Opinion Editorial

Tuesday 19 March 2019

Editorial: 'We must always remember that terror will never win'

Worried friends and relatives wait outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand. Photo: Mark Baker/AP
Worried friends and relatives wait outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand. Photo: Mark Baker/AP


Sometimes an event comes along of sufficient evil to cast a shadow over the whole world.

The carnage in Christchurch, New Zealand, was a debasement of everything we value.

It is difficult to discern which was more disturbing: that a cold-blooded killer could live-stream the slaughter for 17 minutes; or that there might be an audience at ease with viewing it.

To thinks that copies of the sickening footage were still being viewed 10 hours later on major platforms is truly shocking.

The video was shared by a verified Instagram user in Indonesia with more than 1.6 million followers.

The families of the 49 murdered innocent Muslims cut down while they prayed will have all our sympathy.

Brenton Tarrant claimed his diabolical attack was "inspired" by the slaughter of innocent teenagers by Anders Breivik.

He was branded an "extremist right-wing terrorist", but we should not make the mistake of looking for reason in the madness of atrocity.

Hate does not carry a single label. The agency of terror respects no creed, race nor border. Opportunity is all it requires.

But New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern refused to allow her country's innate humanity to be touched by the cold brutality of the gunman. Observing some of the victims may have been new immigrants or refugees, she said: "They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand."

While reacting to the events, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres highlighted the urgent need to work better globally to tackle Islamophobia.

But incidents like that witnessed in Christchurch demand more than offers of consolation. Understanding the seemingly insatiable global appetite for violence is also something we need to examine. The fact that the film looked so like the video games played by millions of people every day also raises searching questions.

We have created mass communications systems capable of transmitting hateful messages and images to millions within seconds without the necessary tools to control them. What's more, the requirement to moderate is also absent.

This allows terrorists to extend their bandwidth to promote their twisted aims. We live in a world where the proliferation of weapons makes it harder to heal than to kill. At moments of such darkness it is hard to find any words of hope.

Gandhi wrote: "When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it - always." Perhaps we should.

Irish Independent

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