You know I, like being right. Hell! I LOVE being right most of the time. I am certain that most of you do too, but between this and murdering in the name of a bearded guy up in the sky (Oh! It rhymes too) there are oceans to cross. Being a terrorist simply beats me, even in theory. Why hurt someone who thinks differently than you do? Why do we choose to silence those we do not agree with instead of educating them into our ways peacefully, or even better…
Why cannot we simply leave them alone?
The current situation in New Zealand is beyond dire: according to the local authorities. The terror attack in Christchurch yielded a body count of no less than forty-nine (at the time this article was written), among which some were children. This is not about politics, dear reader; this is not about the beliefs of the right wing parties, neither of the left wing parties, nor of the increasingly rare center parties. Especially because we do not care about politics, but this is about a pair of fundamental rights that we, as a sentient species, have: the right to safety, and the right to truthful information.
That being said, something managed to bother me even more: public cowardice. The mainstream media reported the news in a manner that discreetly dissuaded the reader from the fact that this was a religiously driven organized terrorist assault against unarmed and defenseless human beings, nigh identical to the boogeyman of the twenty first century: ISIS. How? By simply exchanging the extremely used (in other circumstances) word “terrorist”, for the word “gunman”.
We need to discuss a little bit about this issue. The word “terrorist” subconsciously suggests extreme fear, agony, anguish, madness and decadence, a person labeled as such being considered the lowliest form of human being; occasionally even less than human (for good reason too). The term “gunman” implies a person that is dangerous when armed, but has no deeper meaning or purpose. However, the media has built a stereotype for the average terrorist, and it is based on extremely dangerous mental shortcuts: Armed to the teeth, has a vest full of explosives, is ready to die for his beliefs, has no legal documents and… is a Muslim.
Seriously, people?! I have never even ONCE heard the word “terrorist” used for a non-Muslim person.
To be able to assess how grave this situation is, let us compare this attack to similar shootouts that took place in European countries such as France. We have got a group of, at least, three people with very strong religious beliefs? Check in both cases. They had heavy assault rifles and enough ammunition to live through a zombie apocalypse? Also check. Dozens of dead innocents and ruined families? Sadly, check. So far, everything is the same, so why were the attackers in France called “terrorists” and those in Christchurch were called “gunmen”. Think about it… take your time.
Religion, obviously, d’uh.
“Terrorists” are Muslims, and “gunmen” are Christians. Why? Because the mainstream media feeds this bullshit by the truckload. Currently, an entire movement revolves around building stereotypes that weak-minded people can cling to in order to make themselves feel accepted or right. The media is covering the crimes that Christians commit, on purpose. This happens especially in Europe and the Americas where it is the dominant religion. This may happen because of financial problems, or because of personal beliefs. This makes me question the freedom of the press, but regardless of reason it is plainly wrong and unethical. Discreetly lying to millions, by suggesting, through very blunt discrimination, that only Muslims are terrorists should be unforgivable.
Manipulating millions, if not billions, is as much of a crime as anything else.
Dear reader, at this rate, the Earth is going to spit us back into the void of space. We need to stop labeling each other and put them in boxes like some seniors (or ravers) do with their pills. We need to assess these situations and stop letting ourselves be manipulated into hating each other. This attack, just like any other form of violence of this scale, regardless of who is the aggressor is, and will always be, an act of terror, proof of extreme emotional and mental instability and a tendency to violence which must not go unpunished.
We need to learn that the change we want is in each of us. We need to stop being so intolerant and violent to one and another. We do have very bad examples of attitudes that are constantly aired on TV, radio or other platforms, but they must not get the better of us. Humanity will survive and thrive only if we manage to unite and stand united through the years, and, by possessing enough knowledge, being properly educated and offering kindness to everyone in need, we can build a better future, perhaps among the stars.