If there was ever a lesson in postmodern attitudes converging onto a single moment in time, channelled through a technologically and culturally globalised world, it would have been the tragedy in New Zealand. A white supremacist targeted a Muslim mosque in South Eastern New Zealand citing increased levels of immigration into traditionally ‘White countries’ and inherently high fertility levels among ‘non-White’ emigrants, or as the shooter termed them, ‘invaders’. The response to the incident was anything but what the shooter expected.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in a string of heartfelt addresses to the nation alienated the ‘extremist views’ that the shooter espoused. Ardently enough, she expressed support for the Muslim community among the diverse religions and ethnicities that choose to make New Zealand their home. In essence, an Australian citizen, citing Donald Trump as a symbol for white supremacy, shot Muslims in mosque blaming them for diluting ‘White’ population in Europe, while streaming the incident live on Facebook. The setting as such transcends New Zealand and if media reporting following the incident is anything to go by, is global in nature. Social media giants including most notably Twitter and Facebook have been specifically criticised for their inability to remove the millions of copies of the video that the shooter streamed live in due time. At the time of writing this article, many more still remain online for viewing.
The setting as such transcends New Zealand and if media reporting following the incident is anything to go by, is global in nature.
As the furore against the attacks that has killed 50 and injured an indefinite number of people has been rallied around, this was ‘certainly not New Zealand‘ but was her introduction to perhaps the most globally polarized socio-political setting since the World Wars. The response to the tragedy by the people and the leadership however has been nothing short of comforting to the survivors and the Muslim community at large in New Zealand as well as being policy oriented to ensure that attacks such as these do not become a recurring phenomenon in the country. Jacinda Ardern has assured stringent gun laws that are to be unravelled later in the month. To meet similar ends, intelligence agencies are undergoing a review on how to enhance oversight.
The Prime Minister has reiterated time and again that it was an act of terrorism. The shooter, Brenton Tarrant, has not disagreed to this in his manifesto. In his indifference to any and every social construct with an air of pretentiousness, typical to manifestoes of such a nature (the Unabomber’s is such an example), he denies adherence to any specific group or channel of thought. That would be worth deliberation had he not been simply, an anarchist, trying to in his ‘Fortnite’ inspired rhetoric bent on going on a killing spree for an issue that he was not directly physically affected by; immigration.
The Prime Minister has reiterated time and again that it was an act of terrorism.
The irony of his rather fallacious beliefs should not be lost on a reader. Reminiscent of Mein Kempf, the shooter mirrors a lot of what Adolf Hitler’s parochial perspective on the society was. The shooter shares similar views on communists, who he threatens with the same fate as those who fell victim to him in New Zealand. He stands ambiguous, deliberately so, on fascism calling himself an ‘eco fascist’, an extension of his supposed love for nature. He based his actions around the principle of ‘ethno nationalism’. All this was learnt from anachronistic fascist rhetoric and video games; a combination of referenced source material that reflects nefariously on his actions and his understanding, or the lack thereof, of society around him. At one point in his manifesto, he mentions being frustrated at the sight of graves of all the soldiers who lost their lives during the World Wars, protecting the rights of the people on the continent. The shooter forgets candidly or chooses to ignore altogether that his words echo those of someone who is responsible for the deaths of the soldiers in the World Wars. Though as absurd as it sounds, 50 people did lose their lives the shooters own hypocrisy; a characteristic in the global world order he set out to point himself.
An ethno nationalist for sure, a white supremacist for sure, the shooter was born in a globalized society when Europe, specifically Germany was striving to rise above social constrictions that lead to millions of dead in unprecedented violence.
The spectre of Europe’s past is not what lead to this atrocity. An ethno nationalist for sure, a white supremacist for sure, the shooter was born in a globalized society when Europe, specifically Germany was striving to rise above social constrictions that lead to millions dead in unprecedented violence. In fact, Europe had ventured into regional inclusion programs whose intent emanated from a need to establish an inclusive European society marked by forbearance and acceptance. The shooter himself was a product of globalization; one who sought to cherry pick that which suited him and insidiously discard all that did not. Regardless of his attempts to reject all norms and measures of a globalized society, his conduct is that of a person failed by globalization. At one point in his manifesto, he mentions the convenience of his travels to foreign lands, having being welcomed there but goes on to warn that the same people who welcomed him better stay put in their lands and not ‘invade’ ethnically ‘White’ countries.
There was though a method to the brutality that ensued; a method that made no sense whatsoever but dented the collective consciousness of an entire nation and brought the entire world to a standstill on the 15th of March 2019, in a quaint city on the shores of New Zealand.
The shooter’s utter rejection of European leaders, right and left wing, a skewed perspective of history and a distorted understanding of the dynamics of immigration into Europe is an indication that the shooter was acting on his own whims. Regardless of the length or substance of his manifesto, there was little method to the madness that preceded and allegedly inspired him to kill 50 people in a place of worship. There was though a method to the brutality that ensued; a method that made no sense whatsoever but dented the collective consciousness of an entire nation and brought the entire world to a standstill on the 15th of March 2019, in a quaint city on the shores of New Zealand.
is an M-Phil graduate of International Relations with minors in political economy from National Defense University. His areas of research include Foreign and Domestic European Affairs. He is currently working as a Research Associate at the Centre for Strategic and Contemporary Research.