Words from North of The Bombays…
>As I sat here wallowing in my grief, I received this message from a mate of mine (Mike Batten of cricket fame, bowler of the second best ball of the century) who is back in NZ for a wedding in Auckland, and it is not just addressed to me as a mate, but to all my friends and family, all my colleagues, to all those people I have met and dealt with, and those I haven’t. While we down here in Canterbury have a love-hate relationship with our cousins in Jaffa-Land, it is my privilege to pass this message onto you…and it no doubt reflects the thoughts and feelings of all Kiwis…please excuse his grammar and context, he’s not as well versed as us down here…
Your words may accurately describe your emotions, visions and experiences of the events of the 22 February, but sitting at the other end of the country, in Auckland, we, who weren’t there still have only an ounce of idea of what you are going through. No matter how much news coverage, blogs or texts we receive or watch, we will will never know your suffering, whether emotional or physical. And because of this unknown, it is the reason we worry about you, your family, and other New Zealanders, who are affected so much.
So for this, we, thank you for your words.
Without in anyway diminishing anything that you are feeling, please know we are also suffering. Too many times have we heard of similar disasters in far flung countries; Haiti, Pakistan, Chile. But this is different, this is close to home, this is Christchurch! And we are suffering, because of our helplessness to help. We cannot do what you do – lend a hand in your broken city.
We are suffering because our friends, like you, are suffering. From when the news first broke it took over 5 hours before we made contact. Relief when we did was evident, but unfortunately, I am sure, for every story like ours, there are ones with opposite outcomes – parents, sons and daughters, relatives friends and acquaintances who will be never heard of again. For these fellow New Zealanders we send out our deepest sympathies.
We are suffering because we see symbols of Christchurch will never be the same. Although we have never lived there, the Cathedral has feel of friendly familiarity. It’s destruction is equivalent to Sydney’s Opera House, London’s Big Ben, New York’s Statue of Liberty, or Paris’ Eiffel Tower being destroyed; icons of these cities – which is exactly what the Cathedral is. Even as an Aucklander this saddens me immensely.
Unfortunately the journey on the destroyed roads you and the people of Christchurch are about to embark on is a long and hard one. Houses will be rebuilt, but it will take time, businesses will reopen, but it will take time, communities, services, parks, halls and landmarks will be rebuilt, but it will take time. Christchurch is far too important to New Zealand culturally, historically and economically to be allowed to languish. Be assured we in the rest of New Zealand will stand with you and assist you in any way we can.
|Me and Mike in happier times – Melbourne 1996
for the Ashes