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Our hearts have broken and there are no words to adequately express how senseless and horrific the loss of life in Christchurch was on Friday. We can not begin to imagine the impact of losing 50 members of the muslim community of Christchurch – the loss of fathers, husbands, wives, mothers, children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters. The impact for the survivors, those still injured and those miraculously spared. We will feel this loss as a nation for generations to come.

Image from artist Ruby Jones

Half of the OptimalBI team are immigrants, have chosen Aotearoa as their home and are as bewildered as everyone at this act of terror on our own soil. This is also a loss of innocence for all of Aotearoa, for those born here and those who have made their way here by other means, our lives will never be the same.

I spent last week in Malaysia, a peaceful muslim country I have visited on many occasions. In past visits our family friends the Muhammed family have opened their home to us, we have attended a wedding in their mosque and participated in their daily lives. So it is quite vivid for me imagining the calm, quiet of the Masjid Al Noor on Christchurch’s Deans Ave and Linwood Masjid prior to the attacks, the quiet contemplation of prayer, the silent thoughts of the victims.

The outpouring of grief, support and solidarity since Friday has been inspirational while we all feel helpless unable to take the pain away from our muslim friends.

There is however one thing every kiwi can do without question – we can abolish hate from our lives and embrace love and tolerance. As David Cormack summarised in his article Words Matter this week – “We need to take responsibility for calling out violent and discriminatory language. Our leaders can not use words that separates the “us” from the “them”. There is no “them”. There is us.”

There are no words to express our sorrow, anger and shock at this unfathomable act of violence. Kia kaha Aotearoa – hate will never win, tolerance, love and inclusion are the answer.

As-salāmu ʿalaykum, Peace be upon you

Victoria spends much of her time focusing on Digital Inclusion, Digital Literacy and Digital Rights.  You can read her OptimalBI blogs here, or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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