Kuwaiti victim of New Zealand mosque shootings was ‘very brave’: friend

Ghassan Alaraji shows on his mobile phone a photo of his friend Atta Elayyan and his young daughter. Elayyan died during Friday’s terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. (AN photo by Steven Walton)
Updated 17 March 2019

Kuwaiti victim of New Zealand mosque shootings was ‘very brave’: friend

  • ‘He was trying to help and protect the others from being shot, but unfortunately he wasn’t so lucky’

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand: ‘He wasn’t so lucky’ – friends recount death of sportsman in Christchurch mosque shootings.
A dedicated futsal player and loving father was one of the victims in Friday’s mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Friends of Kuwait-born Atta Elayyan, 33, have travelled to Christchurch to pay tribute to his life.
Iraqi man Ghassan Alaraji, 35, who works as an osteopath in Auckland, said he witnessed Elayyan’s death in one of the videos posted online by the suspected gunman, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28.
“It showed a young chap running towards the perpetrator trying to tackle him to stop him from shooting,” Alaraji said.
“Just before that happened, the perpetrator shot him. That was my friend Atta.”
He described watching the video as “very saddening”.
Alaraji, who’s travelled from Auckland to show his support to the grieving families, said Elayyan was a kind man, successful businessman, loving father, and a good husband. He was a member of the Futsal Whites, New Zealand’s national futsal team.
“He was trying to help and protect the others from being shot, but unfortunately he wasn’t so lucky,” Alaraji said.
“He was very, very brave.”

Atta Elayyan was born in Kuwait and a member of the tech community in Christchurch. He co-founded and ran the mobile consultancy company, LWA Solutions. He moved to New Zealand in the mid-1990s and loved his time here, Alaraji said.
He said there had been lots of support from the local Christchurch community and the council has done an amazing job to begin digging graves for those who lost their lives.
“We wish all the best for his family and we’ll try our best to give all our support for them,” he said.
“He will be dearly missed,” Alaraji said as he held a photo showing Elayyan with his young daughter.

Another friend of Atta Elayyan, who did not want to be named, said he received official confirmation of his friend’s death late on Saturday night.
“Yesterday in the morning when they confirmed that he wasn’t on the list of people who were in the hospital… that was kind of the first acceptance,” the friend said.
“That was hard. That was a shock,” the friend, who had also travelled from Auckland to pay respects.
In a statement, New Zealand Football said it was deeply sad to receive the news of Elayyan’s death.
Elayyan played 19 international games for the New Zealand Futsal Whites.
Chief Executive Andrew Pragnell said the death was devastating for those in the football community.
“On behalf of everyone at New Zealand Football our thoughts and prayers go out to anyone who has been affected by these heinous acts of violence,” Pragnell said.

 

More on the New Zealand attack:

Christchurch massacre proves terror has no color, faith or gender

New Zealand mayor on deadly mosque attacks: ‘This hatred was not born here’

The day peaceful, welcoming New Zealand lost its soul

When gunman Brenton Tarrant attacked New Zealand mosque Abdul Aziz ran at him

Saudi man killed in New Zealand mosque attack

World reacts to New Zealand terrorist attacks on mosque

New Zealand mosque shooter a white nationalist seeking revenge


Hong Kong protesters sing ‘God Save the Queen’ in plea to former colonial power

Updated 15 September 2019

Hong Kong protesters sing ‘God Save the Queen’ in plea to former colonial power

  • The Chinese-ruled territory has been rocked by weeks of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests
  • Demonstrators angry about what they see as creeping interference by Beijing in their city’s affairs despite a promise of autonomy

HONG KONG: Hundreds of Hong Kong protesters singing “God Save the Queen” and waving Union Jack flags rallied outside the British Consulate on Sunday demanding that the former colonial power ensures China honors its commitments to the city’s freedoms.
The Chinese-ruled territory has been rocked by weeks of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests, with demonstrators angry about what they see as creeping interference by Beijing in their city’s affairs despite a promise of autonomy.
The Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in 1984, lays out Hong Kong’s future after its return to China in 1997, a “one country, two systems” formula that ensures freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland.
“Sino-British Joint Declaration is VOID,” one placard read. “SOS Hong Kong,” read another.
“One country, two systems is dead,” they shouted in English under the sub-tropical sun, some carrying the colonial flag also bearing the Union Jack. “Free Hong Kong.”
With many young people looking for routes out of Hong Kong, campaigners say Britain should change the status of the British National (Overseas) passport, a category created after Britain returned Hong Kong to China. The passports allow a holder to visit Britain for six months, but do not come with an automatic right to live or work there.
“I am here to demand the UK protect our citizens’ rights in Hong Kong and speak up for Hong Kong under the Joint Declaration,” Jacky Tsang, 25, told Reuters.
The spark for the protests was planned legislation, now withdrawn, that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial, despite Hong Kong having its own much-respected independent judiciary.
The protests have since broadened into calls for universal suffrage.
China says it is committed to the “one country, two systems” arrangement, denies meddling and says the city is an internal Chinese issue. It has accused foreign powers, particularly the United States and Britain, of fomenting the unrest and told them to mind their own business.
Britain says it has a legal responsibility to ensure China abides by the 1984 declaration.
“The Joint Declaration is a legally binding treaty between the UK and China that remains as valid today as it was when it was signed and ratified over 30 years ago,” a British Foreign Office spokeswoman said in June.
“As a co-signatory, the UK government will continue to defend our position.”
But it was not immediately clear what Britain could or would want to do defend that position. It is pinning its hopes on closer trade and investment cooperation with China, which since 1997 has risen to become the world’s second-largest economy, after it leaves the European Union at the end of next month.
The Civil Human Rights Front has also called for a mass rally in Victoria Park, just to the east of the central business district, but police have denied permission because of earlier clashes after huge gatherings.
Protesters are expected to turn up early in the afternoon anyway.