5 ways world leaders can learn from New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Tuesday 19 March 2019 16:15
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New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern is being praised for her decisive and strong stance against white supremacy in the wake of a shooting at two mosques that killed 50 people.

Ardern’s reaction to the national tragedy, the worst mass shooting in the history of New Zealand, has been praised. From vowing to ban semi-automatic weapons, reassuring the Muslim community that they are valued members of the country, and to focusing her attention on the victims, as opposed to giving the shooter notoriety by way of extensive media coverage.

Here are five ways world leaders can follow Ardern's example in the wake of a tragedy:

1. Immediately condemn terrorism, no matter what group it comes from

It took the New Zealand prime minister less than 24 hours after the fact to condemn the tragic attack as a terrorist attack. The New Zealand prime minister said:

He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless.

2. Spend time with the communities impacted by a terror attack - no matter what

Ardern was praised across the world for the way she embraced the Muslim community following the attack. She promised to cover the funeral costs of the 50 victims, spent time with families of victims and observed the hijab in order to honour the victims.

She addressed parliament using the Muslim greeting, '"As-salamu alaykum."

As-salamu alaykum, peace be upon you, and peace be upon all of us.

3. Emphasise the victims, not the culprit

Jacinda has refused to speak the name of the attacker, and implored others to do the same. In a televised address, she said:

You will never hear me mention the name of the alleged Christchurch gunman. He is a terrorist. He is a criminal … To others, I implore you: Speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them.

Others have decided to do the same.

4. Take decisive and legislative action on guns

Prime minister Ardern went on to say legalisation surrounding gun control “will change” and vowed to ban private ownership of semi-automatic rifles. In response, senior officials in New Zealand government also promised to introduce gun control measures in the wake of the massacre.

People have praised her decisive action and compared it to the lack there of, in America.

5. Address social media and its part in disseminating offensive and dangerous content

She said social media needs to step up and stop pretending they can be a neutral platform:

They are the publisher not just the postman. There cannot be a case of all profit, no responsibility.

This comes after thousands of people viewed the graphic video that had been uploaded by the shooter despite pleas from leaders and the police not to share it.

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