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TOP 30 OF 2019 - 9. They are us. They? Them? Those?

First published on Wednesday the 20th of March, 2019, this piece comes in at number 9 in the top 30 most read Villainesse stories of 2019.


This is not us. 


The words ring. As though saying them over and over again etches them into the whenua. Oh we want so badly for them to be true.

Masjids. Two of them. IEDs. What’s that, a bomb or something? An assault rifle, or five. A manifesto, a live-stream, a tweet. 


A shooter. 

The lack of melanin in his skin has protected him… for now.


The world watches. Tick tock tick tock. Two, four, six, forty-nine.

And then. She comes up to the podium, all strength in her compassion. And she says it:

Terrorist Attack. Extremist. 

A victory! 


But then:

They are us.

They? Them. Those. 



Said with the best of intentions. But those words betray whiteness. We build this society as much as you do. We educate, we serve, we lead, we innovate. But we’re still the other, left beyond the barricade.


When you tricked me into eating bacon.

When it was just a joke.

When you don’t say my name properly.

When you confuse me with another brown person.

When you defend hate under the guise of free speech.

When you say, “we’re all just New Zealanders”… 


But are we?


Are you scared of going through an airport?


Instead of watching your own, you were watching me.

Five eyes are seemingly blind… to what they don’t want to see.


You’ve been so successful; you have us blaming ourselves. We started it, my mother tells me. It breaks my heart, because I know you did. In 1415. The Great Game. We lost. Again and again.


But now, you love us. You stand with us. The flowers smell nice. You post on Facebook about the Muslim experience. But you never asked, so do you even know? A stranger, you offer to walk me home. But why the fuck would I come to you?



Enough tokenism. Enough rhetoric. Enough naïveté.


I need to do my bit. 

You need to do your bit.

To kill the monster; we can only do it together.


The number of reasons has gone up to fifty.


This is us. 

But this is not who we want to be.

Maybe one day we will finally be you.


  • Christchurch /
  • Christchurch Massacre /
  • Racism /
  • Xenophobia /
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