I heard about the New Zealand shooting in the morning, in bits and pieces, on Twitter, as it usually is on Twitter, “shooting” “Mosque” “New Zealand”.
And you know what my first thought was, yes you guessed it right, Oh dear Lord, let the shooter not be a Muslim, selfish I know, but that’s how things are nowadays.
And I will not lie that it was not a relief when I heard that the shooter wasn’t Muslim. That was the first reaction.
Of course, there was also sorrow at so many lives lost, not because they were Muslim ( as I am) but because they were innocent bystanders, trying to make a life somewhere, and one angry supremacist decided it was upon him to take “revenge” for supposed “wrongs” done to him by members of that community.
Where did this hate come from?
Politicians who scoff at “Political correctness”?
Social media, which doesn’t do enough to stem bigotry?
The internet, at large?
Anyway, after this came another emotion, disappointment, when I saw social media posts actually celebrating the attack, just because the victims were of a religion they have been conditioned to hate.
Those celebrating this attack have no direct relationship with the victims ( same as me) but instead of being sad or felling sad or empathising, they are actually celebrating.
I didn’t think it was possible to feel any more disappointed in this group of people, but I was.
Then I saw Senator Fraser Anning’s statement. And God, was I angry. Why?
Because, it was precisely statements like this that had prepared the ground work for this attack.
Statements that are thinly veiled bigotry, full of justification, and lending mainstream political justification for attacks like this on communities that are the “other”.
The New Zealand PM was commendable on this aspect, she called out the attack for what it was, and stood by the victims( they are us).
Coming back to Senator Fraser Anning’s statement, not only is it hateful, it is ironical and contradictory. He rants about immigrants, forgetting that he is himself from a family of immigrants, forgetting that his grandfather was a “squatter” who probably murdered hundreds of Aboriginal people in the frontier conflicts.
And he quotes the Bible in his statement, forgetting again that Jesus was all about compassion and empathy, and died for his sins.
Jesus could certainly do without having to carry the cross of Islamophobia.
Instead of rising to the occasion like a great leader, the senator chose to be a petty rabble rouser, not stuff what world leaders should be made of, if the world is to be a better place.
If the world is to be a better place, we need to call out statements like the senators, and really really make better choices when it comes to our politicians, or we are all doomed.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.