The Shot Heard around the World

New Zealand has always minded its own business.

In its placid way, the picturesque country at the end of the map does things a few hours ahead of the rest of world and never causes too much commotion.

It is known as a small, green country with a few hobbits.

But, on the 15th of March, the usually serene island was marred by hatred.
It was scarred by intolerance.

And it was confounded by shock.

15,000 kilometres away, I awoke in South Africa to reports of the barbaric attack in Christchurch. A cowardly act, perpetrated by extremists, against innocent Muslims who had been observing their religious and constitutional right to carry out Friday prayers in their local mosques.

The news was fresh. It was sharp. It was familiar.

Six months ago, another place of worship had come under attack.

A gunman, too, had entered a house of prayer and callously murdered its inhabitants because of his skewed views. Eleven people lost their lives as they observed their religious and constitutional right to carry out Shabbat morning prayers in their local synagogue.

The two places of worship stood at separate ends of the earth. One Muslim, one Jewish. Both were maimed by terror.

As the identities of those lost begin to emerge and more details of the killers trickle down through the newsfeeds, the lesson learnt is this:

The pain does not care to which god you pray. The shock doesn’t give a damn from which book you read. The disease of terror couldn’t be bothered about where you were at the time.

Both Pittsburgh and Christchurch will never again be just places on a map. Their wounds will re-open each October 27th and March 15th. But their trauma will act as a reminder: an attack on one faith is an attack on all.

About the Author
Despite hating the sound of her own voice, Sasha Star is a radio presenter in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her “driven” personality and love of film, music, literature, and food means in spite of being in a wheelchair, she is often too busy to sit down.
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