UNESCO Aotearoa Youth Leader Naheed Saeid reflects on the thoughts that ran through her mind, two years ago, as the news of the Christchurch mosque attacks reached her.
“I wanted to run, I wanted to hide, I wanted to be held selfishly. I did not want to comfort, I did not want to wrap my arms around the people who had messaged me with their sympathies, I did not want to hear their stories.
I needed to be selfish. Because, despite it all, despite the shared grief, there were facets to this grief that were unique to me, to the communities I identified with.
As an Afghan Muslim refugee, there were so many aspects of the news that irritated my heartstrings. It was in the “Salam brother” with the opening of the doors, it was in the recognising that this could have happened in Auckland, it could have been members of my community, it could have been my family.
So, where there was an overall sharing of grief, the grief I held so close to me was one wrapped up and bound in trembling fear that this could have just as easily happened to my loved ones.
My visibly Muslim mother, my ‘ethnic’ looking siblings, my best friends, our community leaders, me – all walking targets. My mind kept transposing the event to the local mosque my dad attended in Auckland. I couldn’t help it, much as I tried.”