Last Friday, while with a few friends in a coffee shop I received a video in one of my chat groups showing the barrel of a gun with shots being fired at people.
I initially dismissed it because it looked like one of those combat type video games.
Then my friends also started receiving the same videos.
After a while, the news on social media broke about the mindless tragedy of innocent people being killed in a New Zealand mosque.
The so-called video game was, in fact, a real video of a white supremacist with a body camera.
He was live streaming a heinous crime against humanity during their prayer.
So many innocents killed in the name of racial supremacy.
This was happening in New Zealand a country far away from all the trouble spots in the world.
You could say it is the one place in the world a person would want to settle down with their family to keep their family safe.
It seems like there is just no place left in this world that is safe from hate crimes.
Such hate crimes, activities and speeches which promote this type of evil extremist behaviour must not and cannot be justified in any form or context.
If we look back into history, we can find numerous examples of hate crimes being perpetuated since time immemorial.
These hate crimes have been perpetrated by tribe upon tribe, dialect upon dialect, race upon race, religion upon religion, sect upon sect, colour upon colour, ideology upon ideology and of course nation upon nation all, in the name of ‘ketuanan’ (supremacy).
If you dig deep enough, it is most likely that the instigating factor was politics and politicians who needed to rally people to their cause at any price.
Seems like men can look for just about anything or any excuse to start a war for the sake of popularity and power.
This, of course, leads to “an eye for an eye” spiral of violence and as Mohandas Gandhi said “… only makes the whole world blind”.
A modern day example of how a nation can be destroyed due to ethnic tension is Yugoslavia.
It was once a relatively peaceful nation and had a fast-growing economy between the 1950s and the early 1980s.
Yugoslavia, as a nation eventually disintegrated with an estimated 140,000 people dead, mostly civilians.
If we go back only 79 years ago, we had Adolf Hitler who started World War 2 in the name of supremacy, leading to an estimate of total deaths ranging from 70 million to 85 million people.
Lessons must be learned and we cannot pay lip service to the idea of peace and unity.
Otherwise, eventually, things can and do fall apart.
Our leaders must ensure all measures taken must be genuine and inclusive.
The desire to hang on and cling to power can and do make politicians adopt extreme measures.
We need more peacemakers in this world.
It is important that we as individuals must always speak up for peace.
The following words attributed to Martin Niemöller, a German pastor are appropriate.
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”
This statement describes the dangers of political apathy if we do not speak up against hate.
However, fortunately for mankind all is not doom and gloom.
In the aftermath of this most recent atrocity in New Zealand, many people and leaders have come together and shown solidarity with the families of the victims and Muslim brothers and sisters all over the world.
Our hearts have gone out to all the innocent victims and their families.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has shown true leadership in managing the aftermath.
She has reached out to families of the victims and the Muslim community and grieved with them.
The concept of ‘ketuanan’, as history has shown, can only lead to death and destruction.
We must take all opportunities available to us to promote peace in our society.
We must ultimately remember that there is only one race and one people on this earth … us humans.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.