Symbolic gestures have the power to show care and support of others in their time of need. In light of the despicable recent terrorist attacks in New Zealand at the hands of an anti-immigrant, white nationalist, The Sydney Opera house has is showing its solidarity for New Zealand with a projected image of a silver fern onto the sails of Australia’s most famous structure.
The Cyathea dealbata, more commonly known as the silver fern is a powerful and emotive symbol for inspiration in new Zealand; historically aligned with the indigenous Maori tribe. The projection by Australia of the silver fern coincides with vigils being held all around the world in support of the Muslim community, which was the target of the attacks. Since the violent act occurred, there have been crowds of people from all religious backgrounds, coming together at local mosques to show love and support.
The death toll in the massacre has now risen to 50 including young children as young as two years old. There were additional people injured – some as young as four years old who are still fighting for their lives after the mass shooting. In the aftermath of the tragedy, the Australian Priminster denounced all acts of violence – especially the acts by white nationalist terrorists. He ordered flags flown at half-mast on the Harbour Bridge, Anzac Bridge, and NSW Parliament, in honor of victims.
These symbolic acts are noteworthy because there has been a long-standing rivalry between New Zealand and Australia. It’s sort of the equivalent of the comparative riff that exists between Canada and The United States. For some inhabitants of New Zealand and Australia, the rivalry is friendly, but for others, it’s worthy of physical confrontation and is often intensified through sports competitions between the two countries.
Putting such triviality aside at times like these, to show that we are all one human race, is indeed crucial. It sends a message loud and clear to any coward who would commit such an act. That message is that the world will never tolerate nationalistic violence inflicted upon anyone. A biased ideology based on race, skin color, ethnicity, religion, creed, sexuality, and sexual identity, shall never be accepted as “the new normal.”