50 Lives Lost, 5 Million Hearts Weep
On Friday, March 15 2019, Christchurch in New Zealand’s South Island was hit by a tragic terrorist attack in which 50 lives were carelessly taken.
All too often, we see terrorist attacks being played out around the world, Europe and the US seem to be centre of the stage, while in Asia and Africa these events are all too common in every day lives.
But why then, is this so personal, so different?
When You Lose A Family Member
This event hit harder than anything else because it was my homeland. The 50 lives that were taken, were ordinary people who choose my country of origin as their own. They were mothers, fathers, sons and brothers, daughters and sisters that walked amongst my people, and were accepted as one of us.
When their lives were taken at the hands of a rogue idealist last Friday, it hit hard. The raw emotion that drew to the surface hit like a freight train, this was not an idealist, but a cynic of free movement and a purveyor of hatred. This was not one of us.
As the co-administrator of a group of expatriated New Zealand citizens, I became a beacon of support for many Kiwis abroad who were lost, confused and dumbfounded by the events that had unfolded back home. It was a loss that had far reaching implications, ones that we fear retaliation from. These were people asking, why us?
During these sad times the Prime Minister of New Zealand stepped up and showed solidarity with the victims. Unlike in previous times where ‘thoughts and prayers’ were exchanged, a courageous young woman who represented the hearts of nearly 5 million people took to the world stage and shared hugs and tears with the family of the victims – this was a true hero, a marksmanship of how a leader should act in the face of adversity.
What Becomes Of A Broken Heart
During 2017, the perpetrator took a tour of Europe, it was during this time that the seeds of hate were planted in his mind. Those same seeds came from a complete lack of comprehension of world events and issues, it came from a vision of what history was, but not as it truly is.
There is not one side to history, but many sides. People are the products of their environments, and if you choose to believe in a different God, then that is the beauty of humanity. By choosing to pursue violence towards someone who seeks comfort in their own beliefs, then that is the ugly side of humanity.
There is no justice in retribution, there will never be a happy ending if all we as a society do is retaliate. Violence is not a solution, it is the process of implementing a vicious cycle of ‘tit-for-tat’.
How The World Truly Is
The media and governments portray our world as one of despair and faded hope, but their story is one that represents a few. The truth is, our world has so much beauty and kindness in it, that’s unimaginable to those who have not travelled and explored it.
The depth of understanding and love that exists beyond borders is something we can only see as idealistic, but the truth is for every one person that hates, there are ten more that show compassion and understanding. For every extremist ideology, there are a thousand more that seek peace and humanitarianism.
There is one universal truth to the world, that all anybody wants is to be listened to. If we can do that, then we can truly seek to eliminate the word, ‘terrorism’ from our vocabulary.
How To Move Forward
There is no immediate solution to how we move forward. There are steps to take that so far we have failed to address. This is as much about de-radicalisation as it is about committing to a comprehension of ideas. We will never agree on the same view of the world, but do we have to?
This is about a collaboration, if we cannot do that then how will we ever move forward as a progressive species. Our time on this planet is limited by our biological DNA, so do we need to waste it being aggressive or trying to make sense of the way religions and cultures identify with ourselves?
It is better to seek forgiveness and peace within yourself, because if you want to change the world, mould it into the utopia that you see fit, then you must start to mould it from within. We have no right to change others, but to learn from them.
Our world is an open book, an encyclopaedia of knowledge and wisdom. It’s something that we all must learn from.