The tragedy that unfolded at Christchurch on Friday is still sinking in for a lot of us.
New Zealand is so much more than our geographic neighbour. They’re our closest ally; we’re closely linked, like siblings, like family. When one of their cities is rocked by a tragedy like this, especially when it was an Australian criminal at the centre of it all, we deeply feel the impact here.
Which is why many of us have felt drained, devastated and broken over the weekend.
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Those feelings are amplified when elected officials reveal themselves to be bigoted, racist xenophobes – but let’s not give that particular egghead any more attention.
It’s already so very difficult to stay positive amongst all of this.
So, we have to look for the helpers and the heroes.
The people who step up and remind us that humanity is always, always so much more beautiful and kind than the small but loud cluster of dissenters.
People like this woman, Jill, who, in the midst of an active shooter situation, helped to save a man’s life, and spoke to his wife on the phone to keep her updated.
And Abdul Aziz, who frightened the terrorist off and likely saved dozens and dozens of lives.
And Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, who has shown relentless grace and dignity in the face of the crisis – she has not only promised to fast-track law reform around gun control, but she has also pledged to fund the cost of funerals for all victims, whether they are New Zealand citizens or not.
And One Mother to Another, a Christchurch-based charity that supports parents who have sick children in the hospital; the group is currently preparing hundreds of beautiful care packages for the families, first responders and hospital staff who are still reeling from and dealing with the core cruelty of this horrific act.
Overseas, kindness has been multiplying, too. In an act of religious solidarity, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has set up a fund for Christchurch victims. And over in the UK, a beautiful man call Andrew Graystone stood out the front of a mosque with a sign that read, “You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray.
“There are two ways you can respond to an attack like this,” Andrew says. “You can respond with fear or you can respond with friendship.”
What an incredible gesture – and something we can all be inspired by.
Let’s all respond with friendship. Fear never wins.
To show your support for the people of Christchurch, there are a number of ideas here.