In the aftermath of Friday’s massacre at two Christchurch mosques, I am struggling to find ways to verbalise the sorrow and anguish I feel.
I remembered writing this post, and quoting John Donne’s Meditation, which conveys so beautifully my thoughts and feelings.
But when I read the post, I also realised how smug and privileged was my assertion of NZ as a “safe place”.
One of the things that is becoming clear since Friday, is that for many, New Zealand is far from safe. The Muslim community has been trying for years to make those in charge understand how much hatred and discrimination and violence its members experience every day.
And they are not alone.
If anything good can come of the hideous violence that killed fifty people and forever changed the lives of countless others, it must be a widespread recognition that our PM’s declaration — “this is not who we are” — is, at best — “this is not who we want to be.”
If we accept that, and refuse to accept hatred and extremism, we can perhaps become a safe place for everyone.
I woke this morning to find the world beyond my street has disappeared.
A mist has rolled across the harbour and made an island of this, slightly elevated, piece of land I call home. Beyond the neighbours’ roofs, a stand of macrocarpa trees fades softly into a flat, grey void.
The still air carries the sound of motorway traffic in the distance, but like shapes in the mist, the sound is muffled and indistinct — a mere hint of life beyond this temporary island.
For this time I am alone; the drivers, dog-walkers, joggers and cyclists either still at home or invisible to me.
For this time I can enjoy the quiet and solitude, the safety and peace, of my island. Soon it will…
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