Why New Zealand’s PM is the Leader We All Need

On Friday, March 15th, 50 people of the Muslim community were killed and at least 50 others were injured in a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.  The gunman, Brenton Tarrant, documented the entire attack on Facebook Live – even writing an 87-page manifesto where he mentioned anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim ideas. It was a premeditated crime; an attack deeply rooted in hatred, and what started as a normal Friday prayer for many Muslim families ended in tragedy.

As a Christian, church has ALWAYS been my safe place. It’s my place of refuge, my place of worship and where I’m most comfortable. I imagine the same sentiments for my Muslim brothers and sisters as it relates to the mosque, their place of worship. It hurts my heart to know that their place of safety was interrupted by terrorism and hatred, ultimately ending in bloodshed.

Friday prayer just as Sunday church or Saturday Synagogue is the norm for so many of us who practice religion. It’s sacred and last Friday, that sacredness was interrupted. 

A huge part of being a decent human is having a moral conscience and the ability to empathize.

I’ve personally been very disappointed in the response from our president, Donald Trump and his lack of empathy. 

Tarrant, the terrorist and a white supremacist, stated in his manifesto that one of his greatest influences is President Trump for the sake of white power. I’ve heard Trump, Republicans and MAGA supporters say over the weekend that people are giving this crazy person too much attention. On one hand I agree, but on the other when will our President and his supporters realize that his words have power?

We’ve clearly seen the rise in white supremacy within the last few years. It was apparent in the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally in 2017. It appears that now more than ever more white supremacist feel empowered to speak hatred and racism openly and firmly. 

I will not say that the current climate is caused by President Trump but, it’s hard to deny that some of this boldness isn’t possibly influenced by him. He placed a ban on Muslim countries entering the U.S. back in 2018 and made comments referring to African countries as “shit-hole places”. As far as I know, he’s never condemned any of his supporters who speak ill of the Muslim and other minority communities. Recently when asked if he has seen a rise in white supremacy, Trump answered: “No”.

Well, President Trump may not see it, but I sure do.

The rise in white supremacy goes beyond political parties and country’s status. This is a problem of human decency. 

By now, a few days have passed since the Christchurch massacre. Since the attack, we’ve watched New Zealand respond with compassion. Immediately following the attack, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern placed a ban on assault rifles. (Immediately!) She stated that New Zealand will cover the cost of all 50 funerals and will take care of the victim’s families as long as needed. She’s mourned with Muslim families and has reassured them that the entire country of New Zealand mourns as they mourn. Her moral conscience and her ability to empathize is not only admirable, but it’s needed. Quite frankly, it’s everything any nation needs in time of tragedy. 

Cordelia Paris (@cordeliaparis_) has a B.A. in Mass Communications: Public Relations from the University of Bridgeport. She plans to use this degree as an avenue for her public speaking career.

She currently works in Social Media, and has a passion for all things people, and all things fun. An active learning, she’s ready to change the world one word at a time.