Editorial: Reminders From Christchurch Massacre

Times have changed and no matter how much we say Fiji is safe, the killings at the mosques, though in New Zealand, happened on our doorstep.
19 Mar 2019 16:13
Editorial: Reminders From Christchurch Massacre
The Al Noor Mosque in the Christchurch CBD.

The recent massacre of 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, has sent two chilling reminders to the people of Fiji.

The first is the fact that we did not even dream that such acts of killing people would happen in our region.

The second is the drug trade and the infiltration it has made into the Pacific and our nation, Fiji.

These two scenarios are a chilling reminder and beg the question – Are we safe from these crimes?

Thirty to 40 years ago you could leave your windows open at night and sleep peacefully, but that could never happen today.

Times have changed and no matter how much we say Fiji is safe, the killings at the mosques, though in New Zealand, happened on our doorstep.

A classroom or a church, mosque, temple or place of worship are places where children learn, where people gather to worship their God or simply connecting with people in a common goal of trying to lead a life that all Holy Scriptures teaches.

Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in now.

Mass shootings in these places have killed and injured hundreds of school children and worshippers.

A number of years ago a Catholic priest, Father Kieran Maloney, was stabbed by a young man at the Saint Pius X Catholic Church at Raiwaqa, Suva, while celebrating Holy Mass.

While this was a case in isolation, it showed how vulnerable people were to such acts of insanity, even in a place where you thought peace would reign.

Studies now show that such mass killings are not only more prevalent now, but are becoming more deadly.

Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the 28-year-old Australian national, believed to be the lone avowed neo-Nazi gunman, clearly depicted the deranged mind fuelled by his hate for Muslims, or coloured people for that matter.

That is the second scenario or reminder to us all of how hate can instigate such acts of mindless killings. Tarrant was aligned to white supremacists, a dangerous cult of people who live by hate and were responsible for the majority of killings in the United States in 2017.

Journalist Nate Thayer, who specialises in researching white supremacism, noted that the mass murderer in New Zealand was “deeply intertwined with the international neo Nazi movement, a connected community who advocate an Aryan armed jihad targeting non-whites and Jews.

There are hundreds of similar, armed, extremist lone wolf operatives who commune on social media.” In Fiji, while it may seem insignificant compared to what happened in Christchurch, the last election, through social media and from Fijians, both at home and overseas, the same scenario of hate was rearing its ugly head.

Remember the ugly side of the 1987 coup and how racial hatred tore our beloved country apart.

Whether it was spurred on by some politicians or a group of people, it showed that the end result was simply not the way Fiji should have been.

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