NEW YORK: A leading American newspaper Friday applauded New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s leadership in the wake of last week’s tragic attack on two mosques in Christchurch.
The world has watched as issues such as national grief, gun control, social media streaming and religious freedom have been navigated by the world’s youngest female head of government, it was pointed out.
The New York Time, in the editorial published Friday titled ‘America Deserves a Leader as Good as Jacinda Ardern’, commends the 38-year-old for her stunning capacity to carry a nation through what she called New Zealand’s ‘darkest hour.
In particular, it noted the stark contrast between the responses of New Zealand and the United States to mass shootings.
“In New Zealand, it took one mass shooting to awaken the government. In the United States, even a string of mass killings — 26 dead in a school in Newtown, Connecticut; 49 in a nightclub in Orlando; 58 at a concert in Las Vegas; 17 in a school in Parkland, Florida — has not been enough. Nor has the fact that 73 percent of Americans say that more needs to be done to curb gun violence, according to recent polling,” it said.
And it was not just the gun control issue that impressed.
“In lieu of trite messages, she donned a black head scarf and led a group of politicians to visit victims’ families; speaking without a script to a school some of the victims attended, she urged the pupils to “let New Zealand be a place where there is no tolerance for racism. Ever.”
She told grieving families, “We cannot know your grief, but we can walk with you at every stage.”
And in a striking gesture, she refused to utter the name of the suspected killer. “He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing,” she said. “Not even his name,” the editorial said.
The article continued, “After this and any such atrocity, the world’s leaders should unite in clearly condemning racism, sharing in the grief of the victims and stripping the haters of their weapons.
” Ms Ardern has shown the way.”
The Christchurch shooting, reportedly carried out by a white supremacist from Australia, has revived the debate over US gun laws and over remarks President Donald Trump made after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, when he said there were “very fine people on both sides.”
The suspected gunman in a manifesto said he supported Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity.”
The president’s critics have accused him of stoking white nationalist sentiment, a claim the White House denies.
Trump on Monday blasted the media, saying they were trying to blame him for the New Zealand shooting.
“The Fake News Media is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand,” Trump tweeted. “They will have to work very hard to prove that one. So Ridiculous!”