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Golriz Ghahraman may actually not be too bad

21/03/2019

Yesterday in Parliament Golriz Ghahraman made rather a good speech. It was a change from much that she has said before.

This led Adam to writing the headline for this post, but will she maintain this position.

Adam has on occasion been very critical of Ms Ghahraman, he does not resile from that, but yesterday she did what an MP should do and delivered an appropriate speech.

There are elements Adam disagrees with, but another time, not at this time.

GOLRIZ GHAHRAMAN (Green): Assalamo alaikum. Our nation’s heart is broken and my heart is broken today. Five days on, as that wound is still so fresh, we find comfort in all the love—all the love—pouring across this beautiful country. I’ve felt the grief as a member of that affected community and as a Kiwi as we gathered at mosques, as we held each other at vigils, as we held our little ones a little tighter when we remembered that little three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim was one of the victims.

The city of Dunedin ran out of flowers on Saturday because they were all at the mosques. That is the New Zealand that welcomed my family and me here when we escaped oppression. At the risk of torture, we had lived through a war, and I will never forget being that nine-year-old girl on the escalator at Auckland Airport with my frightened parents. We weren’t turned back. We were welcomed here. So I want to thank every single New Zealander—hundreds of thousands of people—who came out over the last three days, who stood on the right side of history for our values of inclusion and love. It matters to our communities, as we are frightened, and I will never forget that among the victims on Friday was a Syrian family—refugees like my family, who had escaped the harrowing war, the unthinkable. They found freedom here, but they died on Friday in Christchurch, New Zealand.

We owe those victims the truth: this was terrorism. It was terrorism committed by a white supremacist. It was planned at length, and had gone unchecked by authorities because white supremacy was not seen as a pressing threat, even as some in the Muslim community were.

Although this man happened to have not been born in New Zealand, we do need to acknowledge the truth that his ideology does exist in pockets here. Our ethnic communities, refugees, and tangata whenua have been telling us this for years; they’ve been reporting this for years. I know it as my daily truth as a politician. I receive all the barrage of hate online. I receive the threats: the death threats, the rape threats, and the threats of gun violence, online. Every minority in New Zealand knows this as a little bit of our truth. So now we have to pause and listen.

We can’t pretend that this was an aberration from overseas; that would be irresponsible. The truth is that this happened here, and it began with hate speech allowed to grow online. History has taught us that hate speech is a slippery slope to atrocity, and New Zealand must address that now.

The truth is, also, that we as politicians bear a little bit of the responsibility. There sit among us those who for years have fanned the flames of division, who have blamed migrants for the housing crisis. There sit among us those who have fanned the hysteria around the UN Global Compact for Migration. Those words were written on the butt of his gun, the gun that killed little Mucad. We have pandered to gratuitous racism by shock jocks to raise our profile. None of us are directly responsible for what happened on Friday, we are all horrified, but we are also on notice now: we have to change the way we do politics.

Our most vulnerable communities are hurt and we are scared. White supremacists want us dead. Those incredible people who poured out into those vigils are watching; they will hold us to account. The world is watching. We have to get this right. We have to demonstrate to the rest of the world that the values of love and peace and compassion will win over hate and division. We must be brave and have those important, difficult conversations that are long overdue in our country. We must shine a light on the pockets, those shadows of racism that do exist in our country. We must weave that incredible outpouring of love for our Muslim communities that we’ve seen over the past few days; we have to weave that into an enduring fabric of our society. We owe that to the families who lost loved ones. We owe it to little Mucad.

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