Tragedy in New Zealand


Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, wears the hijab as a symbol of respect while visiting the victims of the shooting.

Safia Khan, Photojournalist

The world mourned with Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday March 15, after 49 innocent people were killed and consequently, 42 were severely injured and in critical condition after one of the most senseless and brutal terrorist attacks the country had witnessed unfolded. The Prime Minister of New Zealand called it “the darkest day,” the day when two mosques were targeted and massacred in a hate-filled attack on the Muslim community.


At 1:40 p.m. shots were first heard at a mosque in central Christchurch. One witness describes that “the next minute [he] turned to [his] right and just saw people running out of the mosque, and obviously just a couple of more shots and a lady fell over and then a guy in full military gear with what looked like a really high powered gun pointing down the road firing.”


The shooter has been identified as 28 year old Australian native, Brenton Tarrant. At 12:15 a.m. the terrorist had published a 74-page manifesto detailing his racist, hate-filled, fascist beliefs and even emailed a copy to Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, minutes before the vile attack. He also credited his inspiration to Donald Trump stating that he is “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose,” according to Newshub.  


Horrifically, in his manifesto, he goes on to go into the reasoning behind the shooting was because “the extra media coverage they would provide and the affect it could have on the politics of the United States and thereby the political situation of the world,” he wrote. Tarrant wanted to “create conflict between the two ideologies within the United States on the ownership of firearms in order to further the social, cultural, political and racial divide,” thus “ensuring the death of the ‘melting pot’ pipe dream,” stated the New York Times.


People all over the world have united in support of the victims and in opposition against hate and bigotry that fuels these disgusting acts. Megan Teeling (12), says that “[she] believes that the New Zealand shooting was a tragic event that humanity should have never succumbed to. It’s a shame that we as humans fail to support one another. It’s 2019. Why is this still happening? We shouldn’t even have to ask this question.”


The biggest heartbreak of this story is all of the lives that were lost. Mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, both old and young were victims. People who fled war in third world countries to gain a better life in New Zealand where they believed they would be safe had their lives ripped away from them. Some died trying to protect their loved ones from being shot. Some like Naeem Rashid died attempting to stop the shooter.


Even with all the support shared by people around the world to New Zealand, people still have the audacity to be racist and put the blame on Muslims. Disgraced Australian senator, Fraser Anning, publicly blamed Muslim immigration for the horrific shooting. However it was proven that tolerance trumps hate when 17-year old, Will Connolly, smashed an egg on the bigoted senator’s head.


The New Zealand shooting is a clear example of the consequences widespread hate speech and bigotry. Innocent lives were unrightfully taken because a man hated a certain group of people so much that he felt the need to kill them. As human beings we must do better moving forward to be completely intolerant of any form of hate to avoid tragedies like this.