I have a habit of waking in the middle of the night and tuning into BBC. It’s a way to keep a pulse on what is happening around the world. It was how I learned of the slaughter of Muslim people in prayer by a white supremacist in Christchurch. It was when I first heard the phrase, “They are us.”
I have followed the reactions and actions of the Prime Minister of New Zealand and of her countrymen. And I have found a glimmer of hope.
“They are us.” That was one of the first pronouncements regarding the massacre. And then came acknowledgements and commitments, “We cannot know your grief, but we can walk with you at every stage.”
And, “We cannot allow this to happen again.”
The compassion of the leadership is a triumph of the human spirit. It is in stark contrast to the language of division common in United States politics. The efforts of New Zealand’s Prime Minister are like balm on torn flesh.
Human beings are not designed for hatred. It is so abhorrent to the majority of us that when confronted by it, we often become numb and impotent. For some of us fear guides our silence. Fortunately Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will not be silenced.
In her words: “Safety means being free from the fear of violence. But it also means being free from the fear of those sentiments of racism and hate that create a place where violence can flourish. “
“And every single one of us has the power to change that.”
For the sake of “They Are Us” and “We Are One”, let us stand up to hate and say “no more”. Let us find the courage, the clarity and the power to close the door on racism and fear. Let this be our time.
As they carry on…One week later the prayers continue.