LONDON: A New York Times editorial on Thursday heap praise on New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s leadership in the wake of last Friday’s tragic twin attack on mosques in Christchurch.
“In New Zealand, it took one mass shooting to awaken the government. In the United States, even a string of mass killings — 26 dead in a school in Newtown, Conn.; 49 in a nightclub in Orlando; 58 at a concert in Las Vegas; 17 in a school in Parkland, Fla. — has not been enough. Nor has the fact that 73 percent of Americans say that more needs to be done to curb gun violence, according to recent polling,” it said.
It commends the world’s youngest female head of government for her capacity to carry a nation from the shocking events what she called New Zealand’s ‘darkest hour.’
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“Ardern listened to her constituents’ outrage and declared that within days her government would introduce new controls on the military-style weapons that the Christchurch shooter and many of the mass killers in the United States have used on their rampages,” the editorial said. “And she delivered … ‘It’s about all of us,’ she said, ‘it’s in the national interest and it’s about safety’.”
And it wasn’t just the gun control that has struck a chord with the newspaper’s editorial board.
“In lieu of trite messages, she donned a black head scarf and led a group of politicians to visit victims’ families; speaking without a script to a school some of the victims attended, she urged the pupils to “let New Zealand be a place where there is no tolerance for racism. Ever.”
She told grieving Muslim families, “We cannot know your grief, but we can walk with you at every stage.”
The article continued, “after this and any such atrocity, the world’s leaders should unite in clearly condemning racism, sharing in the grief of the victims and stripping the haters of their weapons. Ms. Ardern has shown the way.”