Over the weekend I reflected that arguably the Christchurch terror attack was the least successful terror attack I could think of.
I don’t mean unsuccessful in terms of killing people. Sadly he was successful there. The loss of life was appalling and we won’t forget the victims.
What I mean is that in terms of his objectives, he has been a miserable failure. In fact he has achieved almost the polar opposite of what he aimed to do.
He said that he decided to attack Muslims in New Zealand because (his words) they are the most despised group of “invaders” and attacking them will receive the greatest level of support.
Well he has achieved the opposite. He has done more to foster goodwill and empathy for Muslims in New Zealand, than many would have though possible. The 50 victims have been the human face of what happened. Almost $10 million has been donated to their families. Tens of thousands of New Zealanders have attended memorial services. The words of mosque leaders preaching peace and tolerance have been heard up and down the country. Muslim prayers have been said in Parliament, on television and radio.
Again this is the greatest backfire I can recall. The overwhelming reaction from New Zealanders has been the total opposite to what he wanted.
His other aim is to help incite global war by sparking revenge attacks against New Zealand. But again the opposite has happened. To the rest of the world, New Zealand has been the victim not the perpetrator. The response led by Jacinda Ardern has had New Zealand praised around the world. The President of Turkey did an op ed in the Washington Post praising her. Her image is being beamed onto the tallest building in the Middle East. The response of New Zealand as a whole, but especially Ardern, has seen New Zealand praised by most Muslim nations.
So once again he has scored an incredible own goal. He has probably done more to frustrate his own aims, than anyone else could have done on purpose.
That doesn’t lessen the tragedy for the 50 dead and their families. It doesn’t lessen the fear that many Muslims will have in having been targeted in this way. It goes without saying that we would all be better off if he had somehow been detected before he could launch his attack.
But the fact his hatred has backfired so massively in terms of his aims, is some comfort I hope.