Everyone here at Cambridge Partners has returned to work today still in shock from the horrendous events that took place in our city on Friday afternoon. But that shock and anger is now turning to immense sadness as we start to see the faces of those who have been killed, and learn their stories.
We will leave it to one of our Directors, Jacob Wolt, to give his personal thoughts on the evil that occurred here.
I am so saddened and upset by this barbaric terrorist attack in our recovering city. Many of the victims came to NZ as refugees grateful to finally settle in our peaceful and welcoming country. They are now afraid and families have been tragically torn apart. We must all stand with them and against all forms of hatred and divisiveness.
I first knew when my wife Adele called me to say there was a continuous stream of police cars and ambulances racing past where she was parked. She then arrived at the scene just after the main perpetrator was run off the road by police and arrested. Yesterday she learnt that Khalid Mustafa, a farrier who has worked with her on her horses on several occasions, was among the dead. He was shot as he prayed and was killed alongside his 16-year-old son, who was also cold-bloodedly gunned down.
Adele remembers a kind, cheerful man who seemed very happy to be here in Christchurch. He had very limited English but they struck up a conversation via Google Translate and formed a friendship. Khalid and his family were Syrian refugees who would no doubt have experienced some terrible atrocities in their own homeland. They must have felt that they were finally safe here in Christchurch. Instead his wife and two surviving children are left alone to try and come to terms with the unimaginable.
At work we were in lockdown (the Mosque where most were executed by the murderer is across the other side of Hagley Park not far away) and could not allow staff to leave until around 6pm. It was a very eerie feeling leaving an empty CBD driving home through armed police checkpoints.
There will be many here in Christchurch suffering a form of PTSD, especially given our experiences eight years ago with the earthquakes. But of course this pales in comparison with the trauma and grief experienced by those who have lost loved ones – their lives will never be the same.
The wider tragedy for NZ is that terrorism and extremism has shown its face here now too. But we will not let this beat us, love and kindness must win.