I’ve never been there – there was a pilots’ strike when I planned to make a trip there once from Australia – but New Zealand has always lived in my imagination, as a kind of prelapsarian society where peace, justice (even towards the Maoris) and equality still reigned, amidst the most beautiful natural surroundings. Now that doubtless naïve vision has been shattered by this latest massacre in Christchurch.
It reminds me of two earlier incidents: the murder of Olof Palme in Stockholm in 1986, and the Utøya massacre in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik in 2011: both happening in reputedly progressive and even ‘socialist’ countries; two at least of the three perpetrated by rabid Right-wingers; and all of them widely taken to mark the ‘end of innocence’ in their respective countries. (As similar racist atrocities in America weren’t. The USA was never ‘innocent’.)
Unless, of course, all the murderers were Australian, as the one they’ve captured apparently is? We’ll see.
In the meantime, genuinely heartfelt commiserations to my New Zealander readers and friends.