Jacinda Ardern, the Global Leader of Peace

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Jacinda Ardern, the Global Leader of Peace

Emily Dozier, Staff Writer

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New Zealand had not experienced a massacre in 12 years; the last mass shooting killed more than eight times fewer citizens. The country would forever change March 15th, when a terrorist attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The suspect used five weapons, including two semi automatics guns, two shotguns, and one lever-action firearm, while broadcasting the attack across the internet. Over 50 people were killed, including a three-year old Somalian refugee, and dozens remain injured.

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, wasted no time in responding. Six days after the massacre, a law was passed, banning assault rifles, military style weapons, and high capacity magazines. Although the ban on these guns won’t take place officially until April 11th, New Zealanders have already voluntarily turned in their own semi automatic weapons to show solidarity with the Muslim community. Ardern has shown support for the victims and their families in other ways, too. A week after the shooting, the Adhan (Call to Prayer) was broadcast nationally at 1:30 pm, before two minutes of silence to honor the victims at the exact time the incident occurred the previous week. She has also vowed to never speak the name of the gunman, but to “speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them.”

Ardern did, however, immediately speak out to denounce the attacker as a white-nationalist. She assured the nation’s Islamic community that, “We represent diversity, kindness, compassion. A home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it. And those values will not and cannot be shaken by this attack.” When asked how she plans to move the country forward, Ardern acknowledges the things that can be done both domestically and internationally. She also believes social media needs to be reformed to counteract the rise of extremism and violence.

The Prime Minister has since visited the mosques, seen hugging and comforting the affected families. Financial assistance has even been promised to those who need it. Ardern, policewomen, and some everyday women are now even wearing hijabs to mourn and honor victims. Some of New Zealand’s newspapers now print “Salaam” on the cover, an Arab greeting meaning “peace” to sympathize with the Muslim community.

Despite the contrast between New Zealand and the U.S. regarding gun control, Ardern has stayed relatively quiet about President Trump and his response to incidents such as Christchurch’s. Nevertheless, she publicly disagrees with his policies. Ardern states her duties are to New Zealand, not another nation, but accepts that in order to successfully take a stance against global hatred, a global solution must be given. Over 25,000 people have since signed a petition for the New Zealand Prime Minister to be honored with the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Emily Dozier, Staff Writer

Emily Dozier is a senior in Journalism 4 at Northgate. After high school, she plans to pursue a degree in journalism and communications while playing college...

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