The ultimate, deadly consequences of hate speech

We declare our absolute abhorrence for the shocking massacre in Christchurch, we grieve with the families of those whose lives were violently stolen, and we utterly reject and condemn the terrorist who committed this crime.

Again, the most dangerous consequence of prejudice has reared its ugly head and revealed itself.  With complete disregard as to whether the victims were men or women, old or young, able-bodied or disabled, these perpetrators have very consciously planned to murder a group targeted because of their religious faith.

Beyond this perpetrator, those who fuel racism and hatred through malicious speech or tolerate racist political arguments,  are also culpable – not only for these worst of consequences but also for the fear, insecurity and distress caused to the victims of hate and to our community as a whole.

At Courage to Care, we believe the most powerful counter to such evil is to educate the community, in particular, the younger generation, of the dangers of prejudice, discrimination, stereotyping and racism. We challenge them to be ‘upstanders’ rather than bystanders in the face of such negative human traits.

The need to deliver this message has become greater than ever. Courage to Care, an organisation whose volunteers are mainly, but not exclusively Jewish, is dedicated to this mission.

A final thought: The perpetrator has achieved the infamy he sought; we all know his name. Yet the individuals whose lives he callously, calculatedly and violently stole are largely unnamed and unknown. Let us humanise these 50 human beings: women, men, children – husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children. Their names should be immortalised, their lives, their achievements, their dreams, should not be forgotten.