I wasn’t planning on writing a blog post tonight. Hell I wasn’t planning on writing a post till the end of the month when I could finally say I’ve written “the end” on a novel and a short story.
But circumstances outside of my control have forced my hand.
If you’ve wandered through my site, you’ll know that I live at the bottom of the world in a little country called New Zealand. And, if you’ve followed my stories, you’ll also know that I try to capture a little bit of Kiwisim in all of my main characters. A bit of the innocence and uniqueness that makes NZ what it is.
If you know me in real life, you know I joke that our Army is a giggle, our airforce fleet will fall out of the sky with a healthy sneeze and our Navy… well it floats at least.
The last place I would ever look for a terrorist attack is NZ. Hell most of the world forgets that we exist or thinks we are part of Australia… connected by the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Yes, I have had this discussion… more than once.
Unfortunately today, terrorism decided to visit my slice of heaven.
A slice of heaven where my Catholic best friend is free to raise her son as Muslim because… in her words, “why should he miss out on this side of who he is just because I hate his father?”
Where a LDS friend can look at me sideways, but accept my blessings when she requests it? Where my atheist husband is more than happy for our son to choose what ever religion he wants. A country where noting your religion on the census form as pagan is no more frowned at as ticking the Jedi box.
Today, four gunman decided to shatter that piece of paradise. They decided their belief’s were the only ones that mattered. That their voices should be heard and by gunfire and blood they were going to make sure it was.
March 15, 2019 is going to go down as New Zealand’s darkest day. As the day terrorism found its way to the deep south of the world and realised we existed. But its more than terrorism. This is one persons belief that what they think is true is how the world should exist. That every one else in NZ… all 4 million of us, are wrong. That it doesn’t matter who we are, who we accept into our country, into our hearts with no qualms, they aren’t true New Zealanders, aren’t what the country was built on.
Sure we aren’t perfect, to be fair, who is? we have our issues, our black spots that we’d prefer to ignore. We aren’t as innocent as our minds believe we are… but one thing we are is fair. Friendly. Open armed and open hearted. We will accept you as you are.
Today, my innocence was shattered by the belief of one person, that he was above everything else. That his opinion was the only one that mattered… a Man that wasn’t even born in New Zealand.
Following the news articles I watched as a city was put into lockdown. As people harboured those who had been injured, opened their homes to those who escaped the attacks but had no where else to go. Watched on line as friends tried to fend of panic attacks as they were trapped in University’s around the city’s, desperate to talk to loved ones and hold their own sanity in place. I watched my own hands shake in fear as I tried to contact a friend who hadn’t been able to check in. I live on a different island and my heart broke for what they were going through.
I don’t envy our Prime Minister. There is nothing in any book anywhere that would have equipped her with what happened today. This just doesn’t happen down here. In the eyes of the world we don’t exist.
Tonight, I will hug my son a little closer and pray that it takes him a few days to work out what happened in our slice of paradise. Tonight, I will light a candle to guide those who have passed on their way home, where ever that may be. Tonight I grieve for an innocence lost and the knowledge that we will never, ever get that back.
Tomorrow… tomorrow I will pick myself up by my boot straps. put on my big girl pants and plaster a smile on my face. I will face the world as it has become with a clenched fist and a “is that all you’ve got.” attitude.
We may have had our innocence broken and we may need to look at the world with fresh eyes, but one thing New Zealand has never done is backed down when faced with, what the rest of the world deem to be, insurmountable odds.
We will beat this. We will show the world how its done. We will fight back and win. This is just one person’s point of view. We will show that it doesn’t matter what one person thinks… that we will stand as one. Hands on hips, facing the world as a whole and say… We are here. We have always been here. We will always remain.