Like the rest of New Zealand, the Christchurch mosque terrorist attack has been at the forefront of our minds. The news of the developing attacks left me numb with disbelief and horror, as it did for so many others. To the members of our Muslim community we offer our condolences and our love. We join in the sentiment so well expressed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: “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.”
The terrorist attack left me with a lot of doubt and questions. I had always viewed New Zealand as somehow removed from the mass shootings and terrorist attacks that have sadly become a regular feature on the news. Yet here it was happening in our country. How had the seeds of such an ugly sentiment been sown in my country? Yet the response to the attacks has felt very familiar, very kiwi. The flowers at mosques, messages on the walls around campus, and strangers hugging and giving comfort. They all send the same message: our love and our empathy are strong. In many ways, this is what drew me to the PGSA in the first place – a community who wants to help one another to thrive, so they can do their bit to change the world. We need to keep doing this, and develop a “new normal”. Keep using our words, our actions and our choices to make it clear that discrimination and violence is not welcome in our communities. Keep building each other up with our love, acts of kindness, and our presence. Keep reaching out and growing in understanding of one another. This is what is giving me hope.
Anyone experiencing distress can phone or text 1737 at any time to contact a trained counsellor. Full VUW support guidelines
Find the full issue of the Postgraduate Informer 7.2: March 2019 here!