Watch PM Jacinda Deliver A Powerful Message Following The Terror Attack On NZ Mosques
On Tuesday, 19 March, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern was speaking in the presence of the Parliament for the first time since an Australian terrorist shot dead 51 people
In her speech, which was both heart-wrenching and devoid of any rhetoric, the 37-year-old leader of New Zealand paid tribute to the Muslim community and pledged to deny the perpetrator the one thing that he craves the most: notoriety.
He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing. Not even his name.
The world's youngest female head of government, who was speaking four days after the terror attacks on two mosques in her country, started her speech with a respectful greeting, properly addressing the Muslim community with "Al salamu Alaikum"
Al salam Alaikum. Peace be upon you. And peace be upon all of us.
"The 15th of March will now forever be a day etched in our collective memories. On a quiet Friday afternoon, a man stormed into a place of peaceful worship and took away the lives of 50 people. That quiet Friday afternoon has become our darkest of days.
"But for the families, it was more than that. It was the day that the simple act of prayer – of practising their Muslim faith and religion – led to the loss of their loved ones' lives.
"Those loved ones, were brothers, daughters, fathers and children. They were New Zealanders. They are us. And because they are us, we, as a nation, we mourn them."
She also used words in Maori to reassure the grieving families.
"We cannot know your grief, but we can walk with you at every stage. We can. And we will, surround you with aroha, manaakitanga and all that makes us, us. Our hearts are heavy but our spirit is strong," Jacinda said in her speech.
In her speech, Jacinda recounted the bravery of the New Zealand police and addressed the courage shown by the citizens
"The arrest itself was nothing short of an act of bravery. Two country police officers rammed the vehicle from which the offender was still shooting. They pulled open his car door, when there were explosives inside, and pulled him out.
"I know we all wish to acknowledge that their acts put the safety of New Zealanders above their own, and we thank them.
"But they were not the only ones who showed extraordinary courage.
"Naeem Rashid, originally from Pakistan, died after rushing at the terrorist and trying to wrestle the gun from him. He lost his life trying to save those who were worshipping alongside him.
"Abdul Aziz, originally from Afghanistan, confronted and faced down the armed terrorist after grabbing the nearest thing to hand – a simple EFTPOS machine. He risked his life and no doubt saved many with his selfless bravery.
"There will be countless stories, some of which we may never know, but to each, we acknowledge you in this place, in this House," she said.