When putting together Craccum, we are one week behind the news cycle between the time we go to print and distribution onto campus. Often when there is breaking news, we are unable to respond until our next print date, but when we report on tragedies, we ourselves are still reeling. Craccum sends our deepest condolences to Christchurch. Like the rest of New Zealand, we are heartbroken by the attack on our Muslim Community, and send our love to those affected by this act of terror.
I asked my friend how to go about writing this week’s editorial because I knew it was going to be tough. My friend is a strong, smart, young Muslim woman who is one of the loveliest people I know. I asked her how I could do this justice when it hasn’t affected me directly. How can I show that I stand with this community? She, in her ever-present kindness, assured me that speaking with thoughtfulness and from the heart was the way. But when I sit down to write, I know I was not affected like she was. I watched her response to the attacks as she filmed her words. I watched the tears in her eyes as she spoke about the demonization of her faith. I watched as she feared for her life in her own home. And that is something I have never felt, and because I am part of the majority, I likely never will.
Love and support is what we can offer. The solidarity that the country has already shown is heartwarming. Institutions, companies, and people have used their platforms to express their condolences. Around campus, the many stations devoted to sending messages of support and condolences to those affected display the kindness that we need to show each other going forward. Conversations that need to happen are starting, even though they are difficult. New Zealand is beginning to acknowledge that though we market ourselves as a harmonious multicultural country, we are not. We have a habit of ‘othering’ cultures that are not European, and breeding resentment by accusing them of threatening our way of life. We can no longer pretend that what we talk about as a country is innocent. Because our words matter. The language we use to talk about this matters.
The attack has deeply affected Christchurch as a whole, but let’s not pretend that this act of terror did anything other than target certain people and a certain religion. It was an attack on good New Zealanders who deserved better. If we stand together rather than fear what we don’t know, maybe we can make New Zealand the home that we all deserve to have.
From all of the staff at Craccum: you belong here. Kia Kaha.