I walked down Queen Street, in central Auckland, today and heard a busker singing this song as I walked past people lighting candles to go with the tributes left for Grace Millane.
I don’t often blog about current events. In the 18 years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve probably blogged about national or global events ten or so times where the news has not directly impacted me. It’s not something that I do. I’m not interested in current affairs or politics. But every now and then, I am touched, saddened, heartened or angered by such things. I am emotionally affected, and therefore it seems appropriate to share that.
What makes Grace’s story so different from others? Others have died. Others have been murdered. People as young or younger. People with as much potential or more. The truth is, I don’t know what makes Grace’s story different. Only that it is.
My colleagues at work have discussed Grace. Perhaps that’s because we work literally next door to the hotel in which she was murdered. Perhaps it is because she is being discussed in offices around the country. I have overheard people talking about her on the train. And she has been discussed at home.
Every day as I walk past the hotel on my way to work, I see the tributes that people have left for Grace. Flowers, gifts, etc. From people who didn’t know Grace. From people who never met Grace and never will. People are grieving for someone they have never met.
I haven’t been following anything on social media, but I did notice there were a few people climbing on their soap boxes. Saying that those who condemned Grace for travelling alone were perpetuating the cycle of violence against women. That any woman should be able to travel alone and be safe. I agree. I agree that any woman travelling alone should be safe. But it is not the way it is. I am reminded of the John Lennon song, Imagine. There are so many dreams and wishes we might have for society, that every person should live in peace and never go without food, clean water, shelter and love. But that’s not the way it is either. Does that mean we don’t want it? No, we do want it. Does that mean we do nothing for those who are suffering? Turn a blind eye? No, it does not. But it also does not mean that we turn a blind eye to the risks that are out there in the world.
I have been saddened by Grace’s death, and she has been much on my thoughts this week. I don’t think she is a lesson to be learned. But it is a tragedy. As a mother of a daughter, I am very saddened by Grace’s death. And I felt compelled to write something, to commemorate her.