For the second time in a decade Christchurch made world news. Although the death toll from the mosques massacre was a little more than a quarter that of the earthquake, it captured far more attention, dominating the foreign media over the following four days.
My suspicion is that’s because earthquakes don’t affect most people, while they’re taken in their stride by those familiar with them through living in earthquake locations.
But the randomness of terrorist acts, specially when they occur in perceived safe locations such as Norway or New Zealand, strikes fear in everyone as potential victims. That’s not cynicism but reality.
It’s why I argue the greatest act of peace promotion in history was Hiroshima. That brought about a sea change in public attitudes to warfare. People went from white feathering young men not in uniform during the First World War, to marching in the street for peace after the bomb, for now it was plain, future world wars’ targets would be them.
The initial reaction to the mosque shootings was mostly measured and sensible. A notable exception was New Zealand cricket boss David White, who ludicrously asserted the shooting was “a game-changer for hosting international sport in this country”.
Good Lord! Britain, France, Belgium, Spain, Nigeria, Kenya, Australia and many other countries have endured numerous random, mainly Muslim-inspired mass killing bombings and machine-gunning attacks over the last decade, while continuing to stage major sporting events. America has copped lots of so-called right-wing nutter slaughters but boxed on with major sporting events.
They do not feature body-scanning of their audiences or the presence of gun-toting soldiers. The hard reality is that these attacks are both random and rare, thus almost impossible to avoid.
A Waikato university Law Professor piped up saying he’d warned of this possibility a couple of years back due to the inadequacy of our gun laws. What he ignores is that most of the foreign Muslim terrorist attacks, Africa excepted, have been achieved with explosives with much greater death tolls than Christchurch.
So too Tame Iti who came out calling for more tolerance which is all very well for him as he’s arguably the most tolerant bugger I’ve ever met. He was wrongfully imprisoned in my view which when I put it to him once he said he knew that but dealt with it as he thought I would.
“Oh really,” I queried.
“Yes, as I could do nothing about it I made the best of it and learnt to paint”. He certainly had me wrong. I’d pursue it until I got both justice and revenge.
But what of his more tolerance plea?
To that I say, there are eight billion people in the world. This was the cowardly single act of just one of them and not a reflection of society’s alleged intolerance. I’ve spent six decades travelling the world, periodically living in different places and in my experience have found people everywhere have similar values, i.e. friendly, decent and tolerant. The outpouring of platitudes over the weekend was ridiculous and self-serving.
On Sunday night one of my daughters, who’s best friend is an Afghan refugee here and who lost a family member in the shooting, actually told her she found the public reaction over the top.
From what I could glean from reading the perpetrator’s rambling Manifesto, his principal anger lay with mass immigration and the loss of cultural identity. That’s a perfectly valid view, probably held by the majority of the world’s population although it’s steadily diminishing through mass travel and ever improving education inducing a more liberal outlook.
Nevertheless it’s currently enshrined in law in Hungary and is the de facto situation in Japan. It was a major motive behind Brexit voters and is strongly felt by most folk in the European Union nations, alarmed at the mass cultural invasion by mainly Muslim migrants.
I accept people’s view-point on this, indeed I think it an understandable attitude but I don’t subscribe to it, probably because, as said, I’ve travelled so much over the past 60 years and recognise that everyone is basically the same. But not entirely.
As I’ve repeatedly written, in my opinion the best thing ever to happen to New Zealand is the wholesale Asian migration here over the last three decades. Industrious and independent plus the wonderful bonus of good-looking women – what more could you want? Keep them coming.
So too with religion which I’m contemptuous of but specially Islam for its evil relegation of women. Again, that doesn’t mean I hate Muslims, indeed I’d be very surprised if there’s anyone in this country more generous towards them than me, albeit inadvertent. Currently one of my scholarship schemes forks out $500,000 annually, rising each year, for refugee girls’ university education plus other expenses, the vast majority being Muslim and often with appalling back stories. I have immense admiration for them. Some occasionally write to express their gratitude and invariably add they thank Allah for being so blessed. I reply asking for Allah’s address so I can bill the bugger but to date, no luck.
I’ve known and have befriended many Muslims over my lifetime through boxing, even including the late Herbert Muhamad, the leader of the American Black Muslim movement who I took the mickey out of repeatedly over his religion. But it was teasing; he was a bright fellow and took it in good humour.
My eldest son shares my contempt for religion and specially Islam, but has personally set up a school and pays five teachers’ salaries in Athens, assisting Syrian, Afghan and Iranian refugees to learn English so they can take the next step and gain English-speaking jobs. Additionally, Athens has copped a huge number of Muslim refugees stalled from further north-bound progress. They’re living in appalling squalor so he’s supplying nappies, baby formula and food to the poor buggers, despite his distaste for their (or any) religion. Like me, he’s doing it because he can as doubtless would most folk in our position and because these are people in desperate tangible need.
My plea is to cut the mush. This was a world-class loser-instigated one-off occurrence. A short, rather dim fat kid lacking friends or social skills, trying to compensate through body building, who became obsessed with cultural purity then did a warped and terrible thing.
How could he be so cruel and cause so much grief to so many innocents you may ask? That’s not hard. First of necessity he will be psychopathic, something thousands of people in all walks of life are. It’s something they’re born with and can’t be cured and simply means they’re without emotional sympathy to others, but not that they wish to declare war on society or hurt people.
A mature approach to this event, as with all catastrophic occurrences which periodically mark our lives, horrible and tragic though it was, is to take it in our stride, not over-react and to get on with life.
Finally, the question has arisen of what to do with this filth and in particular should he be sent back to Australia for life imprisonment.
Here’s a better idea. Offer him to Pakistan as a victim nation of his action. Their treatment of him, particularly if public, will certainly act as a deterrent to like-minded others.