Politics

Jacinda Ardern Just Gave A Powerful Speech Vowing Never To Say The Christchurch Suspect’s Name

"Speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them."

Jacinda Ardern Christchurch

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In the wake of the Christchurch terror attack on Friday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been a steady, remarkable source of empathy. Her focus has very clearly been on the victims and survivors of the tragedy, and she proved that again today with a quietly powerful speech where she refused to speak the suspect’s name.

“He sought many things from his act of terror, but one was notoriety. And that is why you will never hear me mention his name,” Ardern said in New Zealand Parliament today, as she confirmed that a 28-year-old Australian man had been charged with murder over the attack.

“He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless. And to others, I implore you: speak the names of those who were lost, rather than the name of the man who took them. He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing. Not even his name.”

True to her word, Ardern spoke the names and shared the stories of some of those who died on Friday, like Naeem Rashid, who died after attempting to wrestle the terrorist’s gun from him. “He lost his life trying to save those who were worshipping alongside him,” Ardern said. She also mentioned the bravery of Abdul Aziz, who “confronted and faced down the armed terrorist after grabbing the nearest thing to hand – a simple EFTPOS machine”.

“He risked his life and no doubt saved many with his selfless bravery.”

Ardern has spent the days since the attack trying to support the Christchurch Muslim community in their grief, and working quickly to prevent similar attacks from happening again. “I can tell you one thing right now: our gun laws will change,” she said on Friday, shortly after the shootings. “Now is the time for change”. She has now promised that these gun law reforms will be announced in the ten days following the shooting.

Ardern has also promised to do everything she can to ensure the bodies of those who were killed are returned to their families as quickly as possible for burial, in accordance with Muslim beliefs. She’s slammed Facebook for allowing footage of the attack to circulate widely before being taken down, and told Donald Trump that he can help by showing “sympathy and love for all Muslim communities”.

Mostly, she’s spent time doing what she can for the Muslim community of New Zealand in their time of need.

You can watch Jacinda Ardern’s moving statement from today below, and you can read the full transcript here. Let it be a reminder to focus on what’s most important in the aftermath of this attack: showing sympathy and love to all Muslim communities.