On Friday 15 March 2019, a white supremacist terrorist shoots and kills 50 Muslims at prayer and injures another 48. At the same time, NZ WOMAD —a festival of unity and tolerance and hope — is about to begin. My body and half my mind is at WOMAD.
Instead of opening the festival, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern makes an announcement about the Christchurch massacre. And so it is that every beautiful cameo of WOMAD takes me straight into the new reality of New Zealand, now officially part of the global community of internet-fuelled neo-Nazi terrorism.
For the next two days I was spaced out and split between these two worlds, and I know this was a common feeling. Again and again, some little charm of WOMAD was linked to the weeping people of Christchurch.
A song for our times: “Welcome home” by Dave Dobbyn.