COMMENT:

So a new week. Hard not to bring a heavy heart from the past one with us.

But maybe the best thing we can bring into this week are the lessons learned. About inclusion, about other cultures, other faiths, about how powerful kindness is.

It's the little things I guess (which are essentially big things). Not judging others. Not assuming anything.

Not casting aspersions or throwing barbs. We saw a bit of that last week disappointingly.
Lines being drawn, a perceived right or wrong way of doing things, of saying things, of what to wear, how to grieve, who to listen to.

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There was some finger pointing, who could we blame for this? It was argued that hate can't grow in a vacuum, so somehow, people around us must be partially responsible.

Or were we in fact all partially responsible? Did anyone whose political views didn't align with the Prime Minister's mean they must inherently be racist?

It seemed to be conveniently forgotten that the alleged gunman is not even a New Zealander, that he acted as a lone wolf, and that in fact, some people are just hateful and evil all by themselves.

There was some debate around which city in the country was the most racist.

A line was also drawn around religions. Could we actively embrace a different religion without usurping our own? Could we have faith, but no religion?

At a time when the majority of voices were singing a chorus of inclusion, there were still some who seemed confused by the meaning of the word. Some who felt inclusion meant 'you must share my view'.

Corporates got edgy, what should or shouldn't they advertise? What was or was not appropriate? Even Tourism NZ suspended its advertising of our country.

Yes, a lot of what happened by way of reaction was good and necessary and appropriate, but I don't think there needed to be finger pointing.

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What we saw last week, by way of response to hate, was humanity. And that's inclusive.
Which means, like it or not, some views may differ to your own.

It doesn't mean we need to draw more lines or boundaries.

Surely what the Muslim community have shown us is that faith in humanity, faith in goodness, is what matters.

Not your religion, not your political views, but an intrinsic belief that most people are good.

And that goodness can exist, no matter what place of worship you're in, no matter what your politics are, no matter what culture you hail from, or what colour your skin is.