Today, across the globe, humanity cried out in pain. Thousands upon thousands marched in over 100 countries, in thousands of cities. Children taking to the streets in defiance of our world’s leadership, against those who have failed us all – children who, if things do not change, may not have a future. And so they fight for it. Simultaneously, our attention is diverted and hearts shattered as news from Christchurch shows a depravity no words can describe. As of writing, 49 have died and at least 40 were injured in, as the media seems reluctant to label it, a terror attack against two mosques, with one perpetrator a confirmed white supremacist. Thousands upon thousands add their voices in sorrow as more details are released. The best and the worst of our humanity is laid bare, suffering, but united.
I have a few points I wish to make about the two events that occurred today, but will stay away from too much commentary about the terror attack itself, at least until more information is known. The first is that these two events do not, and cannot, detract from each other. Both are the result of a wretched abuse and perception of power, one of race and the other of greed. One pays the price in environmental destruction, and the other in innocent blood. They are also both incredible moments of unity. Whether it be the crowds amassing in countless countries for the future of our planet, or the grief-stricken declarations of solidarity with New Zealand, today more than any embodies the sentiment of my comments the other day about One Million Voices. The power, impact, and raw emotion weaving between these two events has been phenomenal, inspiring, and heartbreaking.
The second is on the reach the strikes have had across the globe. In November of 2018, students in Australia went on strike to call for action on climate change, and a month later Greta Thunberg, a young activist from Sweden, spoke at the UN’s COP24 event in Poland, a speech that went viral. All of that culminated in a global movement, consisting mostly of students, children, using their democratic and human rights to stand for what they believe in today. New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Korea, Ukraine, the UK, France, Italy, Belgium, the US, Nepal, Denmark, the Philippines, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Germany, Mauritius… If I had the time and will to write the out I would; there are over 120 countries that have taken place in this movement. Greta has, for her role in this, has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and I say yes, she is worthy of such an accolade.
The next two points go hand in hand, both relating to the response of the events in Christchurch from Australia. While the majority of people and the media have been respectful, there are some things that have been rightfully called out. The term terrorist was on the lips of everyone I saw responding to this tragedy, and yet the media has seemed tentative to use it, preferring instead to say extremist or simply ‘gunman’. While some have shifted their language, it cannot be denied that what happened was an inexcusable act of terror against the New Zealand people, and specifically the Muslim community. As NZ PM Jacinda Ardern said in her address, it is one of the darkest days in that peaceful country’s history. There was also a request from New Zealand authorities to not spread a video of the attack, which was a livestream from one of the attackers. I have not watched it, but it was described as distressing and social media and tech giants such as Facebook and Google are working to remove it. If you find it anywhere, be sure to report it and respect the wishes of the NZ people in not sharing it.
The second call out is to one person in particular, and I’m going to be blunt and painfully clear in the coming paragraph. Fraser Anning is a fucking disgrace to Australia, to our Parliament, and to human decency. In his response to the shooting, he gave a brief condemnation of the violence, and then proceeded to use the rest of it to flip the blame onto Muslims, insulting the Islamic religion with baseless accusations, and defending the nationalist and white supremacist movements. It is a thin, thin line from outright condoning and encouraging the actions taken by the scum in NZ, and that piece of shit is a Senator in our Parliament. I had a old friend of mine, a Muslim herself, accuse him of being a driving force behind radicalising these types of white supremacy extremists, saying the blood is equally on his hands. And she is right, and I echo her sentiments – he needs to step down and get the fuck out of Parliament.
The world cries in pain, again, again, again… but never before has it been so united. In nature and in Christchurch, we are one people, and our hearts go out to the victims.