New Zealand: Global idiocy reaches down under
And the latest victim in the globalization of idiocy, racism, bigotry and puerile, primary and primitive kickbacks is New Zealand, today a paradise lost.
The shock and horror at the medieval, demonic acts of so-called white supremacists against Moslems in Christchurch, New Zealand, this Friday during prayers is as tangible as it is incredulous. This horrific act is translated into 41 dead at Al-Noor Mosque and 8 dead at Linwood Mosque at the time of publication, plus 20 seriously injured and some 50 people hospitalized.
Putting murder into perspective
Putting this act of terror into perspective, in December 2018 there were at least 173 terrorist attacks worldwide, 261 in January this year, 196 in February and so far in March, including today's despicable and cowardly attacks, 91 incidents, 422 dead and 553 injured.
As we can see, the good people of New Zealand, Christians, Buddhists, Moslems, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Bahai, traditional Maori religions or whatever, going about their business and living together with common values are not alone in this most recent manifestation of hatred, intolerance and sheer stupidity. Countless others have felt the same waves of sadness, disbelief and anger sweeping over them as their communities are raped and devastated by wanton acts of evil and as we can read in the paragraph above, the list will go on and on and on. Welcome to Planet Earth and what it has become in 2019.
Planet Earth 2019: Ruled by the Wow! Factor
And what has it become? Fortunately such acts are extremely rare and when they occur, they grab the headlines, because headlines are built on impact, made to create impact and supposed to thrive on impact. They thrive on the adrenalin hit of breaking news flashing across the screen in impact-laden red letters, highlighted on a yellow background, they thrive on the drumbeat and increased volume of pounding, thumping rhythms when the news bulletin starts and they thrive on the shock and awe, wow factor that newscasting has become.
"Hens peck fox to death" is more likely to garner interest and have people shifting foward on their seats than "kitten comforts elderly lady". A police thriller is more likely to be a blockbuster than a love story with a happy ending. A love story with a sad ending when "she" dies of cancer leaving a three-year-old son and a doting husband will not be rubber-stamped as "boring" by the critics. However, the gung-ho action film named "Winner Takes All" in which there are 265 scenes of extreme violence will certainly be a greater box-office success.
So such acts "make" the day of those who peddle news for money, who peddle hits for bucks, who sell the adrenalin rush for dollars. Therefore it pays to hype up terrorist attacks with soundbites using the word "attack", "strike", "terror", splashed all across the front page and on TV with the sound of screams and sirens. So much for the bottom line of the media outlet. Geopolitically, if you want to control someone, make her/him afraid and then tell her/him that your authorities are here to make you safe.
Some make billions out of selling weapons
And let us not forget that Planet Earth 2019 is one in which weapons are easily available if you know who to speak to, which website to click on and let us be honest, we live in a world in which major powers make billions out of selling weapons systems to murder people. Who is selling weapons to the Saudis to use against kids in Yemen, just because they are Shia or linked to Iran?
Is there a difference between selling weapons of mass destruction to a State or selling a machine gun to an individual, when one can murder 40 in a bombing and the other can murder 50 in a shooting? We remain silent about the first case but spread the second all over the newspapers, in turn creating impact which goads others on to perform copycat acts.
Food for thought? So let us spare a thought for New Zealand, a country today in shock. Let us also spare a thought for Yemen, and Pakistan, and Iraq, and Somalia and Afghanistan and Mali and Syria and India and Burkina Faso and Libya and Nigeria and South Sudan and India and Turkey and Cameroon and Myanmar and Chile and Colombia and Egypt and Mozambique and DR Congo and Thailand...some of the other countries affected by terrorism in the year 2019.
What to do?
The way forward? Lower impact media coverage of such incidents, labelling the perpetrators as murderers and not terrorists, making sure they are called cowards; clear global guidelines on what is not acceptable, namely drugs and weapons trafficking, namely carrying any type of weapon in public. Selling drugs amounts to ruining families and fuelling crime, selling or carrying weapons is paramount to aiding or planning a murder and a murder is not only the destruction of one life, but many.
The bottom line is while we do not have accountability at all levels, including the highest levels of society, for those ruining families and providing the means to destroy lives, we are going to spend an increasing number of hours writing sob stories and commiserating with those who have had the misfortune to have lost somebody they love.
As our world changes, as our societies change, with the challenges presented by the digital society, we must also adjust our education systems to the new challenges, taking into account fresh societal vectors. We must also use the two-word, ever-present and relevant mantra called common sense.
This goes against the grain of the path followed by certain Prime Ministers who claim that reducing policing units has nothing to do with rising crime rates.
The bottom line is creating more prison places with the focus on rehabilitation and training, the focus is on creating more prison places for those who will lose their right to freedom and who will never live amongst us again. The focus is on attacking the drugs and arms supply lines from start to finish.
And no, this will never happen. Nobody has the balls.
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey works in the area of teaching, consultancy, coaching, translation, revision of texts, copy-writing and journalism. Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru since 2002, and now Co-Editor of the English version, he contributes regularly to several other publications in Portuguese and English. He has worked in the printed and online media, in daily, weekly, monthly and yearly magazines and newspapers. A firm believer in multilateralism as a political approach and multiculturalism as a means to bring people and peoples together, he is Official Media Partner of UN Women, fighting for gender equality and Media Partner with Humane Society International, promoting animal rights. His hobbies include sports, in which he takes a keen interest, traveling, networking to protect the rights of LGBTQI communities and victims of gender violence, and cataloging disappearing languages, cultures and traditions around the world. A keen cook, he enjoys trying out different cuisines and regards cooking and sharing as a means to understand cultures and bring people together.