The Christchurch mosque attacks have conjured waves of support and solidarity and shame. These are important and heartwarming, but they are not enough. Every attack of this kind opens floodgates of racialised violence. It legitimises and emboldens.
From across the ditch, the news that the Christchurch terrorist was an Australian was accompanied by a sinking feeling. The way in which our everyday public debate is steeped in concepts of white superiority made it all too predictable that such a horrendous crime should find its origins on our shores.
Many of us immigrants have heard in the last few days that ‘this is not New Zealand.’ It’s meant to be a comforting sentiment. It’s understandable where it’s coming from. What can you possibly say about unspeakable horror, without needing to disavow it?
Even as the country was grieving with its Muslim community, a quiet process of revision began.
We are in shock and mourning, so I’ll keep this brief as I can.
On Friday we learned, in the most horrific way, that we live in a country where a man can walk down the street in broad daylight fully armed and livestream his massacre of Muslims at our place of worship.