As a cloud of gloom descended over New Zealand after the Christchurch massacre, members of the public and progressive sections stood united against the far-right terrorism. Thousands joined the condolence and solidarity gatherings outside the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre. “We are one” read one of the posters outside the Al Noor Mosque. New Zealand bikers group performed the indigenous Haka dance (part of the Māori culture) as a mark of respect to those killed and in solidarity with the families of the victim.
Muestra de respeto a las víctimas y familiares de los ataques #Christchurch #NewZealand#Haka de honorpic.twitter.com/YnknzjMsnW#ChristchurchTerrorAttack #ChristchurchShootings
— Santiago Corral (@enfermeria) March 17, 2019
On March 15, an armed gunman opened fire in New Zealand’s third largest city, Christchurch, killing 50 people and injuring over 45. The attacker is a white supremacist, who had sent an email of his “manifesto”, articulating his deep-seated hatred against ethnic minorities and immigrants. The shooter, Brenton Tarrant, an Australian citizen, was arrested and charged with murder, along with four other suspects who may have aided or possibly even participated in the attack.
On Sunday, tens of thousands gathered at a Wellington vigil at the Basin Reserve to honor the victims and condemn Islamophobia.
One of the most glaring things about the attack was the manner in which it was conducted and the role of various internet subcultures in it. Tarrant live streamed the first 17 minutes of the attack on Facebook after displaying a myriad set of neo-Nazi symbols and cues to his audience. Apart from that, the days before the attacks he had posted links and quotes from his 74-page long “manifesto”, detailing his white supremacist ideology, with blatant hate speech against ethnic minorities and immigrants, specifically targeting Muslims.
In a statement, Socialist Aotearoa, a working-class organization, condemning the rising far-right wing narrative, said “This is the inevitable consequence of politicians using rhetoric bashing migrants in order to gain support and votes. Don Brash [Leader of the National Party], and other opportunists from ACT [right wing Association of Consumers and Taxpayers] and the New Conservatives, have helped enable the rise of a small but militant far-right movement with their dog-whistle scapegoating.”
“It’s time to tell these Trump-like demagogues to get lost,” added the statement which was also signed by Migrant Workers Association, Unite Union Socialist LGBT,Radio Inquilaab,Love Aotearoa Hate Racism and Nightingales Fight For Fair Pay.
There was also widespread criticism of the tendency by certain sections of the media to see the massacre as merely the act of a lone ‘madman’ and ignore the structures of racism and hatred that led to it.
The attacker has also at various forums, including in his manifesto, stated that he was inspired by 2011 Oslo Attack perpetrator Anders Breivik, who had also conducted a similar attack and wrote a manifesto of white supremacy.
Solidarity marches against the attack are being organized across the globe, including Greece, India, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Turkey. In Australia, tens of thousands rallied in Sydney on Sunday, condemning the Islamophobia and expressing solidarity with the migrants. This march comes after the right-wing Australian Senator Fraser Anning, who blamed Muslims for the Christchurch massacre, was egged by a 17-year-old teenager Will Connolly. People across the globe have termed Connolly act as ‘heroism’.
a national hero #EggBoy #AnningResignpic.twitter.com/ROZtGymHOT
— Briar ?? (@briarsomers19) March 16, 2019
The prime minister of New Zealand Jacinda Adern, while confirming reports that most of those who were killed and injured were immigrants and refugees, asserted “They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home.”