Why are their names talked about? Why are videos, documents, social media accounts shared of these horrific, horrendous people? These are shared amongst groups as people have a grotesque fascination with the perpetrators; watching the massacre of human beings as if they are part of a play and not just that: human beings. Don’t give these vile people a platform. Don’t give them what they want. Terrorism, violence, the worst act of inhumanity there is.
The moments that feed these people are the ones in which you allow casual racism to pass. You allow an involuntary giggle at a racist joke, you don’t speak up with bigot family members because you think you can’t change their mind; even if you can’t, they need to understand that you don’t think that way, that they shouldn’t think that way, and that the way they think is what is wrong in this world. It is what feeds the extremists to act despicably. It may lead to strained moments, it may lead to loud arguments, but at least it is leading to conversation being had.
Extremists in any capacity that is about harming people is not welcome. But the moment you group All Muslims together as a violent religion and defend White People and They Were Just A Small Part and This Isn’t Usually Us, is right where you become the problem. It is right where you don’t understand that violence can happen anywhere in the world to any community, and it doesn’t matter if it’s New Zealand And This Isn’t Us, or Australian People May Be Jokingly Racist But Don’t Massacre, or He Doesn’t Represent All of Us — of course he doesn’t. But show that in your day to day life. Tell your mate his casual racism isn’t okay. Tell your family their internalised misogyny is not welcome. Tell yourself that the inner monologue may just be wrong. Understand that violence happens everywhere.
All of the lead up to this does not fall on the one person: it falls on us as a community, to come together, to accept each other and to learn from each other. Every day. To replace hate with such an immense love that even those with evil in their veins don’t know what to do with themselves. Make them realise that their thoughts and “opinions” are just not justified and not fucking okay. Stop allowing marginalisation in your day to day life.
This happened to a group of people. This happened because of an extremist, a terrorist, a fucking vile piece of shit who doesn’t deserve to be named.
This happened to innocent people.
It is okay to grieve for these people even if you are not Muslim. We should be grieving. Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Athiest, whatever you call yourself; we mourn together. We mourn at this loss of humanity. We mourn for these innocent people who were attempting to live their life of gratitude in their safe space.
Haji-Daoud Nabi, whose final words were: Welcome, brother.
Mucaad Ibrahim. 3 years old.
Abdullahi Dirie, 4 years old.
Sayyad Milne, 14 years old.
A wife who protected her wheelchair-bound husband, an aspiring pilot, a goalkeeper, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters. Heroes and humans. Just trying to live their lives in the best way they knew how; through practice of their religion, through prayer and with their community.
Now is not the time to walk further apart. It is the time to come together. To not move on from this a week after it happened, to put it in the pile of Terrible Human Acts, but as something to use to better the world. As an example to rid your vocabulary of racist “humour”, to call out your friends, your neighbours, to accept any and all.
We do not blame religion. We blame bigotry and racism and terrorism in every form.
We do not blame victims. We blame perpetrators and remember victims.
We don’t even blame where they came from, or where they chose to act.
We do not blame the victims. We do NOT blame their religion. We work on ourselves and help others to work towards a kinder, better, equal future.