Updated: Apr 7, 2020
In January we commemorated the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, remembering all those murdered in the Holocaust. Last month and this month, we remember the victims of the terrorist attacks in the mosques in Christchurch and the churches in Sri Lanka. Our cover image is the Māori greeting, the hongi, two people rubbing noses together. This traditional gesture shows that we breathe the same air, share the same spirit, and are united – in grief, in joy, in humanity, in sharing planet earth, in faith in God.
This image is particularly poignant. The details in the design are the names in Arabic script of the 51 people killed in the Christchurch mosques. The dark green in the woman’s shawl – the Arabic words for peace, love and unity – form the map of New Zealand. Above and below the entrance doors of the mosque, as if in welcome, is the Arabic greeting Salaam (Peace), repeated three times; the dome of the mosque has the Arabic word for “Unity” four times; and central to the minaret pointing towards God is the Arabic word for “Love”.
We remember all the names of the dead in Christchurch, in Sri Lanka, and in other terrorist attacks. We remember all the victims, everywhere. They are us. They should have been safe. We commit, never again! No more hate speech. No more divisiveness. No more “us” and “them”. We are one; one humanity; one common home, planet earth; one creation; one Creator. We must live in peace, love and unity.
I conclude with words adapted from John Donne’s, No Man is an Island: 'Each one's death diminishes me, For I am involved in humankind. Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.'
Fr Patrick McInerney