That the Christchurch massacre on two mosques happened on the Ides of March is probably indicative of the madness of the world we live in. But as fortuitous as the escape of the Bangladesh cricket team has been and one is truly grateful for it, the live streaming of the murder of the 49 people is grotesque and frightening in its implications. Technology turned crimson today.
This cold-blooded assault has not followed the typical Islamist attack. This is exactly the opposite. A white supremacist attacking immigrants, and raising the stakes on Donald Trump’s much-vaunted policies on this issue.
The US president’s son, in all fairness, however, tweeted sensible advice the media failed to take heed. “Don’t give the POS NZ shooter what he wants,” US president Donald Trump’s son wrote on Twitter.
“Don’t speak his name, don’t show the footage. Seems that most agree on that. The questions is: can the media do what’s right and pass up the ratings they’ll get by doing the opposite? I fear we all know the answer, unfortunately,” he added.
Clearly, it was too much of a temptation and by the time Facebook closed down the killer’s account, the video had gone viral.
The paradigm changes so dramatically, and the fear is not only that such an atrocity will encourage other trigger happy groups but that it will also initiate reprisals from the recognised extremists.
I am sitting here in cold, windy London and an emergency alert was announced almost minutes after the news broke. Many other capitals in the world will follow suit as they wake to this disaster.
But while there will be a thousand commentaries condemning what 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant did after leaving behind a manifesto, his actions have added new threats to the cricket World Cup, the one event that was intended to bring a splintered world together and let it heal, to be held in the UK. While there is no connection between the UK and the attack in Christchurch, the very fact that London upped patrols at all mosques within two hours after the attack, indicates a certain fear. A world cup could well serve as a magnet for terror attacks as immigration stays a front-burner issue.
The cricket World Cup is also bruised by India’s intent to not play Pakistan on 16 June as a sign of protest against Pakistan harbouring terrorists. It has also been largely overlooked that India is still pressing the ICC to block Pakistan and disallow its presence in the cricket World Cup. And amidst all this, the Christchurch Test between Bangladesh and New Zealand has been cancelled with the Bangladesh cricket team escaping the attack on the mosque out of sheer luck, it will be returning home traumatised.
For New Zealand, a nation associated with peace and co-existence, the attacks are sans precedent, and it remains to be seen the action the authorities will take to crack down on underground supremacist cells. Will there be a ban on ugly literature like the stuff from Dylann Roof and deriving what he called true inspiration from Knight Justiciar Breivik, a Norwegian terrorist who was the grandmaster of a Templar organisation and had 77 kills to his name? Roof is a white supremacist who instigated the Charleston church massacre in 2015, killing nine.
It is no less terrorism when white supremacists shoot at people at a mosque. Describing them as a handful of misguided youths and sons of teachers and truck drivers with guns underplays the danger they pose. It is time to call them terrorists. It’s time to wake up. The white supremacy cartel has the money and the guns.
How many Tarrants and Roofs hold clandestine meetings and have immigrants in their crosshair. It’s time to start the search.
In a perfect world, sports and politics do not mix and we would all agree that is the way it ideally should be. But it is not a perfect world and if South Africa was shunned because of apartheid then terrorism is not less as a crime. Why should nations not include sport while exercising their foreign policy, howsoever retrograde the steps may be.
Much will depend on how Wellington wakes up to the below-the-radar radicalism that is justified by people like Tarrant as saving their countries from the invaders. It must not only take steps to root out such evil but also be seen doing so.
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