Tragedy in a loving country

As circumstances would have it, Lori McKenna, my brother, Julian High and I were due to fly to Christchurch on Saturday, one day after 50 Muslims were murdered while they prayed in their mosque in that city.  On Friday, the news broke slowly: 4 shooters, then 1, school kids in locked in their schools until 6PM, and many businesses shuttered. Our first reaction to stay away was based on our previous experience of “lock down” and how it paralyzes normal life in a city. The next day, our 1:30 PM flight to Christchurch was cancelled; however, we were all automatically rebooked on an earlier flight leaving at noon.  Despite our uncertainly, sorrow and a little bit of fear we decided to go. 

Several things are strikingly different in a country naïve to gun violence. First, people are not numb to this news, they are hurt, angry and want to do something to express their sorrow. So many people have come to the street across from where we are staying to lay flowers and leave signs or other objects, pray and sing.  Now that display stretches is 3-4 blocks long and 6 feet deep. Hymns and Maori singing can be occasionally heard.  Media coverage from around the world is set up here.  The Prime Minister has assured her country that gun laws will be changed in 10 days’ time and there will be a day of national mourning.  We were told that when President Trump asked Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern what he could do, she replied “have sympathy and love for all Muslim communities”.  The sign pictured below captures the spirit of New Zealand – a unique and diverse land of many people.  A tragedy witnessed…

A sign posted in the ChristChurch Art Centre
Newsman interviewing at the site of the memorial to slain Muslims
on Rolleston Street Christchurch

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to toolbar