The massacre of at least fifty people at the two mosques in Christchurch last Friday left many in horror and shock.
Less than a week later, the focus has been less on the victims and of who’s right and who’s wrong. Pot shots have started thrown and now it’s become left vs conservative and media outlet vs media outlet. And Prime Minister vs. commentator.
Now, I actually thought some of the initial reporting and commentary was good. I liked the universal condemnation of the gunman (who I won’t ever name on here). I liked how Andrew Bolt condemned the mastermind as a “sick bastard” and the massacre as “ghastly”. He also criticised Independent Senator Fraser Anning’s response to it.
Everyone in their right mind was saddened and repulsed over what happened. But now, the victims, their families and the rescuers are in the back of the minds of commentators. Less than a week later, culture wars and partisan politics have taken centre stage.
Culture wars ramp up
Since I started writing this I have seen so many more examples of this. No more are commentators (on either the Left or conservative) focusing on the fifty victims who perished and the families and communities that have been shattered.
Just days after the massacre, I was reading an editorial from The Guardian attacking politicians and columnists including Andrew Bolt for their rhetoric that they accuse of fanning flames. I have seen editorial pieces, blog posts and TV clips of columnists, panellists and politicians sniping at each other and trying to pin blame.
Seven’s Sunrise received backlash after One Nation’s Pauline Hanson was ambushed by host, David Koch and Justice Party Senator, Derryn Hinch. They accused her of flaming the hatred that led to the attack. A change.org petition has called for Koch’s sacking. It currently has over 116,000 signatures.
I’m not always a fan of Senator Pauline Hanson, but what happened to her on Sunrise was unfair. And, like all the other bickering and finger pointing, the victims are pushed aside. Fifty people were murdered. That means there are roughly fifty families that have lost mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, etc. People have lost their friends and colleagues. That was what was taken away that day. And also remember that one of the victims was Mucaad Ibrahim, who was only three.
Can we change the narrative around terrorist attacks?
Every terrorist attack in the West, regardless of victims or perpetrators have the same affect. The media reports and comments on the attacks ad nauseum, then the culture wars begin. The blame begins. No wonder why Janine Perett said on Paul Murray Live (I think) that some New Zealanders have expressed anger over how the Australian media has covered the massacre.
Every terrorist attack is evil. None can ever be justified. That’s the message we should get across. What the mosque shooters in New Zealand did was as equally apalling as any Islamist attack. Too many lives have been lost or changed forever because of them. Victims should get everyone’s condolescences and support and not have their tragedy used for political scores, by politicians or journalists.