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.
Our neighbours are a bit goth and alternative, lots of black clothing, lots of candles and dragons on their walls.
We couldn’t help but notice, since the Chch killings, that their Facebook is full of friends who are ugly nazis that think the killings were a good thing.
There’s a hell of a lot of racism and hatred not far below the surface in this country. I’m not surprised that people who have a normal sense of human decency, are going all-out to make their feelings heard. There’s a fair amount of hatred that needs to be drowned out.
Just wanted to say, Sir Bob, your posts are a very welcome sight in these times. Greatly appreciated and I thank you for them.
“Cut the mush”; absolutely. I feel overwhelmed by an avalanche of platitudes and ‘conspicuous compassion’. Unless one is seen to be ululating at full volume it is assumed that one has no feeling. What happened to quiet reflection?
I write this just before the greatest single virtue signal is about to start the playing of the Muslim call to prayer over the radio and TV.
Cut the mush? That should be directed to the media as most folk I know, right or left, religious or not, are just getting on with life.
Bob you horrible old white male. I love reading your writings. Keep it up and dont let the bastards steel your Knighthood.
NZ is awash with bleeding heart soppets who are absolutely reveling in the moment to show the world how virtuous they by their dubious mushy tear-per-second-in-public ratio.
Grimy, self serving platitudes – It doesn’t prove a darn thing…..
This was ONE evil rotten man. Not an entire nation. I bear no guilt and nobody else does either. This man may have some supporters but this is in no way emblematic of a nations attitudes or feelings towards Muslims.
It is possible to grieve and support these poor victims while still acknowledging the truth that Islam is terrible – utterly irreconcilable with western values and society. Everywhere Islam is, there is poverty, murder, rape, pedophilia, gross intolerance of other religion and alternative sexuality and dreadful suppression and abuse of women. It has to be – their book explicitly tells them to do all this and more.
Muslim people are often very nice people and i wouldn’t be without the ones i know and appreciate in my life. What has happened to these people is utterly tragic and heart breaking. What a fu*&^kng terrible act……
This devastated community deserve our every care and resource to try and rebuild their lives amount us. Especially the new arrivals & immigrants. Its is a big enough hurdle shifting house, let alone country. Then to lose family, friends, fellow worshipers and witness the most horrific acts of cold blooded murder is absolutly heart breaking.
I will do my best in my business to offer employment to any of these people should i have the opportunity.
However – we cannot overlook the fact that Islam is still a toxic malignant cancer and that its extremist followers are doing the same thing to others all over the globe. Right now and have been doing so for millennia.
It WILL happen here in NZ. Just a matter of time.
So comfort those who need comfort but keep vigilant for the hell that the extremists amoungst them will continue to rain down on the west.
Nice piece Sir Bob, would love to get your take on the Hagley Park gathering and whether it was truly necessary?.
I struggle to see how brandishing the hijab shows solidarity, this has somewhat backfired for the accused as it has brought the Social Justice Warriors a platform to celebrate the muslim faith.
I was uninterested in wearing a hijab in solidarity for a faith I don’t admire..instead, I didn’t wear one, in solidarity for those clapped in irons for the right to choose.
What a column! Shared this with a few friends as it precisely captured my feelings.
Apparently he entered Turkey a couple of times, allegedly plotting an attack on their president. I would imagine this sort of plot would be illegal in Turkey, and that Ergodan would like the opportunity for one of his agencies to ask him a few questions. I hope some kind of extradition arrangement can be reached.
Nice to see some balance coming into frame. Excellent article. The delusion that our PM has created world peace and should be given the Nobel Peace award I find a bit gagging. The media is 95% about her and sub 5% about the victims and the event. Any PM
Would show compassion as would my mum, but somehow hers is greater..a bit of political opportunism I suspect.
Well said Sir Bob. Although I do not always agree with what you say, generally You do say what we, the silent majority, really think.
My Muslim staffs comment “ one little thing in your country and you all go crazy “( his words not mine ) “I want to go prey but it’s full of people hanging around.” . “Media just want a story”.
“The more you go on about it , the more people are targeted “
“This creates more hate from both side of the nz community “ those for and against because hate feeds hate.
Terrible thing that has happened let’s not dwell on it and feed another nutter.