 New Zealanders dead and many more injured. Our image overseas while tarnished as a safe haven, has been boosted by our Prime Minister who has presented the face of the nation as one that embellishes an inclusive spirit, one that welcomes all to the shores of New Zealand to start a new life. My own brother living in Seattle, remarked that New Zealand on a global media stage had come across as being a role model for all other countries dealing with terror attacks.
It has indeed been a shocking time, and we all as New Zealanders have been stunned to our core that such an act of terror could occur in our own country. Let us hope that any Royal Commission covers off comprehensively any learnings we can take from this.
Many New Zealanders have led a somewhat sheltered life, free of tragedy or sudden trauma and this has now changed. For those that haven’t, the victims of acts of domestic atrocity that result in our long list of murdered children, women and men. The road toll, workplace death victims and those neglected by systems or carers it is a stark reminder of the brutality that does exists.
One of the most powerful simplistic symbolic images I’ve seen being circulated in the aftermath of this attack aside is shown on the right.
It represents to me the belief that no matter what we look like on the outside, who are parents are, where we immigrated from, what are beliefs are, we all originate as being the same on the inside, with the same faults, feelings and functions. Labels relating to religion, ethnicity, social class, are all constructs of a society that in an overzealous attempt to assist, in actual fact can do harm.
It is Anzac day this month, a chance for all New Zealanders to reflect on the price thousands of our countryman paid to obtain our freedom. Freedom to express our thoughts, our voices, whether they political or religious or neither. It is a freedom that should never be taken for granted or lightly and I would encourage all of you to remember this and keep the memories alive.