As salaam aleikum, Kia ora koutou, Nihau, Hello everyone, Talofa lava
What struck me with the horrific event of last week was that leaders from all over New Zealand stood up and were counted. Community leaders, religious leaders, local government leaders, and central government leaders worked together.
Abdul Aziz acted. He called the gunman, ‘over here’. He threw an eftpos machine at him, dodged between cars, then picked up a discarded gun and hurled it through the terrorist’s windscreen, shattering it. ‘That made him frightened and drive off.’ Without second thoughts for Adbul Aziz, he is a hero for many of us.
Others have done things they have never done before. Many spoke to crowds far larger than they would have encountered before. What else struck me was it was not just rhetoric, thoughts and prayers although they were essential too, the emphasis was on action; kind, empathetic, and pragmatic action. We learned to walk in one another’s shoes.
They collaborated. We responded. We came in droves to pay our respects, helped, participated in vigils, became friendly to strangers, donated, marched, lit candles, and began to get to know the victims of the tragedy.
Going forward from here by what means can we sustain our responsiveness to one another and not retreat? How do we ensure we create emotional connections that matter with one another. Divisions based on political ideology, religious beliefs, ethnicity or identity stifle connectedness whereas relationships based on shared human experience create vitality and understanding. Then we can have difficult conversations with one another. As individuals, professionals and as a nation, we have a greater chance to not make our differences the main thing.
Diana Jones © March 2019