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We are not Immune to Hate Viruses, But We can be the Country Discovering the Cure: Jacinda

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern addressed thousands of people in Christchurch’s Hagley Park on Friday in a remembrance service for the 50 people killed in a terrorist attack two weeks ago.
Ardern told the crowd the world needed to break out of the current cycle of extremism breeding extremism and said racism existed but was not welcome in in New Zealand.
official transcript of her speech, released by the New Zealand government is follow:
I greet today among our distinguished leaders, speakers and holders of authority. My greetings to the whole of Ngāi Tahu
Floods of remembrance flow today on Christchurch
So let us gather with love
Quiet, for this family
For them to truly relive
So that we can all really live again
We meet here, 14 days after darkest hours.
In the days following the terrorist attack of March 15, we often found ourselves speechless.
What words express the pain and suffering of 50 men, women and children lost and so many wounded?
What words express the anguish of our Muslim community, the target of hatred and violence?
What words express the sorrow of a city that has already suffered so much?
I thought there was none. And then I came here and I was greeted with this simple greeting.
Asalamu Aleykum. Peace be upon you.
These were simple words, repeated by community leaders who witnessed the loss of their friends and loved ones.
Simple words, whispered by the wounded from their hospital bed.
Simple words spoken by people in mourning and all the people I met and touched by this attack.
Asalamu Aleykum. Peace be upon you.
They were words spoken by a community that, in the face of hatred and violence, had every right to express their anger but rather opened the door to sorrow with us.
So we say to those who have lost the most that we have not always had the words.
We may have left flowers, played haka, sung or just kissed.
But even when we did not have words, we always heard yours and they left us humiliated and left us together.
In the last two weeks, we have heard testimony from people affected by this terrorist attack.
They were stories of bravery.
This is the story of those born here, who grew up here or who live in New Zealand.
Who had sought refuge or sought a better life for themselves or their families.
These stories are now part of our collective memories.
They will stay with us forever.
They are us
But with this memory comes a responsibility.
A responsibility to be where we want to be.
A diverse, welcoming, kind and compassionate place. These values represent the best of us.
But even the ugliest viruses can exist in places where they are not welcome.
Racism exists, but it is not welcome here.
An attack on the freedom of anyone of us who practices his religion or religion is not welcome here.
Violence and extremism in all its forms are not welcome here.
And in the last two weeks we have shown that you have demonstrated it in your actions.
Our challenge now is to make the best of us, a daily reality.
Because we are not immune to the viruses of hatred, fear, the other. We have never been.
But we can be the nation that discovers the cure.
So we have a lot of work to do, but we must not leave the task of fighting hatred to the government alone.
Each of us holds the power, in our words and in our actions, in our acts of daily goodness. May it be the legacy of March 15th.
To be the nation that we believe to be.
We wish to thank the international community who joined us today, who embraced New Zealand and our Muslim community, as well as all those who have gathered here today.
And we also ask that the condemnation of violence and terrorism is now transformed into a collective response. The world is plunged into a vicious circle of extremism that breeds extremism and must stop.
We can not face these problems alone, none of us can. But the solution lies in a simple concept, not linked to national boundaries, that is not based on ethnicity, the power base, or even forms of governance.
The answer lies in our humanity.
But for now, we will remember those who left this place.
We will remember the first responders who gave so much of themselves to save others.
We will remember the tears of our nation and the new resolve we have formed.
And we remember that our house is a house that does not pretend and can not pretend to perfection. But we can strive to be faithful to the words inscribed in our national anthem.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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