Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, vowed to never speak the name of the suspect behind last week’s Christchurch terrorist attack in a powerful speech made by the in the aftermath of the shooting.
on 15 March 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand, 50 people tragically died, and nine others are in a critical condition, after a gunman open fired on two mosques. The shootings have since been declared an act of terrorism and suspect has been charged with one count of murder. But police officials in New Zealand have declared in the coming weeks he is likely to face more charges for the second shooting incident.
The 28-year-old Australian national self-identifies as a white supremacist and his manifesto, an 87 page document supposedly justifying his crimes, was leaked on social media just before the attack began. Much has been made of the references to internet culture and memes, as well as the widely publicised reference to subscribe to Swedish vlogger Pewdiepie. The implication thus far being that the perpetrator is actively involved in online communities for radicalised white nationalists, and this was an act to garner notoriety for himself.
The reaction in New Zealand to the gruesome act of terrorism is nation-wide shock and devastation. Speaking in parliament for the first time since the attack, Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, made a moving speech in which she has vowed to never speak the name of the man responsible for the shootings.
Ardern has also announced that on Friday 22 March, to mark one week since the attack, two minutes of silence will take place, alongside a televised broadcasting of the Islamic call to prayer, in memory of the victims of the Christchurch shootings.
Where can I watch Jacinda Ardern’s speech about the New Zealand terror attacks in full?
Watch the full address to parliament delivered by Jacinda Ardern in the video below:
What did Jacinda Ardern say in her speech to parliament about the Christchurch shootings?
Ardern opened her powerful address to parliament with the Islamic greeting “as-salaam Aliakum,” which meaningfully translates as “peace be unto you” in Arabic.
She went on to describe 15 March 2019, the date of the attacks, as one which will be “forever a day etched in our collective memories,” for the people of New Zealand. She also promised the grieving families justice for their loved ones and that Tarrant will feel the “full force of the law.”
Significantly, Ardern said she will never speak the man’s name out-loud, as “he sought many things from his act of terror, but one was notoriety and that is why you will never hear me mention his name.”
Her refusal to utter the name of the terror suspect is significant, as in such most cases press coverage of terror incidents tends to focus on the perpetrator, analysing his background and speculating on motives. Ardern instead urged the world to “speak the names of those who are lost, rather than the name of the man who took them.”
Further methods to silence the shooter have come from Facebook, who confirmed they had removed the manifesto video he posted on the platform, as well as the 1.5 million copies that also surfaced online within the first 24 hours after the shootings. Measures have been put in place to block any future attempts to upload copies of this video.
This article was originally published on 19 March 2019.