Friday, March 15, 2019

Right Wing Terror in New Zealand - Time to take Islamophobia seriously

The Islamophobes like Tommy Robinson have consequences - the New Zealand killers were open in the their hatred of Islam and live streamed their killings - they were not under security surveillance as Islamopobia has not been taken seriously.Tommy Robinson washes his hands it has nothing to do with him - Islamophobia has everything to do with Tommy Robinson and he revels in it.

The key killer Brendan Tarrant was an Australian from Grafton NSW who issued an 80 page hate manifesto - echoes of Anders Brevik from Norway.

After the United States Australia has the biggest racist communities online.

This should be a wake up call for Australia and New Zealand to take Islamophobia seriously !

Mike Stuchbery writing in the Independent 

The New Zealand terror attack shows how far-right violence is cultivated by the internet and populist politicians

As for how this horror was enabled, one only need look to toxic online spaces and social media to understand.

For years, online communities such as 8chan have acted as an incubator for extreme racist and white supremacist ideas, couched in multiple layers of sick humour and irony. 

The use of memes to first provoke a laugh, and then incite hatred is well documented by researchers looking at online discourse.     

These spaces, in which extremist ideas meet banal talk of video games and other facets of internet culture, also serve to dehumanise communities and negate the impact of actions against them. 

One need only look to the gunman telling those watching him to “subscribe to PewDiePie”, a popular YouTuber, before opening fire to see a chilling reminder of this. 

In one sense, the attack was framed by the killer as something almost unreal.

Much like the jihadist networks they claim to despise, these online communities additionally use the relative isolation and alienation felt by young men as a means of radicalisation. 

“Incel” culture has emerged in the last couple of years as a gateway to extreme ideas.

Were these sites being accessed out of Syria, and not Seattle, or Stoke Newington, these websites would undeniably be under a huge deal of scrutiny by security services. 

However, as a space inhabited mostly by young, white men, they’re overlooked.

Once radicalised, social media provides a convenient stage for them to act out their beliefs.

The Christchurch killer live streamed his attack to thousands of viewers over Facebook. His manifesto was posted across Twitter, and within hours of the massacre, it was being discussed – often positively – on right-wing YouTube channels.

These social media tools were used for the express purpose of turning the killings into a spectacle, one to be consumed over and over again. 

While his accounts would be shut down within hours of the attack, the nature of these networks means that video could, and is, being uploaded over and over again. It will be available forever, no matter how hard authorities try to clamp down.

Why, and how this attack occurred is no mystery. 

The inciting words, the spaces in which the killer was radicalised and the tools he used to carry it out are in plain view. 

Any speculation seems redundant in the face of the evidence provided.

What we do need answers to, is the question of what happens next. Since those inciting and radicalising are among us, part of our communities, will we choose to ignore them? 

Will we talk down the influences upon the killer, seeking to paint him as mentally ill, or a “lone wolf”? 

Or can we finally start to have some difficult conversations about how privilege and a type of blindness prevents us from tackling an emerging, increasing threat?

We can only make excuses for so long. 

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