Message of support to the victims of the Christchurch mosque terrorist attacks

By Oscar and Scarlett (Year 10 students)

At the end of term, two of our Year 10 exchanges from New Zealand (Oscar B and Scarlett R) spoke passionately about the mosque terrorist attacks that took place in their home town, Christchurch. Schools in Christchurch have been creating paper chains of personalised messages of support to the Muslim community and Oscar and Scarlett galvanized Gordonstoun students into doing the same. The Gordonstoun messages were taken out to New Zealand and given to their school, St Andrews College on Wednesday 3 April.

Here is what Oscar and Scarlett had to say:

Tena Koe, this morning we are here to speak to you about a disgraceful act that took place on the 14th of March in our city of Christchurch. A terrorist stormed two Mosques right in the centre of our city killing 50 people and injuring another 50. This was a dark day in our history.

The man who we will not name was a self-described white supremacist who had deranged views which were described in a 74 page manifesto he wrote before the attacks.

Christchruch is a peaceful city and New Zealand is an inclusive country, but a man came to our city with the intention to plant the seeds of fear, resentment and hatred. It didn’t work, rather the opposite. Our city and country have responded to an attack of terror with compassion and kindness while strongly condemning a crime of hatred.

Across the city people have been mourning and banding together to pay tribute to the fallen. We have come together and taken a united stand against xenophobic, racist and hateful ideals.

Around the world there has been a rise in white nationalism and we as a country strongly condemn it. Understanding and appreciation of other cultures is at the core of Aotearoa, New Zealand’s heart and we are showing this to the world through our tributes to the Muslim community in prayer, silence and tributes showing solidarity with them and their beliefs.

It is important we reject the ideas of extremists who aim to divide us and instil fear and hatred within our communities. Instead we must make change, New Zealand has banned semi-automatic rifles within 6 days of the attack and are investigating the roots of this hatred. The other leaders of the world must see the issues that are arising and hopefully see us as an example of how to fight terror with love.

We would like to say thank you to this school for the way it values internationalism. There are so many people of different cultures, nationalities and religions here who all work in complete harmony together to create a community that is vibrant and inclusive. This should be an example to the world of how we can work together in harmony.

To honour Christchurch and the Muslim community we would like to start an initiative that has been happening in almost every school in Christchurch. We are going to create paper chains with quotes and drawings on them to hang somewhere in Gordonstoun today and then take home and give to StAC to emphasise the support the international community has for them. It would be really cool to see as many people as possible write down a positive quote, message or drawing on a strip of paper that can contribute to the paper chain either today at break, lunch or feel free to bring one to us during the day. We will be set up in the refectory and the round square arch. It would be great to see different languages and messages for the kiwis at home to read.

Finally we’d like to finish with a Maori prayer…

Whakataka te hau ki te uru Whakataka te hau ki te tonga Kia mākinakina ki uta Kia mātaratara ki tai E hī ake ana te atakura He tio, he huka, he hau hū Tīhei mauri ora

Kei a koe to matou aroha Okioki pai

Cease the winds from the west Cease the winds from the south Let the breeze blow over the land Let the breeze blow over the ocean Let the red-tipped dawn come with a sharpened air. A touch of frost, a promise of a glorious day.

Our love is with you

Rest well.

Thank you for listening

Paper chain with messages of support at St Andrew's College in Christchurch. From left: Titus Edge (Headmaster of Gordonstoun), Isabel E, Oscar B, Christine Leighton (Rector of St Andrew College).