Three Teachers on a Beach of Sorrow
15. March 7 pm
The sand was still warm under our feet from the hot Autumn day.
My fellow teacher handed us three Turkish scarves to cover our heads in remembrance of those killed in two Mosques today. My other friend from one of the Perth’s best public school entered the foamy balm ocean to throw the wrath in their memory. Close to fifty lives lost in senseless terrorist act, even five years old child who was guilty of what? Being born to parents of Muslim faith?
We squeezed each other hands. Once upon a time, the three of us have studied at the same teaching college, the three young girls from different background and faith but with the same ideal to change children’s lives, to make this world of ours a better place.
Salmina’s family moved to Australia from Turkey and she has been teaching at the Perth Muslim College for decades now. Jacinta was Kiwi and she taught in Christchurch for years, coming back to Perth only recently. She was the natural leader everyone would follow her, even now she pointed at her lips and we all listened attentively to the radio news overheard from a car parked nearby.
New Zealand Prime Minister speaking from New Plymouth, said it was "one of New Zealand's darkest days", describing the incidents as "an unprecedented act of terrorism".
We nodded in agreement.
Suddenly we heard a cautious voice from Canberra.
Some low ranking parliament member trying to describe the terrorist act as a mere act of fear of Muslim refugees?
Some passerby walkers shook their heads: “Politicians would use anything to push their agenda, wouldn’t they? You shoot five- year- old children because you are scared of them, right?” The beach gathering started to rumble until they heard the Australian Prime Minister ensuring everyone that supporting terrorists is not the Australian way. Even if the main terrorist was Australian.
“He should get death penalty,” someone muttered throwing more flowers into the waves.
“Hope he never comes back here, he is not one of us, he makes us look really bad.” added his wife wiping her tears as she watched the sun goes down: “So many lives lost, what a tragedy, a senseless terrorist act in the place of God.”
Salmina and Jacinta approached the lady and they all prayed to God, they believed in, Salmina to her Allah. "I believe only in humanity", I smiled.
“It is the same thing,” Salmina whispered to me: “God and humanity.”
“It is the same thing,” Jacinta sighed: “A terrorist attack on Christian or Muslim community.”
“Yes,” I agreed: “Terrorists come from all cultures or religions and can be of all colors. It is the senseless and brainwashed urge to kill that bind them all.”
One Teacher on a March for Future
15. March 7 pm
Jacinta was calling her principal: “So are we going to attend the climate strike today? What the department says?”
“You will hear it on news soon, are students ready?”
“Oh yes,” Jacinta exclaimed excitedly: “They made their posters and all.”
“There you go, no one should stop the youth that care about their environment, it only means we taught them well, by the way hope you have all the parents’ permissions?”
“Of course, parents are behind their kids, they want bright future for them not dead planet!” Jacinta smiled to herself and jumped into her car.
The news bulletin introduced the head of the education department mumbling about not missing school today because it is a day against bullying and that is more important?
Jacinta angrily switched off radio mumbling to herself, we are learning how to protect students against bullies every day, but you and your government is doing nothing to protect us all against the natural disasters the climate change brings. You are failing your responsibility, we are not!
When Jacinta entered her year six classroom that morning, a group of students have been already there finishing their poster: ‘We study hard for our bright future that will never comes! Your coal will destroy us all!
“There is only one clean coal unit in huge mine in Texas,"one of her brightest student came to her with his iPad.
“Look, it has only one carbon storage and there are nine mines in total. They are using that stored carbon in the next field to extract more oil."
The student went back to his desk using big black marker to make his statement: ‘There is no such thing as clean coal, our Prime Minister, but there is such a thing called clear conscience!’
The shy red head smiled at her sheepishly, “I really like koalas” pointing at her drawing of injured koala dying of thirst with big letters above its head: ‘Koalas are dying, we will be next!”
Soon it was time to board the bus to take them to the middle of Perth to march. The masses of people, students from school from all over the state mingling with young and old, shouted in unison, we want future, we need future, without healthy planet there is no future!
Jacinta felt suddenly hope, a bright warm loving hope for all creatures, all life. There is hope, there must be hope when suddenly one of the teachers caught her arm: “There was terrorist attack in your city, Christchurch.”
“You mean earthquake? We have had two already, people of Christchurch are brave, they survive any natural disaster, they are bound together…”
“No Jacinta, there are killers on the loose with guns killing innocent people praying, they have a van full of explosives!”
“But why?” Jacinta suddenly looked around those young innocent faces of her students waving their placards and shouting: ‘Save us’. Who will save us from ourselves?