The latest attack on two Mosques in New Zealand brought a wave of indignation around the world. But the far right leaders do not want to see what happened as an act of terrorism. And we do not want to identify with the attackers in the same way as we identify millions of Muslims with islamic extremism.
Everyone is now aware of what happened in New Zealand yesterday. 49 people got shot in two mosques, by four far-right wing terrorists who filmed everything on live video on Facebook.
Now, we all remember what happened after each terrorist attack in Europe, in Paris, Bruxelles, Barcellona, Strasbourg. Nobody spoke about anything else than that. Politicians were constantly on live TV, newspaper articles kept coming out and out, and of course, social media were busy dealing with thousands of posts. Not to mention Twitter and Facebook, which became the open dog shelter of squalor, with people barking and ranting about the dangers of Islam and uncontrolled immigration.
The worsts were probably the far right leaders. Like Salvini, constantly on live video on Facebook, or Trump tweeting about the perils brought by open borders, that allow evil immigrants to attack our perfect and innocent civilizations.
Terrorism is now a propaganda device, used by the right-wing parties to gain consensus.
The truth is that every terrorist attack made by an Islamic extremist is a huge propaganda device. It serves the scope of pushing the fear button of people, on scaring them so much that the only possible solution becomes to kick people out, for the only reason of being Muslims or black (because as it is evident, Europeans automatically associate dark skin with Muslim religion). And afterward, what is the only way to achieve these goals? It’s to vote for the far-right movements, whom every day talk about these scary Muslims and immigrants, that want to conquer our countries and take away our peaceful and non-harmful quotidian life style.
The awful attack in New Zealand was made by a man who had his firearm decorated with the name of other far-right extremists, responsible for different mass shootings. Such as Luca Traini, the man who in 2018 in Macerata (Italy), decided to shoot every person of color that crossed his path. Or Anders Breivik, who in 2011 killed 77 people in Norway, inspired by Islamophobic and anti-immigration ideas.
Are we scared of being guilty?
The problem with the attack in New Zeland is that it’s been made by people with the western ideal skin color and with the western ideal religious belief, Christianity. These terrorists remind us too much of ourselves, and it is too hard for us to recognize this similarity. Doing so would mean acknowledging that our own culture and belief are as dangerous as what we always thought as being the biggest danger. It is also much easier for us to identify with the victims of terrorist attacks than with the attacker. We want to feel attacked in these kinds of situations, so that we can finally have a face to fear, a face to hate, someone to blame. but what happens when that face is our face? It then happens that we want to care less and we tend to blame the attacker because he was a “psychopath” rather than “a terrorist”, while we do not have any problem in calling a Muslim man a terrorist.
We want to be the victims in these situations, we want people to mourn for us, to say sorry to us. We asked the entire Muslim population to say “sorry”, in the past years, because otherwise it would have meant that they agreed with the extremist ideas. Is anyone now holding a sign saying SORRY NOT ALL WHITE PEOPLE ARE LIKE ME? No.
The attacker in New Zeland is a terrorist. He killed 49 people because he wanted to destroy their belief and their identities, he wanted to make a whole category of people to feel threatened. And he was also a psychopath, as most of the terrorists are: he filmed his own interview before the shooting and recorded the whole moment on camera. He was as much of a terrorist as the guy who killed 9 Afro-Americans in Charleston, Dylan Roof, and as much as those who rode a van over people in Barcelona in 2018.
We are now forced to admit to ourselves that terrorism does not have a religion. But people are not ready; today the right-wing leaders do not have any religion to blame. They cannot admit that the beliefs they are spreading are dangerous and nocive for humanity.
These days, there won’t be any live video, or angry tweet against white supremacy terrorism, not from our leaders at least. We can only expect warmest sympathy and best wishes.
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Michela Grasso is a 19-year-old political science student at the University of Amsterdam. Her main occupation, besides studying and working in a sad Asian restaurant, is to rant about Italian politics. She runs a politics page on Instagram called @spaghettipolitics, where comments and insights on the latest news in Italian politics can be found.