The New Zealand massacre grew from Australian roots

By | March 19, 2019

Pankaj Mishra writes:

The Australian-born gunman who killed 50 people at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, last week cited U.S. President Donald Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose” with his murderous white-supremacist cause.

Trump condemned the massacre and said he was being unfairly blamed for it, setting off a familiar argument over the impact of his fondness for stoking existential fears among many white people around the world. He has indeed spoken, like the mass shooter, of immigrants as “invaders” and Islam as a “problem.”

But a rush to blame Trump for inciting racial hatreds obscures the enduring power of historical Australian white supremacism. For the settler colony, whose unparalleled “whites only” policy restricted non-European immigration from 1901 until the late 1960s, has defined a global culture of besieged whiteness.

Trump himself acknowledged as much in January, 2017, eight days into his presidency, when he confessed his admiration for Australia’s brutal measure of detaining refugees on remote islands. “That is a good idea; we should do that too,” he told Malcolm Turnbull, then Australia’s prime minister, adding, “You are worse than I am.” [Continue reading…]

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