Our saddest times are when those we love leave us. When there is not even time to say goodbye, the pain and confusion is even worse.
Everywhere the hearts and minds of New Zealanders – irrespective of their personal faiths – have reached out to the victims of the appalling massacre in Christchurch of Muslims; family people attending a mosque murdered in an act which few would have credited happening in this country.
There are undoubtedly lessons to be learned from this. What we should worry about is that some of these lessons may well be the wrong ones, and may be used to advantage those whom no country ever lacks; the few, very determined, radicalised individuals anxious to undermine the country, aided by history’s ‘useful idiots’ who, as always, are happy to play their part. Among those most likely to produce overreaching, knee-jerk regulation in response will be our politicians.
Ironically, what the media are avoiding mentioning is how very rare in the West is such an assault on a Muslim community – contrasted with the sustained attack upon Western democracies long mounted by Islamic fanaticism.
The latter is rejected by moderate Muslims in the West, who are in fact very often themselves targets, but, like all so called ‘ordinary people’ worldwide, basically just as conservative and motivated by love for their families and friends as those from all other countries.
Ordinary people? I recall once stopping at a Muslim coffee shop near Wellington. I’ll never forget the sheer kindness of its owner, Abdel, who insisted, without payment, on giving my sister and me a special cup of coffee and an almond biscuit when he found we had just left from farewelling my mother.
I recall, too, years ago, the young Chinese university student from a sheltered building in almost torrential rain at Canterbury University. With the tarmac virtually a flooded lake, she saw me trying to juggle an umbrella and saturated map, and came to help me locate the building I needed – ending up equally saturated.
And strikingly, Cliff Emeny, the New Zealand fighter pilot to whom I dedicated my book The 100 days – Claiming back New Zealand – what has gone wrong and how we can control our politicians, who contacted me when I was a Dominion columnist, raising questions about what was happening to our democracy.
It was Cliff who sent me to check out the only genuine democracy in the world, Switzerland, whose people control their politicians – not vice versa. Shot down in Burma in World War II, tortured by brutal Japanese military to reveal the whereabouts of his squadron, Cliff was tied each day to a stake in the burning sun. However, Japanese night guards crept out to untie him, lying him down to sleep, giving him food and drink – retying him in the morning before the day shift took over.
What happened in Christchurch is an appalling, shocking reminder of the reality of evil. The alleged gunman’s actions, incomprehensible to us all, have brought home to New Zealanders the outreach of terrorism worldwide. Throughout Western countries there has been rising concern that Islamic fanaticism, even turning upon its own people, was reaching even further. That a terrorist act against moderate, family-minded Muslims could occur in NZ has been a wake-up call. People worldwide have been deeply worried that Islamic fanaticism might achieve damaging mileage through the emotional pressures of the refugee movement. The consequences for societies such as Angela Merkel’s in Germany, where Isis members have openly boasted of successful infiltration – while posing as genuine refugees – have included the marked rise of terrorism, leaps in both violent crimes and attacks on Western women. New Zealanders have only gradually become aware of the very real threat posed by transnational terrorism, which the Australian government identified in 2004 as a threat to Australia and its citizens. From 2000 onwards, tensions rose between Muslim immigrants and the wider community, particularly given the convictions of a gang of Lebanese men sexually assaulting non-Muslim Australian women .
Reflecting on the humanity of people worldwide being used as political tools and cannon fodder by ambitious leaders, one can see the commonality between those who are now saying they have had enough, New Zealanders among them – albeit rather late in the day. Being somewhat over-sheltered, with no historically aggressive foreign countries pressing on our borders, has led to our present, incredibly naive PM even dismissing the possibility of Russian spies in our country. And now, with Communist Chinese funding being questioned in relation to political donations, that our equally challenged National opposition contains an alleged former Communist Chinese spy trainer beggars belief.
Change has been so incremental that it is very late for non-politicised individuals to realise how much has regressed since we were regarded as ‘God’s own country’ and ‘the best place in the world to bring up children’. Contrast this with the Left’s now domination of the teacher unions; the dumbing down, quite shocking propagandising of the schools curricula replacing valuable, worthwhile content; and the abuse of children by its progressively worse ‘liberalising’ – to the extent where it is now proposed that destructive transgender indoctrination be forced on schoolchildren – irrespective of the objection of parents. The American College of Pediatricians’ warning – that ‘conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse’ – cuts no ice with our neo-Marxist infiltrators long gaining control of the directions of education, and of mainstream media in this country.
The result? The pernicious attack on free speech – the essential component of a genuine democracy – by those bludgeoning us with name-calling and labels such as ‘hate speech’, ‘racism’, ‘homophobia’, and so on. And foremost among New Zealanders’ concerns has been the fact that the unctuous calling for ‘diversity’ by virtue-signallers evades the fact divisiveness and division are wedges used to destroy the essential cohesiveness of a stable society.
A huge challenge lies ahead, to prevent the excuse of the dreadful event in Christchurch being used as a tool to further target those raising genuine concerns about so much of the decision-making from which recent governments have very much excluded ordinary New Zealanders.