General Poetry posted March 15, 2019


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Free verse

Sanctuary

by kiwisteveh


We came here
for sanctuary
to this holy place -
children, women, men
of faith
and a desire for peace.

You came here
with your guns
and your hate
and your futile ideology.

Now our blood
adorns the mosque floor
and we weep
for the lives torn apart
and innocence destroyed.

Yet still we soar,
borne up by
the spirit of this place.

For hatred always withers
in the face of great love.

Kia kaha!


 


Recognized


Today, 15 March 2019 a double terrorist attack took place in two mosques in Christchurch (in the South Island of New Zealand). The cowardly attacks took place during Friday afternoon prayers when the mosques were crammed with women, children and men - all unarmed, of course. There was little chance of escape when the attackers opened fire with semi-automatic weapons.

As I write this the death toll has climbed to 49 with many more being treated for their injuries in the Emergency Department of Christchurch Hospital, making this easily the worst mass shooting in NZ history - there has only ever been one other that made it into double figures.

It has been a sombre afternoon and evening. Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has addressed the nation, condemning the attacks and sharing her condolences to the Islamic community. In her words, "The person who has committed this violent act has no place here. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities. New Zealand is their home. They are us."

Three people have been arrested.

There has already been a massive outpouring of grief and support for those affected, including a vigil at a Christchurch church and a fund organised to assist families.

'Kia kaha' is a well-known Maori phrase, usually translated as 'Stay strong.'

Picture courtesy of my talented digital artist wife, Anne, aka Goldenmeade.
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