The Christchurch Mosque Massacre

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Mourners pay their respects at a makeshift memorial near the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, Saturday, March 16, 2019. New Zealand's stricken residents reached out to Muslims in their neighborhoods and around the country on Saturday, in a fierce determination to show kindness to a community in pain as a 28-year-old white supremacist stood silently before a judge, accused in mass shootings at two mosques that left dozens of people dead. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Violent brutality often seen on cinema screens as well as TV and online broadcasts – a hallmark of Hollywood, always ends with a sigh of relief in the knowledge that fiction triumphed over reality. “Dead” actors wake up and walk, ready to “die” and walk again in sequel after sequel of blockbuster movies, enthralling millions of eager viewers demanding more of the same. 

Whether films depict wars or drama and yes, entertainment too, blood curling violence, murder, rape and hatecrimes appear to be intimately entrenched in the script. Though reviewers and critics do often question validity of gratuitous violence, it seems script writers and producers are of the opinion that blood sells. And that the more bloodshed the more popular films will be to rake in huge profits. 

Unfortunately for the victims and families of the #ChristchurchMosqueMassacres in New Zealand, the reality of being mowed down in cold blood was far removed from fiction. Though the killer resorted to filming his ghastly crime via realtime digital media as he calmly proceeded to pump bullets into the bodies of Muslim women, men and children, they will not walk again. 

The orgy of death in the sacred precincts of mosques has shocked the world. That it was captured on video and has gone viral, depicting the utter ruthlessness of the killer splattering blood of innocent worshippers, has sparked fury. Pressure on social media platforms to halt further broadcasts showing depravity of the perpetrator’s killing spree may be an idea to not reward him with his “scoop”, but the larger question remains unanswered: who are his scriptwriters? 

There is no doubt in my mind that Ali Abunimah’s tweet correctly singles out Israeli war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu as a leading architect of antiMuslim hate campaigns as well as an ally of white supremacists and Nazis. His active pursuit of Islamophobia, incitement of wars and execution of Palestinians is not an irregular occurrence. Netanyahu, as head of the Middle East’s sole colonial entity, has been in the forefront of global war efforts to target what he unashamedly defines as “Muslim extremism” and “Islamist terrorism”. 

A vocabulary of racist invectives which he popularized and as is evident has been absorbed by US president Donald Trump along with his circle of rightwing white supremacist thugs such as Bolton and Pompeo. To assume that the Christchurch massacre is an isolated case, is to deny the existence of scriptwriters in Tel Aviv, Washington, London, Paris and many more capitals of the world. The results of the cancer of hate spread by them against Muslims is found in the debris of war ravaged Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Kashmir and scores of unidentified rural villages dotting the Muslim world. 

The names of these scriptwriters are known to the world, but regrettably not for the enormity of their illegal wars and crimes associated thereby, but as “statesmen”. Tony Blair, George Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the group of killers in Israel, are glorified as “leaders” on world stages, while their records of mass murders are either glossed over or justified as necessary under the false rubric of the “War on Terror”. 

Miko Peled correctly links racist killings to the impunity whereby Israel and the US kill Arabs and Muslims. And insists that unless Israel’s “dominant influence” is halted, expect more #ChristchurchMosqueMassacres. Displaying outrage and issuing statements of condemnation as Netanyahu, Trump and their fellow travelers have done, smacks of blatant hypocrisy and double standards. Their insincerity stinks and must be called out if the world is to rid itself of white supremacy. 

Even while the International Criminal Court dithers by displaying  impotence in regards to the prosecution of Netanyahu and his British/American counterparts, it behoves civil society, multinational corporations as well as independent governments to turn their collective backs on them. Glorifying baby killers is not an option. And those who do so as has been the want of conglomerates to invite the likes of Blair and Obama, is equivalent of extending a lifeline to white supremacists.

A social comment I read says that Islamophobia has been normalised and legitimised to such an extent that it’s commonplace for certain commentators to argue that it’s entirely natural and rational to dislike and be fearful of Muslims. Though Trump may be despised by the world and many folks in America, he remains entrenched as the Commander-In-Chief with his unsteady finger on the nuclear button. His malignant views of Islam and Muslims did not emerge out of the blue. Chaps like Steve Bannon who cherish and fuel hate and are acknowledged as rightwing bigots, exploited the fertile Islamophobic ground laid by Trump’s predecessors and an array of Israeli allied think tanks to gain access to power. 

The intrinsic network of rightwingers including heads of governments and white commentariat as described by Lebanese academic Amal Saad, pose the most damning threat to global peace and security. Yet Israel’s recent threat analysis would want the world to believe that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigners (BDS), are terrorists in suits, worthy of being jailed, tortured and killed. 

The smear campaign against BDS is a replica of hate campaigns against resistance movements, Iran, Venezuela and of course Muslims. To be shocked, outraged and saddened by the gory murders in New Zealand is understandable. But to feign indifference about the role of the US/British/Israeli axis of white supremacy is unforgivable.

Iqbal Jassat is an Executive Member of the Media Review Network  based in Johannesburg, South Africa.