After yesterday’s terrible news from the New Zealand city of Christchurch came the revulsion. How had someone become so filled with hatred that they had taken up arms, shooting dead 49 innocent people and wounding many more? From this came the call to do something about the tsunami of hate speech, especially that directed at Muslims. And following that call, with the inevitability of night following day, came the libertarians.
This meant an intervention from those at Spiked, so called because it should have been long ago. And such was the gravity of the situation that the job of pretending that FREEZE PEACH was in deadly danger that only chief contrarian Brendan O’Neill could save the day. The bodies of those killed had hardly gone cold when Bren brought forth his latest Magnum Opus, titled New Zealand: the barbarism of identity politics.
“The rush to pin the blame for the New Zealand massacre on right-wing columnists and media outlets is despicable and ghoulish. What sort of person sees a bloody atrocity as an opportunity to push their petty demands for censorship?” he thundered. Although he stressed his solidarity with those grieving, then came “As we offer our solidarity, we also want to try to understand why things like this happen”.
So who done it, Bren? “Increasingly, it feels like the New Zealand atrocity is what happens when the politics of identity, the reduction of everyone to cultural or racial creatures whose relationship with other cultural and racial cultures must be monitored and managed, comes to be the only game in public life”. Fog of verbiage. Use lots of big words.
He even manages a nod to Combover Crybaby Donald Trump: “Democracy is anathema to identitarians and Islamists alike”. Both sides! Both sides! Also, “The only person to blame for the massacres in New Zealand is the man who carried them out”. And to that I call bullshit. The normalisation of Islamophobia has inexorably, inevitably turned heads, shaped arguments, persuaded the left-behind and the lonely.
From there, along with the incessant barrage of low-level hatred from mainstream media sources, augmented and amplified by the batshit fringe, all under the cover of FREEZE PEACH, leads only to one end point - the idea that Muslims are THEM, and are out to get US. In that warped worldview, WE have to fight back against THEM.
That is what led to two Mosques in Christchurch. But then, those at Spiked have form for excusing attacks on Muslims: they were the ones who denied the Bosnian Genocide. So, true to form, the same line is trotted out: it couldn’t be about hate speech. Except it was, and it could. As the Mail noted in its account of the killings, there is another connection.
“The shooter's soundtrack as he drove to the mosque included an upbeat-sounding tune that belies its roots in a destructive European nationalist and religious conflict … The nationalist Serb song from the 1992-95 war that tore apart Yugoslavia glorifies Serbian fighters and Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic … A YouTube video for the song shows emaciated Muslim prisoners in Serb-run camps during the war”.
The forebears of Spiked excused attacks on Muslims then - including Srebrenica. They’re explaining them away now. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, and all that.
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