She will not speak his name…



A horrible week.

Massacre of the innocents in Christchurch. Appalling tragedy in Cookstown.

Different worlds, not dissimilar emotions.

  Behind the tragedy, human decency. Your heart went out to so many in Cookstown. Friends of the three teenagers who died. Parents and siblings. The shattered community. A devastated hotel owner emotionally speaking to the media.

  A horrible week.

  Heroes emerge. And one hero stands out this week, for she is surely the hero of the world just now.

  I will never speak his name, she said. Her name is Jacinda. Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand. I will never speak his name, she said. We should speak the names of the victims, she said.

  The PM’s response to the murder of 50 people in two mosques has been incredibly moving, dignified, assured. Flawless really. It is true that political leaders generally have enough intelligence and empathy (and advice available to them) to respond correctly at times of tragedy and emergency. We expect that; we look to them for leadership when our communities are hurting. But this is greater than that. Jacinda Ardern has not only got everything right in the normal way, she has gone beyond…showing a warm, inclusive, comforting, yet firm leadership that has been deeply, deeply impressive. She is wrapping her embrace around the families of the victims, she is easing fears amongst communities, and still she is sending very clear messages to those who ‘trade’ in terror and hate. Immediately after the appalling attacks, she put extremists and racists in their place with a starkly clear speech – during which she calmly emphasised that New Zealand is and will remain a place of kindness, diversity, compassion and refuge.

  Subsequently, she wore a hijab when visiting members of the Muslim community. And she announced that her government will pay all funeral costs for families of the victims.

  And she said she will never ever say his name. Because he wants notoriety. And because it’s the names of the victims that matter.

  She will never say his name. Her name is Jacinda Ardern and she has been heroic.