Dear Huhana and Kāhu o te Rangi
Yesterday, 15/3/2019 nearly a hundred people were shot in two mosques in Christchurch. So far 49 have died. Huhana, you only asked one question, what’s a gunshot wound? They were shot because of their religion and race.
There’s been a lot of talk about racism not being something that we should have to worry about in NZ.
But there are also bad people, racists and fascists in our country. Āe, even here in Aotearoa. Any minority, especially, can tell you this, I hope you never see the overt face of it, but you’ll feel the breath of it hiding in many places as you hikoi through life. It’s never been hard to see, but I imagine it’s easier for some to forget when they’re not the ones living the countless effects of systematic bias, hatred, the second looks, the hurtful names. Or worse. Nobody wanted to imagine the worse that happened yesterday. But we could have.
There are fascists here. Kāhu and Huhana, they’re not you, so, WORK AGAINST THEM. We all need to. You do this with love. Love for your neighbour. If all your neighbours look the same, walk down a different street. Spend time with people different from you. Get outside your circle and understand more about that person at work who doesn’t share your belief system, your skin colour, your preferences or way of life. Lots of us adults move in circles of people who look and sound just like us. I hope you step through the wall of your circle, even just for a bit. Spend some time outside it, get to know those people different to you so you can remember, underneath it all, when you get down to the things that matter, they’re not different at all. You’ll learn things you never knew. And you’ll be working against the bad people. The people who are scared of those who aren’t like them. Those people are threatened because they don’t want to share OUR world with ways of life different from theirs. They’re scared of not being right. They want those walls to exist, it makes them feel strong. But they’re not strong if we don’t let them be. Don’t fear them, that doesn’t help you, it helps them. Just know they are there, be confident enough in YOUR self to defeat them without needing to clench a fist. By not fearing them, you’ve already won. You don’t need Brazillian Ju Jitsu or boxing to do that, but if that helps you feel safe, then do it.
Remember how special your life is. It’s the only one you get, so appreciate it, love it, enjoy it. Then, remember how special your neighbour’s life is to them, they feel the same way about it as you do yours. Put your feet in their shoes and think how good it would be if we all appreciated our neighbour’s life like our own.
Go and show somebody different to you some love. That’s how you beat hatred.