Massacre & The Masses
‘It is a fact that if the racist right-wing ideology has to be uprooted from minds of the people, the global community should have to join hands, on doing so!‘
Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern has issued such a statement while initiating a clariom-call, calling for a global fight against racism! She was seen talking to the media following the deadly attack at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15. It is to be noted that Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, had gunned down at least 50 people who had visited the two mosques to offer prayers on that fateful day! PM Ardern also rejected the idea that a rise in immigration was fuelling racism! When asked about the rise of ultra-rightist nationalism in her country in recent times, the premier said: “This was an Australian citizen, but that is not to say that we do not have an ideology in New Zealand that would be an affront to the majority of New Zealanders.” According to Ardern, it is a Global Responsibility “to weed it out where it exists and make sure that we never create an environment where it can flourish”!
The PM reminded the world that it was a global call, stressing: “What New Zealand experienced here was violence brought against us by someone who grew up and learned their ideology somewhere else. If we want to make sure globally that we are a safe and tolerant and inclusive world we cannot think about this in terms of boundaries.”
At the same time, Ardern defended her country’s policy to accept refugees, saying: “We are a welcoming country. I utterly reject the idea that in any way in trying to ensure that we have a system that looks after those who choose to call New Zealand home, that we have perpetuated an environment where this kind of ideology can exist.”
Meanwhile, PM Ardern has strongly criticised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for threatening violence to Australians and New Zealanders after the massacre at Christchurch. Addressing a rally ahead of the local elections on March 31, President Erdogan denounced the rising hatred and prejudice against Islam, and also criticised New Zealand and Australia for sending troops to Turkey in the World War I Gallipoli campaign. He claimed that their motive was anti-Islamic. “Your grandparents came here… and they returned in caskets. Have no doubt we will send you back like your grandfathers,” he told the rally. Soon after the Turkish president made the comment, PM Ardern sent her Foreign Minister Winston Peters to Ankara for holding talks with Erdogan, as she wanted the president to explain his remarks.
Interestingly, PM Ardern further defended her call not to refer to the suspect by name, insisting: “One of his goals… was that he sought notoriety and we will absolutely deny him that.” She even welcomed the Muslim community’s decision to forgive the assassin. In fact, the people of New Zealand show the world a new path to eradicate racism by forgiving Tarrant. Indeed, this is an exceptional move in the contemporary world, where the people, who would be reciprocating (read vindictive), usually tend to receive popular support! Majority of the modern people consider forgiveness as the identity of weakness! Forgiveness, now, is not so common a term in the modern world, as hatred has somehow become the driving force of the statecraft.
It is evident in history that in cases of belligerent nations, one state attacked another one in different parts of the world… but, how many of them cared to offer a formal apology to the one attacked by them? Japan had officially apologised for wartime violence and torture. Queen Elizabeth II did so (on behalf of Britain) for occupying the land and property of the Māori people, the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. These are rare instances! The most common is the use of index fingers. Therefore, the people of New Zealand, it may be conjectured, have set a fine example!
In reality, forgiveness is the quality of a powerful soul, and to become powerful, we all shall have to overcome the limits of race, state and religion. At a time when the majority of the people respond positively to violence, the people of New Zealand have rejected jealousy and grudge! That is why Prime Minister Ardern stated: “These are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and, in fact, have no place in the world… You may have chosen us, but we utterly reject and condemn you.”
Unfortunately, many heads of state are unable to deliver such messages, as well as to forgive. We have to realise and remember that forgiveness and power are the opposite sides of the same coin…
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