New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared before cameras immediately after the massacre of 49 Muslim worshipers. She was visibly sad. Ardern could have acted like Fraser Anning, a racist Australian senator, and blamed the massacre on the victims. She also could have followed in U.S. President Donald Trump's footsteps to talk about the gravity of the situation without mentioning the killers or their victims. Notably missing in Trump's remarks on the Christchurch massacre were Muslims, whom the killers targeted.
For the record, the U.S. president did not actually say anything in his reluctant statements. Instead, Ardern tackled the attack head-on and shared the pain of the families of the innocent victims. She even went a step further and urged Trump to show sympathy and love to Muslims. Sadly enough, the New Zealand prime minister's careful attitude won't stop the situation from getting worse. The order under which we used to live is officially gone. Terrorist Brenton Tarrant put dozens of bullets into the new world order, with its emphasis on human rights, equality, economic liberalization and globalization, which the United States attempted to create after the Cold War.
After all, the Christchurch massacre was no isolated incident. Nor was Tarrant, who broadcast the killing spree live, a lone wolf. The gunman was the product of the toxic atmosphere that fills our world today. He was not alone either: Many countries around the world continue to harbor people that share Tarrant's worldview.
Like the mass murderer, they feed off the rise of racism in Europe and the words of politicians that try to ride that wave. Countless European politicians, who made careers out of disdain for refugees, willful ignorance of Islamophobia and targeted harassment of Turkey and the Turkish people, are complicit in Tarrant's crimes. If these words seem hurtful, it is because they are supposed to be. For this is the world in which we live today.
Everything that happened in recent years is terribly reminiscent of the lead-up to World War II. The global economy is contracting. Most recently, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) revised its growth forecasts to indicate that the world was heading towards recession.
Meanwhile, the United States wages trade wars that threaten the global economy. What happened to senior executives of Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications giant, established that the free market and freedom of movement for the business community have been shelved. No longer do international organizations seem credible to ordinary people. As countries like the United States build walls along their borders, the European Union looks for ways to restrict visa-free travel for new members.
Soon, capital and people won't be able to move freely anymore – against the backdrop of deepening xenophobia and anti-refugee sentiment.
From this perspective, the Christchurch massacre was a first and a clear indicator of xenophobia.
The anti-Turkish and anti-Islamic references on Tarrant's weapon, together with the identities of the innocent people who lost their lives last week, mean that Muslims in Western societies have begun to experience what European Jews encountered before and during World War II. If the world continues to walk down this path, new Hitlers will emerge in Europe and the United States.