Who are the invaders?
The cold-blooded murder of 50 innocent persons in the city of Christchurch in New Zealand, last Friday, while at prayers in two Muslim mosques, has caused international outrage and condemnation.
The murderous assault was committed by a racist “white nationalist” from Australia, who not only streamed it live on the internet, but in a “manifesto” brazenly claimed that it was done with the aim of keeping “white” society free from illegal “invaders” and immigrants, (from non-white societies).
The shocking news came as we in SVG were still savouring our modest efforts in honouring our own National hero, Garifuna Chief Joseph Chatoyer, for his heroic efforts to maintain the sovereignty of our country in the face of foreign invaders and illegal immigrants who were bent on robbing his people of their homeland. The native people of New Zealand and Australia had waged an equally heroic, but similarly vain struggle to keep out such invaders. Ironically, those invaders were, like the racist murderer, white.
Generally, the overwhelming majority of people on Planet Earth reject racism, oppression and, the wilful slaughter of human life, opposing terrorism in any form. Unfortunately, the attention, fuelled by the international media, has been on terrorist acts committed by non-white persons, particularly if they are of the Islamic faith. This is not to excuse those who have carried out wanton acts of murde,r such as those in the highly-publicised 9-11 of 2001 and the recent murders in Nairobi.
But, precisely because attacks like those have been the focus, white nationalist terrorists have been able to slip under the radar and escape surveillance until they carry out their deadly attacks. In addition, the media coverage always mentions the religion of terrorists, such as those quoted above, Muslims, thereby stirring up hatred even in societies like ours for Muslims and Islam, giving the impression that such terrorism is a product of the Islamic religion. Yet, when murderers like the one in New Zealand strike, there is no mention of his religion, whether he is Christian or whatever. Nobody hates Christianity because of what this Australian or his Icelandic hero did, so why the Islamophobia?
There is also another sinister aspect to the reporting on such hate crimes. There seems to be an instinctive reaction to call these white terrorists “madmen’ and “crazies”, not cold-blooded racists bent on preserving white supremacy by violent means. The condemnation is on an individual basis and avoids the root of the problem, white supremacy as manifested in slavery, colonialism and all the modern forms, whether through political, economic, financial or social measures, designed to keep a white elite in control of the world.
To even raise this matter, to defend the victims of racism, one courts the accusations of being racist. The presumption of innocence is the prerogative of the oppressor, not valid for the oppressed. So, it is okay, an historical occurrence, that people from Europe could invade the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, deprive the indigenous peoples of their land and way of life, enslave and uproot entire populations, all in the name of a so-called “Christian civilisation”.
But when, in their desperation to survive and make a living for their families they attempt to migrate to the very countries responsible for their poverty, then that is a different matter. It is dubbed an “invasion” and white nationalists rant and rave about the supposed “threat” to their way of life. The invasion of the Europeans all over the globe is not considered in that way, it was supposedly to “save” the non-white peoples. The modern US incursions into the Middle East and Africa are justified according to this warped logic, and even now the case is being made for another invasion, in order to “save” the people of Venezuela.
The British used convicts from their prisons to open penal colonies in the USA and Australia. Many descendants of those criminals today oppose immigration from non-white peoples, even after the original invaders had seized the lands of the original inhabitants in Australia, the so-called Aborigines, and the Maori people in New Zealand.
It was the same story here with Chatoyer and his people. The might of the British military was deployed to break their heroic resistance, many were exiled from their home and those that remained were dehumanised. Even we, the descendants of slaves, were taught to look down upon the Callinago and Garifuna people, treat them with scorn, apply every negative to so-called “Caribs” and the “Carib territory”. We must face up squarely to these if we truly want Chatoyer to be our National Hero. As long as we disrespect and discriminate against Chatoyer’s people, our claims of “National Hero” will have a hollow ring.
We have to take a stand against historical injustices and the sight of racism rearing its ugly head again and exposing its violent nature, with the backing of the white nationalists in the USA, Europe, Israel and wherever. I fully support the actions of the New Zealand Prime Minister in refusing to give publicity to the cold-blooded murderer and, above all, in calling for a global campaign against racism. This world belongs to all those who live in it.
Renwick Rose is a community activist and social commentator.