Instilling fear and insecurity is precisely what terrorists want
I have not been able to sleep for well over 30 hours since I heard about the terrorist attack at a mosque in Christchurch. It has been bugging me, with all the reactions and overreactions and explanations on social media and at work.
I have tried to digest, process, and express into words, and this is simply a cry out for help and solidarity following the deaths of so many -- 50 at the time of this writing, and many more injured, with some of those casualties being Bangladeshis.
Working in sports is perhaps the biggest reason this attack has affected me and hit so close to the heart as a part of the Bangladesh cricket team was minutes away from finding themselves in grave danger as they were about to enter the same mosque that was attacked for Friday Jummah prayers.
But, thankfully, a delay by captain Mahmudullah entering the press conference saved their lives as the attack had already begun when the players were close to the mosque.
It may not have saved them from the mental scarring of being so close to such an incident, and questions were expectedly raised about the level of security the players were being provided.
Comparisons have been drawn between the level of security that the players receive in the sub-continent to what they received in New Zealand.
This is not the most valid point if you ask me. New Zealand is considered as one of the safest and most peaceful places in the world and all other visiting teams get the same level of security that the Bangladeshis got.
But it will all change now. It has to change. And that is exactly what a terrorist would want -- instill a sense of insecurity and fear no matter where you go, for your race, creed, and/or religion -- and from that regard, the terrorist has succeeded.
People have also bandied around the thought that if such an incident happened in a place like Pakistan, it would have no more international cricket for the foreseeable future (as has been the case since the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team in Pakistan) and whether the same should happen to New Zealand as well.
This feels like an overreaction.
The white supremacist attacker was an Australian, and the rate of crime and general security in New Zealand is vastly better than that in Pakistan. Security will also definitely be improved now that this has happened. It won’t get rid of the insecurity and the unease a visiting team would feel in New Zealand, which is the biggest win for the terrorists.
Every day, people are murdered and/or raped, but sports helps me stay distracted and away from the grim realities of our world. But at times like these, I do have to admit how hopeless we can be against the hate that humans possess, and how faith in humanity dwindles with each passing day.
Treating people differently for the colour of their skin and of the clothes they wear can be a very primal feeling and perhaps this will always remain. But at the end of the day, we have to realize that we are all humans and we all have a right to live, and nothing gives us the right to take another person’s life.
The terrorists want to evoke those primal emotions and get people of different religions and ethnicities fighting against one another. If we give in to those primal emotions and try to justify killing with further killing, we will be giving the terrorists their biggest win and that certainly won’t ever be the solution.
In the end, I am quoting some lines from The Great Dictator in hopes to calm myself and whoever may be reading this and feeling agitated over the recent events:
“To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair.
The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed.
The bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress.
The hate of men will pass, and dictators die.
And the power they took from the people will return to the people.
And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.
Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men.
Machine men with machine minds and machine hearts!
You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men!
You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful.
To make this life a wonderful adventure.
Let us use that power!
Let us all unite!”
Shahnoor Rabbani works at the Dhaka Tribune and hosts Matha Noshto Cricket on Radio Shadhin.