Make no mistake, the violence that visited New Zealand was Australian made. Far too long have we cultivated these voices for our own gain.
Yesterday, a 28-year-old white Australian man and his cohorts attacked two separate mosques, killing 49 people. They had also prepared a car bomb, which was thankfully not detonated. The people killed were men, women and children, refugees, New Zealand citizens, neighbours and friends. Innocent people, may they be of blessed memory.
We’ve, unfortunately, come to expect this kind of senseless slaughter in the news out of our American cousins, with its dozens of mass shootings every year. But this, this is close to home. This, while not on Australian soil, strikes at our very hearts. It was one of us that did the deed, and our neighbour is suffering. My heart goes out to them, and to the wider Muslim community, because this was absolutely an attack based on creed, religion, race, colour. A hate-based lashing out by insecure white men.
#BREAKING: Man who identified himself as Brenton Tarrant uploaded lengthy manifesto online before carrying out Christchurch, New Zealand shooting rampage https://t.co/3dwagifAuO pic.twitter.com/k4IIIa2Umy
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) March 15, 2019
Make no mistake, this was terrorism. This is what terrorism looks and feels like. And it leaves us feeling hollow and scared. One of the terrorists live-streamed the video, which is still available on Twitter. No, I will not link to it. This seems to be taken right out of the ISIS handbook, because terrorists take hints from each other, no matter who or what they’re fighting for. These men were engaging with far-right literature, and one even went so far as to write “fourteen words” on his gun. There was a photo floating around on Twitter, which now seems to have been removed.
Prime Minister Ardern has said there is “no place in New Zealand” for people who commit these acts. Our government talks about stripping citizenship…I wonder if they will be so cavalier about someone’s citizenship now that it’s a white supremacist terrorist doing the killing.
“One of the last things the shooter said before beginning his rampage: ‘Subscribe to Pewdiepie’,” journalist Robert Evans tweeted. It was not a joke. Pewdiepie is well-known for his “controversial” (read: racist) humour, as well as promoting far-right content to his mostly quite young audience.
Prime Minister Ardern has said there is “no place in New Zealand” for people who commit these acts. She’s right. Our government talks about stripping citizenship from people who run off to join ISIS; I wonder if they will be so cavalier about someone’s citizenship now that it’s a white supremacist terrorist doing the killing. We are exporting our Nazis now. In the wake of the St Kilda rally, in the wake of people like Blair Cottrell being legitimised by our sitting senators, in the wake of who is in charge of who may and may not enter this country, and who we have as a leader, this incident is not surprising. It is horrible, it is heartbreaking, it is monstrous, but it is not surprising.
Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?
— Senator Fraser Anning (@fraser_anning) March 15, 2019
We have been warning that this kind of thing was going to happen. Jews, Muslims, women, LGBTQIA+ people, POC; we have been warning the world to take it seriously when we say we are scared, to believe us when we say this type of thing was going to happen in light of hate and fear-mongering. And now many are dead far too soon and countless others are deeply affected by what has happened yesterday, fearing what is to come tomorrow, and seeing the same dose of violence repeat.
This was not a “lone wolf” attack. They were a team. These are terrorists. These are white supremacists and far-right nationalists. These are Nazis. Let us call them for what they are, and no longer validate their platform through the guise of ‘free speech’, or for votes or clicks. As Australians, the blood is very much on our hands.