New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern departs the gathering for Friday prayers and two minutes of silence for victims of the twin mosque massacre at Hagley Park in Christchurch on March 22, 2019. Photo: AFP/Marty Melville

In a world that is leaning toward the far right and a conservative brand of political leadership and trends, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has emerged as a ray of hope – a hope that one day the world, particularly the global leadership, will learn from her the art of healing wounds and the true essence of real leadership.

Last week in a horrific terrorist attack on mosques in Christchurch, a racist took the lives of 50 people. New Zealand is known for its peaceful way of life, and that is why people from all over the globe migrate to that country for safety and a peace. However, the world was shocked when the news of the attacks on the mosques came out.

Soon after this barbaric incident, Ardern sent her apologies to the victims’ families for not being able to protect them, and then the next day the world saw her wearing Muslim dress while meeting the families of the victims. She did everything possible to provide relief to grieving families, and then her speech on the floor of Parliament, where she refused to name the terrorist, was spectacular. She said the terrorist did this just to get fame and she would not let him achieve that aim. Her words were: “We in New Zealand will give him nothing, not even his name.”

Then came the move that may have ashamed the Republicans and Democrats in the US, and other global leaders as well. Ardern immediately announced a ban on semi-automatic military-style weapons.

From wearing a headscarf to meet the grieving families to not naming the terrorist to amending the gun laws, she has shown the world how a true leader acts in a time of crisis. There has been hardly any leader who after such a barbaric act could control the damage. Ardern, unlike George W Bush or Donald Trump, did not threaten any foreign country. She simply acknowledged that there was a terrorist attack and in order to avoid incidents like these in the future, instead of optics she took practical measures.

There has been hardly any leader who after such a barbaric act could control the damage

One wonders if Ardern were leading the US or any other global power what would have happened. Perhaps the world would have been a much safer and peaceful place. In a world where leaders are busy in warmongering and divide-and-rule policies, to see Ardern supporting her citizens and taking immediate action is refreshing, and it gives one hope that the world is not devoid of actual, peace-loving leadership. Ardern’s tireless efforts have been recognized all over the world; Dubai, for example, in recognition of Ardern’s service and her brave steps after the incident, projected her picture on its iconic Burj Khalifa tower.

Yet Ardern did not do anything extraordinary. She only did what was required of her, and that is what actually matters. In the US there have been dozens of incidents of gun violence in which innocent people have lost their lives, but neither Republicans nor Democrats had the courage to amend the guns laws as they feared losing their respective vote banks. Likewise in the Muslim world, you will not see a leader who had shown the sympathy the New Zealand PM showed for the families of the victims who died in the Christchurch attack. In fact, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used footage of the barbaric attack in a public gathering to raise support for his political party for upcoming local elections. In response, New Zealand protested to Turkey.

In the Christchurch attack, six Pakistani people lost their lives, who were offering prayers at the time, and the Pakistani prime minister called Ardern to thank her for the measures she has taken. One wonders if Imran Khan can find some time and go to meet the orphans of the Sahiwal killings. Perhaps Khan hugging those little girls whose parents were killed in front of them by law-enforcement agencies could give them a little relief that they are not helpless and their prime minister is with them. Just like Ardern, who in the time of grief was standing with the families of the victims, and it surely provided a lot of relief to those families.

The terrorist who attacked the mosques in Christchurch may have been able to terrorize the world and peace-loving souls, but Ardern successfully dealt with it, and with her gestures and actions, the fear that was created has vanished, and right now it is her everyone is talking about. From famous publications to international news channels, it is Ardern who has been discussed. Perhaps this is a lesson for the power-hungry global elite that acts of kindness, the sense of performing one’s duty without being greedy for political gain, can not only win millions of hearts but also create a bond between humans instead of dividing them.

Jucinda Ardern within a few days has become a household name all over the globe and she has been appreciated by every single human being who loves the laughter and joys of life. The Christchurch attack, instead of creating hatred and divisions between the Muslims and other communities in New Zealand, or in the globe, has united them all, because Ardern refused to play politics over the issue. She was real, her facial expression, the pain in her eyes and her bold and brave speeches without reading any script, eventually resulted in love all across the globe for her and her country.

This is the power and magic of love and purity. If only the West had ever tried to adopt Ardern’s style instead of Islamophobia or invading foreign lands and toppling regimes in the Arab world, the world could have been a much more peaceful and better place. Ardern deserves a Nobel Prize for her efforts, and both the West and the Muslim world should ask themselves why they cannot have a leader like this woman, who knows the art of bringing people together instead of making them hate each other in the name of religion or patriotism.

Salute to the lady who has shown to all the world that terrorism, extremism and racism could all be rooted out in no time, if the global ruling elite really wanted it. And to the masses all over the globe, she has shown that this is how a true leader reacts when a crisis occurs.

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