What if resting on my laurels led to 50 brave individuals losing their lives this week?

But I am not special. I am not different. I am a just kiwi.

Yesterday one moronic act causing unspeakable tragedy rocked me off my foundations. My naïve acceptance that “she’ll be alright on the night” is now confirmed as bullshit! Sitting on one’s proverbial backside excusing my non-involvement with terror, prejudice and hate, on the basis that it is not my problem, might actually be contributing to the problem.

I have the means, the intelligence, the freedom, the spirit and bloody excellent uniquely kiwi ingenuity.

I might not be able to change the world, but I can do something to show respect for 49 fellow kiwis who were just going about their day.

I pledge to discover 50 things in respect and honour of each victim’s unique experience of the world, which can now live on only in the actions of their families and extended whanau.

Yes, it will be my journey, but already my ignorance and complacency has revealed itself.  I am horrified to realise I call myself a lover of communication and languages, but the only way I could have said hello to Mr Haji Daoud Nabi, the first victim named, is because he has learned my language. So today I asked someone how I might one day say hello to his family, and more immediately any Afghans in my town. Being a kiwi means to say hello. Yet I don’t do it as a habit anymore.

So, I tried to learn hello in Farsi (also called Persian), which it turns out is one of the two main languages of Afghanistan - none of my go-to language apps could help – google had a bunch of pretty hieroglyphics, that were not very helpful to me. I was a bit lost and nearly gave up to feeling sad – when I recalled that a very brave woman once said to me that when she started to become overwhelmed by  feelings, she had taught herself to remind herself that to be dwelling she must be have time (because without time one cannot contemplate or acknowledge feelings), and time is something you can choose to use for dwelling or taking action – It turns out the answer is simple and, brilliantly simple. Because I can typically say As-salāmu ʿalaykum (Peace be upon you) to anyone of Muslim faith.

Do I sound pathetic, unintelligent and incompetent? Well it is not so, but I can certainly understand see why it seems so. And indeed, fear of looking stupid is exactly why I walk on by without saying hello. Well after today I will try to not let fear, shame or sadness keep me ignorant.

I have a lot to do.