Ali Nawabi, 18, holds placards made in tribute to his close family friend Haji Mohammed Daoud Nabi, 71, the first victim of the Al Noor Mosque massacre who was shot after welcoming the gunman into the building with the words `Hello brother`, in Christchurch on 22 March 2019. Photo: AFP
Ali Nawabi, 18, holds placards made in tribute to his close family friend Haji Mohammed Daoud Nabi, 71, the first victim of the Al Noor Mosque massacre who was shot after welcoming the gunman into the building with the words `Hello brother`, in Christchurch on 22 March 2019. Photo: AFP

Without immersing in a riveting debate about the existence of human nature, it can safely be said that fear is an inescapable part of being human. Like all other animals on earth, we also have fear but, unlike others, we have successfully devised ways to fight it. Those are philosophies and arms, which in turn sometimes propagate further fear.

The political discourse on the fear of loss sometimes creates a docile population that can be rendered obedient by any promises. The most effective way to add fervour, strength and resolve to any political and social argument is to invoke the spectre of loss, said academic and an officer in the Israeli Defence Forces Stevan E Hobfoll in his book Tribalism: The Evolutionary Origins of Fear Politics.

A careful reading of the manifesto by the Christchurch mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant will reveal the same. He began The Great Replacement with three words: "It’s the birth-rates." He has written this short sentence thrice in three separate lines, thus creating the effect of an echo, but a prolonged and resounding one, as if to invoke the spectre of loss of the land and culture of Europeans to the non-Europeans.

He goes onto explain, how, despite the low birth-rate among the ‘White Nations’ of Europe, Americas, Australia or New Zealand, their population is on the rise. According to him this is due to the mass migration of non-Europeans with their ideologies of high birth-rate and the ‘sub-replacement’ fertility rate of the Europeans. He considers this to be an assault on the European people, which, if not combated, will ultimately result in their complete racial and cultural replacement.

To inject more fervour or create a greater effect, Tarrant ended the section of the manifesto with four single-line short sentences without any diatribe:

“All through immigration.
This is ethnic replacement.
This is cultural replacement.
This is racial replacement.”

He successfully led his readers through an alley of fear.

The overtone of The Great Replacement has a striking similarity with Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. In his autobiography, the infamous Fuhrer said, “The black haired Jewish youth lies in wait for hours on end, satanically glaring at and spying on the unsuspicious girl whom he plans to seduce, adulterating her blood and removing her from the bosom of her own people. The Jew uses every possible means to undermine the racial foundation of a subjugated people.”

No message is more powerful than the evocation of the need to protect family, a soft target. And attacking soft targets, by definition, is called terrorism. This fear of terrorism muddles logic, “intensifies emotion and makes it easier for the demagogic politicians to mobilise the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue,” wrote Zbigniew K Brzezinski, national security adviser to US president Jimmy Carter.

Tarrant is not a politician but a man strongly charged with powerful political ideas and he published a manifesto in which he called people to take direct action since altering the demographic pattern takes time. He has set an example of such “direct action”, attacking people who were saying their prayers in a mosque.

From The Clash of Civilisations to Brenton Tarrant

Is Tarrant an ideologue only? The answer cannot readily be provided. But a careful reading of his The Great Replacement reveals certain things. “Your ancestors did not sweat in the name of multicultural, egalitarian nation. They built homes for their children to live in, they built communities for their children to thrive in, they built nations for their people to survive in.”

Tarrant, a man who claims to have SEAL training, has written this, much similar to the claims made by Samuel P Huntington, an academic and the White House coordinator of Security Planning for the National Security Council of Jimmy Carter, the 39th US president.

Huntington, who was twice nominated and rejected for membership to the National Academy of Sciences on accusation of distorting historical records and using pseudo-mathematics to make his claims convincing, said the post-cold war world will see clashes of Western ideology with those of Islam, China, India, Japan.

Except Islam, three other cultures, more specifically countries, were showing tendencies to appear as strong contenders of the US in economic fields and thus influence. The relation with Islam is a bit more complex. The US funded and patronised the rise of political Islam in Afghanistan to dispel their cold-war era competitor Soviet Union. Afghanistan is near the Middle East, which happens to be an oil-rich zone.

Hiding the US economic rationales to establish itself as the only superpower of the globe, the 39th president’s security advisor, who served until 1978, wrote an article which was later given shape of a book, the Clash of Civilisations: The Remaking of World Order in 1996. The 40th president, had already began spreading that fear around the globe more than a decade ago in the name of, as Chomsky puts it in an essay in Cultures of Fear: A Critical Reader, “struggle against a plague, a cancer, which is spread by barbarians, by depraved opponents of civilisation itself.”

The 40th "US president Ronald Reagan came to power declaring that the war against terrorism would be the core of their foreign policy,” Chomsky said. They created the unprecedented network of terrorism and used fear to lead people to their end.

Such globalisation of terror network and use of fear has created among many things, Brenton Tarrant, who himself has used terror to fight the same.

This globalisation of terror network and fear will not help humanity. It will simply create wheels of vengeance.

What is the way out of this dire situation? The New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed not to utter the name of the mosque shooter and assured everyone that the perpetrator will face “full force of law”. But will this end the course of events? Can this?

If law could have resolved the crime, the world would not have seen any more murders after that of Abel by Cain. But alas!

Still we must go on searching that elusive goal, peace. But where to search? We must look into ourselves for therein lies everything, the devil and the divine. Such is the teaching of Upanishads, a teaching not altogether alien to The Confessions of Saint Augustine.

At the end of the day, globalisation of knowledge, based on compassion and love, not the globalisation of fear and clashes, promulgated by the use of pseudo-science as did Samuel P Huntington, can save us from this chaotic mess.