JJ’s Galactic Musings – Expressions of support and solidarity after the March 15 Christchurch massacre

Welcome to the galaxy! I’m J J Mathews, New Zealand science fiction author and dreamer of alien worlds.

It has been a long week after a very dark day last Friday, but it has also been a week full of promise and hope.

Today, March 22nd (NZT) at 1:32pm, people all around New Zealand gathered together, or simply stopped wherever they were for two minutes of silence to remember the victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks exactly a week ago, where 50 people died, and as many were injured.

If the shooter’s aim was to promote hatred and division between people, races and religions, exactly the opposite has occurred.

The response from the people of New Zealand and from around the world has been an overwhelming outpouring of generosity, compassion, love and support for our Muslim whānau (family).

Today, thousands of women around New Zealand donned “head scarves for harmony” to show solidarity for Muslim women. 

As Jacinda Ardern firmly declared, “they are us”. New Zealand (pop. 4.7M) is an ethnically diverse country, with a population representing over 200 nations, 100 languages and many different religions. Religious leaders of many faiths joined together to support our Muslim whānau with the call to prayer at 1:30 today, in unity as one people.

This week, one word kept going through my mind. As I watched the news and read about very human stories of support, compassion and understanding, the Maori word that came to mind for me was:

Aroha 
(Love)

Where there is love, compassion and understanding, there is no room for hatred to grow. We are stronger together (kotahitanga) than we are alone, and we are all one people of New Zealand, regardless of where you may have originally come from.

To our Muslim whānau in New Zealand, and the rest of you out in the world, regardless of your race, religion or creed:

Salām
سلام
(Peace)

It is in embracing diversity that we become better people.

Next time we will step back up to the stars, but for today, the aroha I see being expressed gives me hope for the future.

JJ Mathews

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