TTwo years ago, Brenton Tarrant, an Australian shooter, entered two mosques in New Zealand, killing 51 Muslims and wounding 49. Using Facebook’s live-streaming feature, Tarrant recorded the attack and millions watched the massacre online.
Two years later, this appears to remain the initial formula adopted by the stories of the Christchurch massacre to present the tragedy.
Here’s another way to describe it.
Two years ago, Brenton Tarrant, an Australian white supremacist, opened fire at two mosques in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Tarrant used the internet to digitize his act of white violence, using it to show it off to Muslims around the world: not just are you not welcome, you are also unsafe, and you will literally be eliminated.
When Tarrant entered the first mosque, he met an older Muslim named Haji-Daoud Nabi. Haji-Daoud, the founder of Al Noor Mosque, said “hello brother.” Tarrant was hugged with open arms and his response was to open fire.
In prayer, in their utmost defenselessness, 51 Muslims were killed and 49 Muslims were wounded. Bullet scattering, blood strewn on rugs and prayer mats. Tarrant emptied his ammunition into the bodies of my brothers and sisters. Then when he encountered the armed police, he dropped his weapons and quietly surrendered.
Online, the violently executed Muslims became a show of laughter for a celebratory community. This extended the violence inflicted on the victims of the Christchurch massacre and the survivors to those who identify with them.
This is a reality not to be missed when exploring the Christchurch massacre – it is a visceral act of violence that was He felt, blood was drawn, lives were mercilessly taken, the final moments of life were terrified. Online and offline.
I have spent the last two years studying the online reception, celebration and discussion of the Christchurch massacre online, contextualized in the stories of the Australian and Aotearoa-New Zealand settlers. Steeped in the phrases and conventions of online culture, killing on indigenous lands, Tarrant’s actions were supported by a growing online community that celebrated his crime.
While the Christchurch massacre becomes a reminder to the state of the settlers, now that we are past the second anniversary of the event, it still resonates beyond its newsworthiness to Muslim subjects.
It has become a digitized spell that took place on stolen land.
Beyond its digital broadcast, the Christchurch massacre turned a familiar space into a macabre: the mosque. I have witnessed a series of digital photos, videos, and video games created by supporters of the shooter to celebrate the removal of Muslims from their religious sites.
In a video game, the game’s character, Brenton Tarrant, walks through the Al Noor Mosque, with the game’s goal of killing 51 enemies.
The Australian government is currently consulting on an online security bill where a government official can give a voluntary blocking request or a mandatory blocking notice to an Internet service provider to disable access to AVM or material that promotes , incites or instructs in abhorrent violent behavior for up to three months.
As someone who has archived thousands of pieces of violent digital material, I wonder what this legislation would look like in practice. My hard drive is filled with the weight of these online communities, containing dehumanizing memes, e-flyers to celebrate Tarrant offline on Cronulla Beach, remixes of the live stream of the Christchurch massacre, and calls to action online. to extend Tarrant’s mission. Controlling the internet mammoth and its co-option as a settler tool is challenging, but to what extent can the legacy of the shooter, sometimes called “Saint Tarrant” by his followers, be tackled virtually offline?
Recently, a New Zealand man was charged after allegedly making threats against the same mosques in the run-up to the anniversary of the massacre. Police received a tip from a member of the public regarding “communications regarding the 4chan site.”
The Christchurch massacre, and those seeking to mimic the white violence that it embodies both online and offline, has meant that the Muslim community has been forced to make another choice: peace provided through religiosity in places of worship. , demonstrating come, faith or tranquility away from the threat of white violence by not risking entering these sites.
A group of academics has mosques surveyed in Australia understand the rise in anti-Muslim attacks after the Christchurch massacre. The investigation finds that a number of crimes including arson, physical assault, graffiti and abuse continue to be widespread. In online white supremacist communities, the mosque is a hotly contested space. An internet user writes: “Why do Muslims insist on going to the mosque and praying when they know this infuriates people like Brenton?”
In this way, attending a mosque has become a risk Muslims must weigh, a more politicized act against white supremacy. This risk doesn’t just appear on every anniversary of the Christchurch massacre, and it’s not just a response to the shooting. Yet, online, Tarrant’s celebration and assertion of colonial settler violence and white supremacy intensifies every March 15.
Every day is an anniversary of the Christchurch massacre when you are the incarnate threat that Tarrant sought to eliminate.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism