finding meaning in the rubble

24th March 2019

I’ve been wrestling with the appropriate level of grief to feel after what happened in Christchurch – since the massacre in Christchurch (I am catching myself when I am tempted to soften my words, as if a well-placed euphemism will protect us from the truth of the horror of 51 people being shot while they prayed).

I want to escape from it. To switch off the internet and the news and never buy a newspaper, to not think about what happened.

But equally, how can I turn away, when the families of Husna Ahmed and Hussein Al-Umari will never be able to?

I want to imagine myself there, to see those soft bodies bent over in prayer, to hear the whispers of incantations, to imagine the door swinging open, the noises, the smells.

I am sickened by the response of the big tech companies. They might wear hoodies and jeans but these are not plucky start-ups.

They are the biggest publishers in the world, and they collectively allowed footage of the shooting to be shown for days after the horror unfolded. To blame the limits of technology is unforgivable.

I am deeply worried that the (no doubt automated) response from the dozens of videos I reported to Instagram, was that they ‘did not contravene community guidelines’. And then my engagement plummeted to less than 10% of what I typically expect.

That so many people contacted me to warn me that this would happen (hence they wouldn’t be taking any action to challenge Instagram) was like an episode of Black Mirror.

And I am so grateful for the technology that allows us to know each other’s stories

I want to burst with pride that the world is watching Jacinda Ahern and her quiet, empathic, powerful leadership.

I want to interrupt and correct the people saying how progressive and peaceful New Zealand is. Because my homeland is open and welcoming and compassionate and accepting AND Aotearoa was violently colonised and is as xenophobic against Muslims, Pacsifika, Asian and other peoples as any other Western nation.

I want it to be simple – one lone baddie I can direct all my blame and horror on to.

Then I never have to consider all the tiny epic flutters of the butterfly that led from my indifference at that racist joke years ago, to a baby boy called Muccad being shot on the other side of the world last Friday.



Hello, I'm Sas Petherick. I'm a self-doubt researcher, coach and podcaster who helps thinking humans transcend self-doubt. If you'd like to receive these posts in your inbox please subscribe here (with bonus info and first notice of opportunities to work with me). PS: I totallyInstagram - join me there?


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