Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited New Zealand House in London yesterday to offer condolences and pay respect to the victims of the terror attack in Christchurch last Friday. As they are the last members of the family to have visited New Zealand (last fall), they were chosen to represent the British royals. Here’s what they wrote in the guestbook:
Meghan wrote, “Our deepest condolences... We are with you.”— Omid Scobie (@scobie) March 19, 2019
Harry signed his name alongside the Maori word “Arohanui,” which means “with deep affection.”#ChristchurchStrong🇳🇿 pic.twitter.com/DaKMwEf4R3
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was back in Christchurch today to meet with and comfort the community. She also announced that there would be a nation-wide two minute silence observed this Friday to honour the victims.
"There's a sense among New Zealanders that they wish to show to the Muslim community their support, their love," said Ardern.
"But the challenge for all of us going forward is that they're safety is assured by making sure we never have an environment where violent extremist ideology can flourish. And that means addressing racism and extremism wherever it emerges."
It has emerged all around the world. According to the BBC, “police recorded a surge in hate crime directed at people in England and Wales” in 2018 and that “more than half of religious hate crime - 52% - was aimed at Muslims”.
Remember then that Meghan Markle’s first major solo project as a member of the British royal family was to collaborate on a cookbook in support of Hubb Community Kitchen at the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Center, serving victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. The title of the cookbook is Together and as Rebecca Mead wrote at the time in The New Yorker, “Markle’s gesture toward the women of the Hubb Kitchen suggests a mature, considered consciousness of the potential power she holds in speaking to, and for, members of the British public who are in danger of being marginalized”.
This is how she’s been working to, as Jacinda Ardern encouraged, make sure “we never have an environment where violent extremist ideology can flourish”. It is her way of “addressing racism and extremism wherever it emerges”. It is likely going to be where her much of her efforts are concentrated going forward, to set an example, to lead by example, along with so many others, especially over the last week in New Zealand, who’ve been combatting hate with understanding and empathy and decency.