South Canterbury Author Says History Must Be ‘Recorded Correctly’

South Canterbury author Tom O'Connor has suspended publication of a book on the Christchurch Mosque shooting for more than a year.

Valentina Bellomo / Stuff

South Canterbury author Tom O’Connor has suspended publication of a book on the Christchurch Mosque shooting for more than a year.

The author of a book on the Christchurch Mosque shooting, which has yet to be published, said the negative reaction to a proposed terrorist attack film is “unfortunate.”

Members of Christchurch’s Muslim community said they were “blinded” by the announcement of a film, They are us, on the Prime Minister’s response to the attacks of March 15, 2019, which is in the early stages of production.

The terrorist attack left 51 dead and 40 injured.

Australian actress Rose Byrne is slated to star as Ardern, while the film is slated to be directed by New Zealander Andrew Niccol. However, one of the producers involved, New Zealander Philippa Campbell, resigned in response to the controversy surrounding the film.

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St Andrews man Tom O’Connor, former journalist, Waimate District Councilor and former Gray Power national president, is preparing a book on the shootings and said that while no one owns the story, the writers and filmmakers need to be aware of the sensitivities surrounding major tragedies.

“If the survivors and the immediate families of the victims of the catastrophic event had been better informed of the film’s plans, their reaction might have been different, but they also do not have the right to veto,” O said. ‘Connor.

“It also seems a little discourteous not to have at least informed the Prime Minister of the plans for the film, but that does not seem to have happened either.

O’Connor said he had completed a manuscript for a book on the shootings, but suspended publication for more than a year while events were “still rough.”

He said it was not uncommon for some people to oppose the publication of negative or tragic stories.

“I hit this when I started writing about the loss of the Russian liner Mikhail Lermontov in the Marlborough Sounds in 1986 and a few people didn’t want me to write about the fate of Irish convicts who fled Australia in New Zealand in the 1830s, ”said O’Connor.

“But they are part of our history as is the Christchurch Massacre, and they need to be properly recorded.”

He said members of the Muslim community, police, emergency services and experts in several fields were involved in the planning of the book.

“But we have always suspended publication until part of the raw edge of the massacre has been blunted by the passage of time.”

O’Connor said the prime minister was told of the book’s plans early on and had the chief censor’s consent to use text from the banned killer manifesto.

“This kind of material should be handled with care and compassion, but it could not be entirely omitted from the record.”

O’Connor said it’s somewhat new to negatively criticize a movie before it’s even made or screened.

“Historians don’t limit themselves to recording pretty and pleasant events. We also have an obligation to accurately record tragic and ugly events. ”

O’Connor said that although the development of the book had “not been a particularly pleasant experience,” he was happy to have contributions from Muslim scholars on the significance of the event and the history of the event. Islam in New Zealand.

“What I wanted to do was report on the event itself and then the response to it,” O’Connor said.

“While the Muslim community was the target of the Christchurch murders, this terrible event happened to all of us.

“It was our country under attack and we lost our innocence that day.

“This needs to be recorded while those directly involved are still able to share their memories and experiences as horrific as they were.

“This is not to sensationalize the event, but to ensure that there is a specific case that future generations can learn from.”


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