Yesterday was exactly four weeks since an Australian terrorist walked into two mosques and engaged on a shooting spree. His murderous venture left fifty people dead and scores of others injured. The peace and quiet of the lovely city of Chrischurch, in New Zealand, was shattered before the eyes of the world, by this bloody murderer, who went the extra mile to make sure that his heinous deed was seen live on Facebook.
But the timely and commendable actions of the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mrs Jacinda Ardern ensured that he neither got the notoriety he craved nor the freedom to escape the law. A day after his murderous escapades he was arraigned in court. And this great New Zealander made sure she did all in her power to make sure that the victims of his dastardly deed, and their survivors, were treated in the best way possible.
A great percentage of the globe applauded her actions and some have since commenced the move to get her a Nobel Peace prize for what she did, by collecting online signatures towards that goal. Countless commendatory articles and cartoons, have flooded the cyberspace and traditional media in praise of the New Zealand PM. This column is one of the many, from around the world, which celebrated her humanitarian disposition. Three weeks ago it featured a tribute called ‘Jacinda Ardern: Our truly global hero.’
However, beyond the applause, isn’t there a need to show, in concrete terms, a deeper appreciation of the great respect and love for humanity that was displayed by Ms Ardern, in the wake of the terrorist attack on mosques?
Only last Wednesday the New Zealand Parliament began a process of amendment to gun ownership laws, a reform the Prime Minister promised after the Christchurch shootings.
It is particularly amazing that a move that has proved so difficult in the US, despite numerous mass shootings of innocent individuals, is already about to gain the force of law in New Zealand. Indeed in both words and actions Ms Ardern has shown that she has great respect for human lives. She acted as if she believes in the Qur’anic verse ‘Whoever kills one soul unjustly it’s as if he killed the whole of mankind’.
In the growing islamophobic world of Europe and the Americas, it takes a great deal of courage and conviction to do what is right when Muslims are the victims. So again I ask, beyond the applause what should be the next move towards New Zealand, especially from Muslim countries?
We must remember that a few years ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also stuck her neck out for Muslim immigrants. She allowed them into Germany and made them welcome while urging other European nations to do the same.
They were mostly the same Syrian refugees that were turned back by their neighbouring brothers in the oil rich Gulf states. Yet in Faraway Europe, after enduring the perilous journey on the Mediterranean Sea, they found a warm welcome in the arms of Chancellor Merkel. But what did she get in return for being ‘their’ brothers keeper? The rich Arab/ Muslim World simply continued to sign incredible arms deals with mainly the US and Russia.
No one spared a thought to Germany despite being a huge manufacturer of arms and other non-deadly but useful products of technology.
Jacinda Ardern must not suffer from the lack of appreciation that followed Angela Merkel’s worthy treatment of mainly Muslim immigrants. Rich Muslim countries must rise up and seek worthy trade partnership with New Zealand, if only to say “thanks and well done” to the Prime Minister for her treatment of Muslims after the Christchurch massacre.
In particular, all countries which lost their national, that bloody Friday, should queue up and engage in meaningful export from New Zealand. Luckily for the world, New Zealand is not an arms manufacturer (no wonder they are so peace loving) and all of their top ten major exports are items from agriculture which are naturally for peaceful purposes. This should make it easy for most countries to engage in bilateral trade deals with them.
According to Wikipedia, New Zealand’s top ten export revenue earners are:
1. Dairy, eggs, honey
4. Fruits and nuts
5. Beverages, spirits, vinegar
6. Cereal, milk preparations
8. Machinery including computers
10. Miscellaneous food preparations
Arab and other rich Muslim countries like Turkey are not among the top ten importers of New Zealand goods and services. But they should be. Apart from the applause and the praises we should make New Zealanders know that we appreciate their kind and humanitarian gestures throughout the sad episode of the Christchurch tragedy.
The Muslim world does not have the equivalent of a Nobel Prize to give but engaging in worthwhile trade relations with New Zealand will make Jacinda Ardern know that we greatly appreciated her, and we also know that one good turn deserves another.