Today I’m absolutely devastated. At this point 49 people are dead from two mosque shootings in my city. My lovely city. I never thought anything like that could happen here. Not really. It feels unreal. Nine years ago my city was hit by a devastating series of earthquakes that destroyed many homes and the central city, and a lot of us here are still getting over that, and now we have to deal with this.
Our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the events of today one of New Zealand’s darkest days. A man put on body armour, walked into a mosque with a semi-automatic assault rifle and opened fire. On the other side of the city another mosque was attacked, possibly by a couple of other people, it’s unclear at the moment. And now 49 people are dead with at least another 40 severely injured.
I’ve seen reports of shootings like this occur on the news far too regularly in places like the United States, but I never dreamed it could happen here, not on this scale. The shooter posted his “manifesto” online and then live streamed the shooting. The level of the sickness of this attack is overwhelming and unbelievable.
This was a white supremacist attack on the Muslim community here. It was planned and it was racially and politically motivated. The shooter was doing it in the mistaken belief he was trying to save Western civilisation from Muslim immigrants here. He cited Donald Trump as an inspiration, and let’s be clear here I hold Donald Trump’s hate speech against Muslims to blame. His rhetoric of hatred against minorities, has now spread even to my country. Trump’s evil is poisoning the very world in front of our eyes.
Our Prime Minister has rightly called this a terrorist attack. We all thought we were safe here in our little country far away from anywhere else, but obviously we weren’t. My heart goes out to all the Muslim’s living here in Christchurch who are dealing with the loss of friends and family and also to Muslims everywhere who feel unsettled by these attacks today. It’s been a very sad and emotional day here.