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Christchurch bloodbath, a grim reminder of growing bigotry

Christchurch bloodbath, a grim reminder of growing bigotryChristchurch bloodbath, a grim reminder of growing bigotry
Highlights

Ultimately evil descended with the message of hatred by rearing its ugly head in the name of white supremacy...

Ultimately evil descended with the message of hatred by rearing its ugly head in the name of white supremacy in New Zealand. There are more questions than answers at the moment after the horrific massacre of 49 people at two New Zealand mosques allegedly by a self-described ethno-nationalist.

The senseless killings of devotees are the most abhorrent, hateful and appalling act that one has seen in the recent past. While we mourn for those killed and injured, we thank Providence that the Bangladesh cricket team are safe, having escaped by the skin of their teeth. The carnage was purposeful, livestreamed on Facebook to spread a message of hatred and to radicalise others.

The attack marks a grim new age of social media-fuelled terrorism carried out against a targeted group of victims at their most peaceful and thus vulnerable: people at prayer. Of course, such racism is not new in the world, as our own history attests. Hitler immolated most of Europe and North Africa in hopes of building an Aryan empire, and in the modern era, the US suffers more terror attacks by home-grown supremacists than from foreign actors. It is a scourge, and we pay it too little heed.

The truth is there is no haven, no refuge, no place to be safe — for ourselves or for our children. The planet is a battlefield. Everyone can come in the way and be a bloodied statistic. This is not paranoia, this is real. Shopping arcades are dangerous. Anywhere where people gather, fear comes along. Hospitals, once taboo as targets in war by convention, are now cross-haired by choice.

Schools are a favourite and transportation is now a conveyor of death. What has happened in New Zealand is tragic and calls for human sympathy. Beyond that, there is nothing we can do – other than make matters worse. But the impulse behind the acts isn't new, and the persistence of violent expressions of racism and religious intolerance in the 21st century undercuts any pretence that the world has advanced beyond such medieval notions.

Unfortunately, there has been a resurgence of far-right ideology in recent times, coated and garbed under the banner of nationalism. Christchurch killings, sadly, is a manifestation of that tribalism espoused and encouraged, regrettably so, in many parts of the world. And one notices with distress the embers of hatred and exclusivity being stoked by some politicians in these countries for political dividends.

We suspect that killers have been motivated by this particular ideology and consumed by a pathological hatred for people who believe in a different religious creed than them, betrayed by the manner they went about their killing spree.

While the killings are definitely an act of terror, they do not fit the definition of terrorism—the only intention of the killers was to vent their hatred against a particular minority group and gain publicity. However, one cannot say with certainty that they do not have other cohorts who share their abhorrence of the "other". This act of utter madness and brutality must be condemned by all in the strongest possible term.

While we call for the arrest of the killers and their sponsors if any, we feel that our reactions should be modulated by the head and not heart in addressing the matter. We must all make sure that this horrendous situation is not exploited by other religious extremist groups. And all of us have a responsibility to eradicate racial supremacy and other vile forms of bigotry. Then only we can have a chance of squelching these senseless acts.

-Javvadi lakshmana Rao, Visakhapatnam

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