Education, Media, and Hate Mines

Monday, 18 March, 2019 - 11:15 Issue Number [14720]

It is not surprising that the world gets shocked, angry and panicked. The images outweigh any tolerance ability, despite the amount of cruelty and crimes the world has witnessed in recent years. Millions of viewers watched pouring torrents of hatred. One terrorist released a "tsunami" of horror.

It was more dangerous than an insane man storming a funeral or wedding ceremony and massacring the attendees. The carnage seemed programmed and horrendous. A professional assassin acting in cold blood. The fall of innocent worshipers increases his thirst for more. He charges his weapon as if he were training in a shooting club. He does not mind the screams of the injured, nor the sanctity of the place. He then moves to another mosque to double the number of the dead. A disgusting live broadcast, preceded by a long political statement trying in vain to justify the unjustifiable. An awful aggression against the lives of the innocent worshipers and against the sanctity of the mosque that embraced them.

The world is not usually preoccupied with New Zealand. The country has a stable security and economy. It is neither a field for a “clash of civilizations” nor a scene of inflamed lines between religions or races.

It is a small, modest and safe state. A group of islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean that dream of better days for their inhabitants. Its democracy is controllable and corrected, and corruption does not jeopardize its economy. The country is developing its ability to attract tourists with its traditional preoccupation with meat prices and its dairy wealth.

Suddenly, it invaded the screens. It was pushed into the limelight by a foolish Australian terrorist, who chose it to be the theater of his reprisals emerging from the caves of history.

In a statement in which he sought to justify his crime, Brenton Tarrant considered that the flow of migrants to Western countries posed the most serious threat to their societies and existence because it amounted to “the genocide of whites.” He described immigrants as “invaders”, who must be convinced that “our land will never be theirs.” He said he had acted in retaliation for the “millions of Europeans killed by foreign invaders throughout history and the thousands of Europeans who have died in terrorist attacks on European territory.”

Tarrant stressed that he did not feel remorse and “only wishes to be able to kill as many of the invaders and traitors as possible.” He emphasized that “there are no innocents among the targets, because anyone who invades the land of others bears the consequences of his doing.”

He pointed to the decline of fertility rates among whites and the wide change in the identity of countries that receive migrants. He did not hide the fact that he was inspired by another terrorist known as Norway's far-right terrorist, Anders Behring, who killed 77 people in 2011 and is known to be hostile to Islam.

It is no secret that the vast waves of migrations that the world has witnessed in recent years, which have been associated with terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda and later ISIS, have aroused widespread concern among the extreme right in a number of countries.

It is not surprising that a visitor of several Western capitals hears that Paris is no longer Paris, and that the current Netherlands is not like the previous Netherlands, and that Germany will not be the same ten years later.

These concerns have been translated into the rise of the extreme right and racist tendencies in more than one place and a decline in the popularity of parties that “have opened the doors to asylum.”

Despite the assertion of European leaders, mainly the German chancellor, that receiving immigrants is a humanitarian duty, but at the same time an economic need, the extreme right went far in raising concerns about identity and traditions.

You can hear a Frenchman say that his neighbor who comes from another culture refuses to adapt to French culture or to the “values of the republic,” and insists not only to live outside these norms, but also to impose his way of living on the country that bears the burden of hosting him.

Media outlets have repeatedly highlighted the rise in crime rates following the influx of refugees, pointing to their different perceptions of the state, the rule of law, and attitude towards women.

Many parties are responsible for escalating fears of Islam in some Western societies. The day after the fall of the Soviet Union, talks emerged on “the need for a new enemy” and that Islam was “the next danger.” There have been many analyzes predicting a terrible clash of civilizations and inter-religious wars. Some ruptures have fed the theory of bloody identity wars, including images of bodies coming from the blatant divorce between the components of what was known as Yugoslavia.

Waves of migration towards the West were pushed by economic failure, repression or civil wars that sometimes took the form of genocides. At the same time, blind forces in the Muslim world have played a major role in supporting the arguments of blind forces elsewhere.

At the turn of the century, Al-Qaeda transferred the war to the US territory through the September 11 attacks. Images of devastation and victims swept the world’s screens. The response to those attacks in Afghanistan and the Iraq war contributed to sharp climates that fueled emotions and helped the militants get more polarized.

The emergence of ISIS was an ugly development in this context. The world saw people beheaded only because of their different affiliations. It also saw ISIS terrifying cities and states through its dormant cells or individual wolves.

The day after the “massacre of the two mosques”, the world united in condemning the terrorist murderer, his ideas and justifications. The world has realized the danger of resorting to practices aimed at inflaming the lines of contact between races, civilizations, and religions.

But condemnations and punitive measures against the perpetrators are not enough. A daily battle is needed to save the values of coexistence and tolerance.

There is no way out of the swamps of racism and intolerance except in a daily battle within schools and universities, in addition to religious, social, and political platforms to prevent fanatics from taking over them and unleashing waves of extremism and hatred. The media must follow the path of responsibility and prevent its platforms from becoming a source of resentment.

The race to attract followers with rude images and provocative phrases is bringing the media into the hands of extremists who dream of blowing up all bridges in order to build a world of high walls and blood-stained identities.

It is necessary to stand against the sources of hatred at home, at work, in books, on Twitter and Facebook, and everywhere. Without an honest acceptance of the right to be different, we will see more waves of hatred submerging our world.