K. Male'
21 Mar 2019 | Thu 19:39
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wears a hijab while visiting Christchurch shooting survivors
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wears a hijab while visiting Christchurch shooting survivors
Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern: what a bawse!
Ardern refuses to even use the attacker's name, saying he will remain "nameless" to her
It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack: PM
A self-proclaimed white supremacist targeted a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, last Friday, killing 50 people

Last Friday, the Muslim community was attacked as they gathered for the most important weekly ritual- Friday prayers.

A self-proclaimed white supremacist murdered 50 people, in a place of worship.

While the attack took place in Christchurch, New Zealand, this was a clear attack on the whole Muslim community; the latest among a series of attacks against the community.

However, the outrage over the attack- both from the Muslim and non-Muslim community- seemed to show a change…

The reason for this, undeniably is the country's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.


"We don’t need [guns] in our country"

Within hours after the attack, in her very first statement since the shooting, Ardern stated that "it is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack."

Shortly afterwards, Ardern noted that shooting had "exposed a range of weaknesses in New Zealand's gun laws," and announced her government's decision to introduce "greater firearm regulations."

While there are some that oppose the government's decision over "what one person did," it has been mostly welcomed by Kiwis. According to reports, some gun owners have even surrendered their weapons, on their own, after declaring that they "don't need [guns] in our country."

The Prime Minister has visited Christchurch, at least twice in the week since the attack, and will be there on Friday after announcing that two minutes of silence will be held on Friday; the decision to have two minutes of silence, instead of the usual one minute, was "due to the magnitude of the tragedy." State-owned TVNZ and Radio NZ will also broadcast Friday's prayer call.

In addition, there is call for New Zealand women to don head scarves on Friday, to show solidarity with the Muslim community.

The attacker, who as Ardern said will remain "nameless" in this report, had sent a 74-page manifesto detailing his intentions to the Ardern.

Noting that it was sent nine minutes before the attack, Ardern has said that there was no time to take any action as a location was not mentioned.

"If we could have [stopped it], we absolutely would have."

Ardern's quick acknowledgement that the shooting was a "terrorist attack" and her actions since, did not just prove her to be a hero for all Muslims around the world, but seemed to bring a change in how the public perceives such attacks.


"White supremacists are terrorists"

While Ardern has received worldwide praise for her response, the thousands of messages condemning the terror act and showing solidarity with the Muslim community, shows that the pain of the massacre was felt by the entire world.

Despite the motivation, officials in the past have been reluctant to use the word "terrorist" when describing a "white" attacker- clearly shown in the way British tabloid 'The Daily Mirror' described him as "an angelic boy".

However, following Ardern's lead, other world leaders such as UK's Prime Minister Theresa May and former US first lady and presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, described the shooting as a terror act.

In addition, world-famous celebrities have also been vocal against the bloodbath.

Celebrities that described the shooting as "terror" include John Legend, Mark Ruffalo, Kerry Washington, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tracee Ellis Ross, Wanda Sykes, the Kardashians, as well as "young Hollywood."

Young Hollywood's influence on social media is indisputable, and while a single post of theirs is seen by tens of millions of people, influencers such as Bella and Gigi Hadid, Kylie Jenner, Demi Lovato and Hailey Bieber have been using these platforms to show that they stand with Muslims.


"We are one, they are us…"

Ardern's political career launched after graduating from the University of Waikato in 2001, as a researcher in the office of Prime Minister Helen Clark.

At 37, she became the world's youngest female head of government and after giving birth to her first child in June 2018, she became the world's second elected head of government to give birth while in office.

When she started campaigning for PM in 2017, Ardern was compared to Canada's Justin Trudeau and France's Emmanuel Macron.

However, in the past week, Ardern has proven that she cannot be compared to anyone and that her actions will always be based on humanity.

She refuses to give the attacker what he wants, which is "notoriety," and has said that he will always remain "nameless" to her.

Her opposition has described her as "outstanding," while a political analysist from New Zealand said that "there's not a nasty cell in her body, but she's not a pushover. It's an unusual combination."

While a reporter had back in June 2018 described her as "the very hero the global left needs right now," she has indeed proven that she is "a true hero" and is redefining leadership in this age of terror.

“The ultimate measure of a [wo]man is not where [s]he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where [s]he stands at times of challenge and controversy" – Martin Luther King

Last updated at: 6 months ago
Reviewed by: Abdulla Naseer Ibrahim