What the world needs is unity, cooperation and common purpose

The politics of Nationalism is gaining force and it is us who must stop it

By the time you read this much more news and analysis will have become public after the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand.

As I write, the death toll has reached 50 and the injured 50. The attacks fit all definitions of terrorism in intent and action. The terrorist’s (I refuse to use his name) avowed purpose was to sow discord, to fuel hate and to spark cultural warfare.

The world of officialdom has pronounced that the terrorist acted alone. I wonder? This beast wasn’t birthed fully formed – he is the product of countless lessons.

Rogers and Hammerstein explored this subject throughout their 1949 musical Broadway hit and 1958 movie, South Pacific, Lieutenant Joe Cable sings:

You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear

You’ve got to be taught from year to year

It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear

You’ve got to be carefully taught

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid

Of people whose eyes are oddly made

And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade

You’ve got to be carefully taught

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late

Before you are six or seven or eight

To hate all the people your relatives hate

You’ve got to be carefully taught

It was true in 1949 and it is true today – we have to be taught to hate but the lessons don’t just flow from relatives, they come from a host of insidious little teachings. A massive flood begins with one raindrop and hate is the torrent spawned by the first act of intolerance.

When federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer shares a stage with Faith Goldie and hires Hamish Marshall as his campaign manager lessons are sent and drops of intolerance fall (both Scheer and Goldie are former Rebel Media mainstays).

When the desperate plight of refugees is portrayed as an invasion, drops fall. When the likes of Australian senator and lawmaker, Fraser Anning, opines that the Christchurch massacre was the result of Muslim immigration, the flood has begun.

As I write, Barbara Perry, director of the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, was interviewed on the CBC’s, The Current. She estimates that there are nearly 300 far-right groups in Canada, up from around 100 in 2015.

Some of these organizations operate with a mask of civility, but it is only a superficial disguise. The likes of David Duke, the ex-Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, may be well educated, wear suits and speak in somewhat cultured tones, but their message still one of separation, superiority and exclusivity.

Words matter! The old saw, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me, is simply absurd. Words are a tool that modern hate groups understand only too well and those words are designed to attract and motivate those who wield the “sticks and stones” that do break bones.

These voices engender fear, anger and alienation. They dehumanize their victims and render reason impotent. Theirs is a language of separation, of pushing peoples apart and denying the common humanity of all. It is a narcissistic preoccupation with a culturally restrictive, ‘me’ – it is white nationalism.

Dr. Perry reported the reaction on the various far-right websites and blogs to the Christchurch massacre was “sickening”, with the websites glorifying the terrorist and sharing comments such as, “fifty is not enough.”

Yet, despite the prevalence of physical violence perpetrated by these groups and their rhetoric, the world of officialdom is loath to identify these groups as terrorist or their writings and speech as hate.

It is informative that we are not so reticent when the perpetrator is Muslim.

Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand prime minister, was a refreshing exception when she immediately identified the Christchurch massacre as a terrorist act – it was.

It is particularly disturbing that we find ourselves in this time of unbridled cynicism, anger and division when what the world needs is unity, cooperation and common purpose. We are facing unparalleled climate and social problems that demand cooperation, not division.

We live in a common biosphere, we breathe the same air and we have no room for the alienating and venal vitriol dispensed by these fools. From Russia, Brazil and Turkey, to Venezuela, Japan and the U.S., the politics of Nationalism are gaining force and it is us who must stop it.

To fail in the defence of democracy, justice and tolerance is to invite the dark clouds of authoritarianism.

That would be a cold and bleak future.

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