On the 12th of September 2001, the United States began dealing with the unthinkable horror of the day before. After the terror attacks, members of Congress had stood on the Capitol steps and in unison sang God Bless America! Unfortunately, the Kumbaya moment was fleeting. Now in our 18th year after that event that united us, we are more polarized than anytime since the U.S. Civil War.
Day before yesterday, New Zealanders were shocked that their country too could become a target when they knew full well they didn’t deserve it. They had created an open society that welcomes anyone and everyone from anywhere and everywhere. Diversity they recognized to be their greatest asset.
So who would want to do them harm? A self-proclaimed white supremacist from across the Tasman in neighboring Australia chose the city of Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island as the optimum place to massacre Muslims in their mosques during their Friday prayers.
I will submit to you that the combination of a soft target and optimum world media attention were significant factors in his decision. Kiwis were not expecting it. But, who would be?
I will not repeat the perpetrator’s name here to deny him the notoriety he seeks. Nor will I go into everything his manifesto may say. But, because New Zealand is focusing on some of his statements to determine why they were targeted and how to prevent such an occurrence in the future, there are some points that we need to consider.
This heinous hate crime and terror attack must be called exactly what it is. It allegedly was done to make a point about anti-immigration and perpetuation of Eurocentric society. However, in my estimation, it has accomplished precisely the antithesis of that stated objective.
The wanton slaughter of 50 Muslims at last count with at least an equal number wounded beyond that has overnight changed the narrative worldwide. American politicians are jumping on the bandwagon to express their solidarity with adherents of Islam against Muslim victimhood in our own country and elsewhere.
As horrendous and unforgivable as the events in Christchurch are, they do not negate the worldwide narrative that reveals thousands of Christians being slain in their churches in Nigeria. Nor Kenyan Christians targeted and killed if they cannot or will not recite the Islamic shahada by neighboring Somalis. Coptic Christians whose ancestors predated Islam in Egypt being persecuted and killed. A Pakistani Christian woman imprisoned for blasphemy by Muslims who refused to drink water from a cup her unclean lips had touched.
None of these other events have gotten significant world attention. But Christchurch is now a household word for everyone everywhere.
As one who has long been in touch with Kiwis for 30 years or more, monitored security threats in their country and throughout the Pacific Basin, having an admiration and respect for the good people of New Zealand, the events that have unfolded recently absolutely break my heart. I am saddened but honestly not totally surprised.
Law enforcement in New Zealand is respected and respectable. They liaise with counterparts throughout Oceania as well as in North America. The problem is New Zealand politicians who carry political correctness to a level that would make American politicians inside the DC Beltway envious.
Radio New Zealand has been my primary source of breaking events in the Pacific for many years. Even when the Pacific Islands Report from the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii ceased publishing a few years ago, they recommended RNZ which often covers even current and former U.S. territories better than our own American media. That’s why I have relied almost exclusively on RNZ for relevant updates regarding events in the aftermath of the Christchurch Massacre.
Now let’s go back about 48 hours and consider the developments as they occurred chronologically. Not so much the attack itself but moreover the reactions to it both in New Zealand and here in the United States.
One of the more troubling, though not unanticipated, responses of New Zealand politicians is to censor any kind of online expression which they don’t like. But what is over the line when it comes to free exchange of ideas? Who are the authorities and what are their criteria for censorship? Only the United States has our 1st Amendment protections of free speech and even those are under assault by today’s Democrats.
Politicians in Wellington should understand that censorship will only further polarize their own citizens. If they do not have a legal conduit to share their beliefs in social media, what extra-legal means will they find? Censorship invariably creates more problems than it solves.
The other to be expected knee-jerk reaction of liberal politicians is gun control. The perpetrator of Christchurch himself declared that he wanted to cause a 2nd Amendment rift here in the United States over this very issue. This is another indication that the Aussie was not just attacking New Zealand, but the USA and the world. Certainly not just Muslims ~ they were just a convenient scapegoat.
Once they have banned guns, will they turn their attention to box cutters, pressure cookers, knives and vehicles that run people down? Where does it stop? The gun does not pull its own trigger. The evil in the gunman’s heart is the problem that nobody seems to want to address.
New Zealand Police originally indicated as reported by media sources that multiple gunmen were believed involved. There were suggestions of a cell of perhaps 3 to 5 people and even allegations that perhaps 10 or more could have been implicated. One RNZ report, even without detail, lent suspicion that a nearby hospital was also targeted.
Within 24 hours or so after the original incident, a 180° turn has been made and the perpetrator is said to have acted alone. So, did somebody in authority over-react to begin with? Or, are there other suspects still at large that they don’t want to talk about?
Why did they suggest Jews not attend their own Sabbath Services in their synagogues the day after the attack on Muslim mosques? If the perpetrator is in custody and if Muslims were the only object of his hatred, then protecting Jewish synagogues makes no sense whatsoever if there was no such threat.
“The national security threat level has been increased from low to high for the first time in NZ’s history.” A related search was reportedly conducted 225 miles from Christchurch in Dunedin. All this for a lone perpetrator now in custody?
Even here in Hawaii, the Honolulu Police Department and the FBI reportedly contacted the Muslim mosque in Manoa to express their solidarity and to ensure additional security measures would be implemented. Nothing in the scenario in Christchurch suggests that a mosque near the University of Hawaii would become such a target.
A more objective analysis might be that retaliation could be taken to avenge the attack in New Zealand. But I haven’t seen any warning that synagogues and/or churches here in Hawaii should be on the alert. So why alert the mosque if they had no specific threat information?
Christchurch has under 1/4 the population of Auckland. The city name likely figures into its selection for this atrocity. Be it anti-Muslim or false flag, somebody wants to tear NZ apart.
The people to whom the perpetrator allegedly attributes his inspiration seem to totally run the gamut of the political and ethnic spectrum from U.S. President Donald Trump to Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik to black American conservative Candace Owens. But he’s a white supremacist, right? Let’s look a little further into that as well.
“The attack had been planned for two years and … New Zealand was not the original choice for the attack. [The perpetrator] chose firearms for the affect [sic] it would have on … the politics of United States.”
“In the post, the accused said he was visiting Pakistan for the first time. He called it an incredible place filled with the most earnest, kind hearted and hospitable people in the world.” This simply does not compute! Persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan is among the worst anywhere on the planet. How does this contribute to the suspect becoming a white supremacist who slaughters Muslims?
Whenever a Muslim kills Christians, everybody wants to claim it’s due to mental illness and not anything to do with Islam. But such conflicting statements by the man who shed so much blood in Christchurch deserve to be looked at from a psychological and mental perspective. Why did he go to Pakistan and view it through rose-colored lenses? White supremacy appears more of a crutch to fulfill his own perverted fantasies.
It’s more than just irony that the mosque attack occurred in a city named Christchurch. It’s probably deliberate. An alleged white supremacist chose such a locale. So could a Muslim offended by the city name. In this, they’d have common cause. Both wonder why Muslims chose to live there.
In this time of shock and introspection, Kiwis are asking how could such hatred be spawned by someone in their midst. But, in fact, it was not someone who developed these views in their midst. It was a man from another country who chose their country as a soft target for maximum media exposure and global impact.
New Zealanders need to realize that love and acceptance of others and a strong defense and security posture are not mutually exclusive concepts. There is absolutely nothing any of us can do to preclude someone with evil in their heart from wanting to do us harm. We have to be proactive in anticipating threats and able to intervene and stop the act before it occurs.
Acceptance of others is never unconditional. It must be conditioned upon their willingness to reciprocate and not seek to impose their will upon us or to do us harm in any way. That applies to white supremacists. That applies also to jihadis. Both are a danger to decent freedom-loving people.
It is not surprising to read reports of panic buying of firearms in New Zealand before the government can impose draconian gun control measures. Once again, as with censorship, you do not want to further polarize your nation. The shooter in Christchurch wanted to tear your country and my own country apart. We must not let such evil intentions and actions succeed. If you prohibit free speech and prevent people from being able to defend themselves, you are just sowing the seeds of future discontent.
While I’m tempted to outline the prevailing world situation in which Christians are the persecuted targets in countries ruled by either Islam or Communism, we shall let just two brief anecdotes suffice in this context.
2017 Palm Sunday church bombings in Alexandria [Egypt] killed 45 people and was all but ignored by the Western media and politicians. That was just two years ago. But you can rest assured Christchurch will not disappear from public consciousness that quickly. More correctly, a Muslim on Christian attack in Egypt never really attracted any real attention to begin with. As with the genocide in Nigeria, the world just yawns.
An article dated today published by Gatestone Institute is entitled, Iran Inches Closer to its Goal: “Wipe Israel off the Map”. This helps demonstrate that Islam is more often the perpetrator rather than the victim. NZ’s neighborhood is far safer than Israel’s, but on the same planet!
I have focused mostly today on the reaction within New Zealand itself. There will be repercussions in the United States as well. As I mentioned, our own politicians are jumping on the bandwagon to paint Muslims as the victim of hate crimes. But, Christchurch was both an aberration and a total exception to the rule of what has been going on for at least a generation all over the world.
This has been just a snapshot of a developing story. Future reports, particularly actions taken by New Zealand authorities in the wake of Christchurch (which unfortunately may become a one word symbol of terror), will influence interpretations for sure and understanding if we’re lucky.
I don’t wish to offend anyone, certainly not our great Kiwi friends, but I must take that risk in order to admonish Aotearoa to emerge from its cocoon. There is no neutrality in the face of evil which has many masks. Be strong!
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