When most leaders would choose violence to fight violence, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern chose compassionate approach to deal with the worst terror attack the country has witnessed in its history. She was quick to respond to last month’s Christchurch massacre that killed 50 people – with relative calmness and compassion. Even while reassuring the shaken nation and offering unconditional support to the families of the victims, she worked on strategies and ways to prevent similar bloodshed in the future. Her response aftermath the tragedy, including meeting the Muslim community, won her many hearts and “strong leader” tag. And she kept her words to strengthen the country’s gun-control laws by passing a bill to ban semi-automatic firearms. She won even more hearts after a mother-of-two recently took to the social media to reveal that the beloved Prime Minister paid for her groceries in a supermarket after she left her wallet at home. It may be a coincidence but it surely revealed the kind of person she is.
Terrorism is the biggest evil that the world is facing today. While all the countries should work together to end this evil, it is sad to see many leaders fomenting hatred and prejudice between different communities by their myopic views of terrorism through religion. Such approach of dealing with violence will not only lead to more violence but also create fear psychosis among certain communities and victimise many innocent souls along the way. Unlike many leaders around the world who link terrorism to a particular religion, Ardern called a terrorist a terrorist – irrespective of race and declared the recent attacks on two mosques as “terrorism.” She measured violence with the same yardstick for everyone, which is commendable as terrorism has no face. What is even more commendable is choosing compassion and non-violence over bullets to deal with violence.
Today, Jacinda Ardern is seen as an inspirational leader by many. She is the kind of leader that the world needs today and perfectly fits John Quincy Adams’ definition of a leader: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”