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Kate Hawkesby: World's praise for our kind little country

Author
Kate Hawkesby ,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 20 March 2019, 9:33a.m.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lays a wreath at the Kilbirnie Mosque on March 17, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo / Getty)

COMMENT

Is it just me or does pretty much anything make you want to burst into tears at the moment?

After the shock, comes the grief, although shock still feels real too.

But the outpouring of grief we are seeing in this country is just so overwhelming.

The floral tributes are phenomenal. The numbers of people turning up to vigils around the country is amazing. The amount of hope and outpouring of love restores your faith in humanity, and is actually so touching.

How this country has come together, unified in the face of hate, is something we should be proud of.

It's being noticed by the whole world.

The international community is awash with praise at how our little country has picked itself up, come together, shown love and strength. We shouldn't be surprised at Cantabrians' ability to do this. After all, they're tragically well versed now in dealing with trauma ... but the outpouring of love around the rest of the country by way of support for the garden city, and for the Muslim community, is awe inspiring.

The kindness and leadership shown by our PM. I saw one meme out of America which said: "Wow NZ, have you not even considered thoughts and prayers?" The sarcasm of course referring to their country's sit-on-your-hands approach to gun control.

Jacinda Ardern arrives at the Kilbirnie mosque in Wellington. Photo / Getty Images
Jacinda Ardern arrives at the Kilbirnie mosque in Wellington. Photo / Getty Images

It's the little things that say so much too: The words from children on cards outside mosques, the St Johns worker hugging the policeman, the Muslim community continuing to generously offer so much love despite being targets of hate.

One message of hope which went viral and was shared over 50,000 times was an open letter to the shooter written by a woman who runs "The Radiant Muslim" blog.

It said: "Appreciate that you made the effort to find out the timing of our noon prayer … But I guess there were some things you, rather unfortunately, didn't get to learn… You made countless New Zealanders come out of their homes to visit the mosques nearest to them with flowers and beautiful messages of peace and love… You brought us closer together ... And it has strengthened our faith and resolve… In the coming weeks, more non-Muslims will turn up at the gates of mosques with fresh flowers and beautifully handwritten notes. They may not have known where the mosques in their area was (sic). But now, they do. All because of you"… "You may've achieved your aim of intended destruction, but I guess you failed to incite hatred, fear and despair in all of us..."

Mourners lay flowers outside a mosque. Photo / Getty Images
Mourners lay flowers outside a mosque. Photo / Getty Images

And isn't that the key to all the healing here? Instead of division, this act has actually provoked unity.

It's hard to watch and digest the news at the moment. It's still hard to comprehend, and a lump in the throat seems a standard state right now. But the path to healing is lit up, by the thousands of little gestures everyday, which prove we will not be broken by this.

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