When a Muslim kills a Westerner, it’s a ‘terror attack’. When a Westerner kills a Muslim, it’s called ‘peace keeping’.

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Woolwich-1905133

The death of a British soldier in Woolwich at the hands of two men has been as shocking as it is fascinating.

Shocking that such random violence can be meted out in such a casual fashion, fascinating that the role of social media played and the manner in which the mainstream media portrayed it.

When the dominant culture does something, the motives are always positive. When something is done against the the dominant culture, the motives are always portrayed as deeply negative.

I love how “there are indications that the perpetrators were Muslims driven by political grievances against the west” gets reduced to ‘there are indications this is a terror attack’.

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When a Muslim kills a Westerner, it’s a ‘terror attack’. When a Westerner kills a Muslim, it’s called ‘peace keeping’.

We saw it with the Boston bombing. On the same day as that there were bombings occurring in Iraq that killed many more people, what the West is learning is what life in the places we occupy feels like.

This isn’t to justify any of the actions of individuals who cause terrible harm to innocent people, but it does help explain where the grievances come from, and if we want to feel safe in the West, then perhaps we should look to avoid fueling those grievances.

We aren’t immune to this type of cultural double standard in NZ. When Cameron Slater, Simon Lusk and Jordan Williams go into the bush with guns to plot, it’s called hunting. When Tame Iti does it, it’s called terrorism.

The construct of language around these events helps shape and define it, which is why the two men responsible for this violence were so fascinating in their decision to allow social media to carry their message. This is casual terrorism, something far more unpredictable and difficult to fight than grand schemes of flying planes into buildings.

If we want to understand and prevent this type of casual terrorism becoming the norm, we could first start at our cultural double standards and their role in generating this rage in the first place.

43 COMMENTS

  1. It was curious watching this story on 3 news last night. First thoughts were since when did a murder (albeit a broad daylight public one) become a terror attack? Is it when you’re black?

    10 o Clock Live seem to think there’s a clear media bias going on:

    Check out Charlie Brooker’s take on the Boston Marathon Bombing approx 7 minutes into this show

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ovGfYhsXVk

    Worth watching the whole show though:-)

    • Stating their colour is unnecessary. They made it clear they did what they did for political reasons.

  2. “Terrorism” is a nebulous term, simply to denote an enemy of the state(s), so that the state can introduce measures such as spying etc that it can use on whoever it pleases.

    “War against terror” is hugely convenient as it allows such measures as these to be introduced when there is no officially declared war going on. It is so vague that it can be applied from now till the end of time.

  3. And barely a mention of the 75 year old muslim grandfather murdered in Birmingham the night before by a white male…why then was this not classed as a terrorist attack, too?

    • did the white male go on record stating this was for his country and this will only stop when you remove your troops?
      The attackers made it clear they were politically motivated

    • That was tragic about that man, but yeah, wasn’t on the front page or anything. But, you know, it wasn’t committed by a Muslim so not a terror attack, and as it was a Muslim guy who was murdered it wasn’t worthy of Western media attention. Please note my sarcasm. The hypocrisy of the Western world bugs me so much.

  4. What i found interesting about watching the footage was language used.
    He states that he is sorry that women witnessed this, but this is what women in his country have to face back home everyday.
    He states that we should remove our troops.
    He also goes on to state that “this will only end when we bring our troops back home”. At that moment he stops himself, he’s tripped up on his own language. He know’s and has just tried to avoid the fact that he has referred to England and it’s troops as his and his home.
    Nevermind that his accent couldn’t be more british if he tried.
    So what does this mean?
    I have know idea but i have a feeling it was a dumb drug fuelled moment.

    • I lived & taught in London for several years. To me the guy’s accent is clearly a mixed London-African one. That could explain his dual allegiance to more than one country.

          • Ummmm… you do know what the main export of Nigeria and Libya is don’t you?

            The French are actually occupying Mali as well as having military presence in a number of their ex colonies in North Africa. For some reason lefties aren’t up in arms about that though to the same degree if it was the UK or US.

          • The French are actually occupying Mali as well as having military presence in a number of their ex colonies in North Africa. For some reason lefties aren’t up in arms about that though to the same degree if it was the UK or US.

            Where is your corroborating evidence to support: for some reason lefties aren’t up in arms about that though to the same degree if it was the UK or US.

            From what I gather from past comments made by you on previous posts, you’re just applying your partisan sentiments to make a claim that has little or no basis. No self-respecting “leftie” would support war, do you honestly think just because France has a government that considers itself Left, Leftists and Progressives the world over have some shallow sports-fan mentality – painting faces and “gotta support the team” attitude?

            With France intervening militarily in North Africa for reasons speculated as protecting the supply of resources and hegemony over their past colonial possessions, demonstrates what an unsavory government it is. I doubt many here with leftists sympathies could care less about France, we’re in the Asia-Pacific sphere more stable than the mess that is Europe.

            Anyway, the situation in Mali stems from the military intervention in Libya. Gadaffi gave support to many Saharan nations and peoples including the Tuareg using Libya’s oil wealth that probably allowed some stability in the region. What is the new order in the region going to offer? Military intervention as demonstrated by France?

      • I am from London and that is a very definitive London accent, more common among the black youth, but still the accent of someone born and raised in London. One of the attackers was a convert to Islam as well. Don’t know about the other.

        • Yes. I’d agree the guy was most likely born and raised in London. But, when I first heard him in the video, I could hear a bit of a London-African accent. I had friends and teenage and adult students in London with similar accents.

          I could hear that African element before I learned that the guy’s parents are Nigerian.

          You under-estimate the way people from such backgrounds can feel marginalised and partly identify with their parents’ home country. There’s quite a long history of black people in the US and UK converting to Islam, and feeling solidarity with people in other countries in response to the racism/marginlaisation they experience.

    • He states that he is sorry that women witnessed this, but this is what women in his country have to face back home everyday.

      This demonstrates a big difference between the devotees of this totalitarian ideology posing as a religion, and people who aren’t severely fucked up – you refer to “women in his country,” but the fuckwit with the knife actually referred to “our women.” That’s something he learned from his mentors.

  5. This is an interesting case and I agree with everything you say Martin. However this isn’t as potentially isolated as may appear. There was a foiled attempt to attack an E.D.L rally http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2317029/English-Defence-League-terror-plot-6-Islamic-extremists-plead-guilty-EDL-rally-bomb-attack-plan.html

    The attack was only foiled because of the effectiveness of a Unite Against Facism counter demonstration which caused the E.D.L to leave earlier than expected.
    There have been a speight of attacks on mosques by the E.D.L for some time.
    http://www.european-freedom-initiative.org/index.php/european-news/eu-news-england/146-muslims-try-to-blame-edl-after-unknown-men-attack-mosque

    I suspect their is either an ultra-nationalist fascist showdown or a ultra-right, ultra-left conflict, a conflict in which both sides will use extordinary violence and opportunism without any thought for human suffering to win.
    There is strong evidence the E.D.L is using this attack as a strong driver for recruitment while inflicting arbitrary violence against any who oppose them, literally a page straight out of ‘Mien Kampf’, Hitler always preferred recruiting from the army and police where violence, unquestioning obedience, and fascist ideas were always more overt.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/23/woolwich-attack-far-right-three-points

    Conversely the wave of violence and abuse that the Muslim community is and is about to receive will radicalise young Muslim as well as non Muslims who wish to oppose the E.D.L. The E.D.L and other extremists cannot be allowed to monopolise is most unfortunate and disturbing event. The unions, workers, progressive parties and socialists, must continue and strengthen the united front against all forms of violent extremism. In order to defend the overwhelming majority of peacefull people who, want these volent thugs and their degenerate ideas banished not just from their streets but history itself! There must be no platform for this derisive racist nonsense which endangers all forms of justice and democracy, we have seen the shadow of fascism in Europe before, In the words of the Spanish freedom fighters ‘No Pasaran!’

    • The trouble is many so called progressive movements made common cause with many Muslim extremists in the anti war coalition formed in the early 2000’s

    • There has been left and right extremist groups facing off and having the odd fight all over most of Europe for many years, if not decades. What is worrying of recent times is, that social tension is increasing, and the economic issues make it all worse.

      Some dissatisfied “whites” and not so “whites” that were born there will see their “salvation” in “nationalism” and right wing solutions, like the EDF does, others see their solutions in going left and be more inclusive.

      There are new other groups, yes also salafists and so, who are muslim, but also not primarily religion orientated other groups, who take a stand for separate causes, and some are of course ethnic minorities standing up to demand their rights heard.

      Europe is now highly explosive, and I may sound extreme in my warning, I do not rule out, that there will be some developments similar to what Hitler started in the 1930s.

      There is plenty of fertile ground on the fringes, and it is showing, and it only needs a worsening of social and economic pressures, and we will have full revolt and unrest in large cities there, beyond of what the police will be able to control. This is not just panicy stuff, I tell you!

      Breivik was and is a “nutter” of sorts, but there are too many silent ones there, who think just like him, waiting for their time.

  6. “When Cameron Slater, Simon Lusk and Jordan Williams go into the bush with guns to plot, it’s called hunting. When Tame Iti does it, it’s called terrorism.”

    well it’s fair to say that when Slater, Lusk and co go hunting, they don’t do it with military style semi automatics and molotov cocktail’s.

  7. You’ve gone crazy in pursuit of “hyper-tolerance” aka defending Muslims because you feel like they’re persecuted. This time, even Muslims think you’ve gone overboard. Let me quote the #1 upvoted post from a Muslim messageboard, when hypertolerants like you tried to say “look how the media ignored this other identical case”:

    “””First off, condolences to the family. That was a horrible act and a cowardly one. I don’t know how spineless you’d have to be to stab someone in the back repeatedly, especially a defenceless old man. From all accounts they killed a kindly and good person.

    But no, there’s a difference between a thuggish backstab, and someone beheading someone in broad daylight with tons of witnesses, jabbering on about Islam and starting a holy war.

    What I will say is that the death of the 75 year old man should have garnered more attention, and let us hope the killer is found and real justice takes place.”””

  8. Yeah terrorists who talked to bystanders without threatening them even tho’ they were still holding weapons. Of course, the police just HAD to shoot because they were so terrified of these terrorists who had terrorised the streets…..give me a break! Was bad enough with the still ongoing and ongoing & neverending Boston terrorist incident – I don’t think we will ever know the truth about that. I suppose the authorities have to justify their stance every now and then if just to reinforce how, we are told, nasty Muslims are as opposed to the purity of Christians!

  9. Anyone care to explain why Western military involvement in the Middle East and Afghanistan should rifle up a Muslim convert from Nigeria? The only way I see you can make the link is if you agree with the Islamists who argue that the lands the West in engaged in are ‘Muslim lands’. As soon as you buy into that you’ve left the idea if a secular nation state.

    • You think “Muslim lands” are in any way shape or form “secular”? Most of them are run under Islamic Law by glorified dictators ffs. So sure I can see how a Muslim convert from Nigeria might be highly pissed at Western occupation/invasion of Muslim countries.

      • How is the fact any nation is run under Sharia law any way the fault of the West? That makes no sense. Many Islamic regimes came to power despite Western opposition to them not because of support. Even the Sauds took power fighting against a Western backed regime.

      • You miss the point I was making. There are no Muslim lands just as there are no Christian lands. There are just nations which have people of different religions and other beliefs. It is the fact some Muslims believe in Muslim lands which causes the problems like the attack in London.

        • There are no Muslim lands just as there are no Christian lands. There are just nations which have people of different religions and other beliefs. It is the fact some Muslims believe in Muslim lands which causes the problems like the attack in London.

          Your naivete astounds me.

          • It is not naivete Frank. It is people who think a land or nation is tied up with a particular religion which are both naive and dangerous.

          • It is people who think a land or nation is tied up with a particular religion which are both naive and dangerous.

            Having lived in what the Muslim residents unhesitatingly described as a Muslim country, I have to say “Fuck yes” to that. Naive as fuck and most definitely dangerous – particularly for anyone raised Muslim who decides to say no thanks.

  10. This incident is a shocking one to me. I think the media, and it must have been the media first, that will be the mainstream one, or some opportunistic free lancer, started calling this a “terror attack”.

    What seems to justify it is the Nigerian, born Brit though, going on in front of the camera about wanting to start a fight or even a war. That does not help, does it, apart from his bloodied hands and the meat cleaver in one of them.

    I actually feel a bit angried both by the ones that take up the “terror attack” line, same as the ones that seem to want to turn this into an issue to get back at the right.

    This is highly dangerous territory, and I advise utter caution. To me this is a racial attack, more than anything else, where religion seems to have been used as a “reason”. But that is a poor reason, as there are not many Muslims in the UK going out with knives, meatcleavers or guns, to kill ones that are non Muslims.

    Clearly, most that have been to large European cities, like London is one of, will know, that while most are peaceful, get on or at least try to, no matter what background, there is racism, and there is also a level of extremism in some quarters.

    This to me was an attack by underclass, black, migrant community members that never seem to have received a fair deal, to get back at someone they hated for the role he played, being a soldier, who served in Afghanistan and the likes. He did NOT serve in Nigeria, the land the killers’ parents appear to have come from. Also the one in the camera focus was son of a Christian family, who joined Islam against his parents’ wish.

    This is simply something where things got badly out of hand, be this for racism, for reverse racism, for social deprevation and whatever, where religions was the convenient excuse to do what these two did. To portray it as a terror attack is mischievous and manipulative by the UK government and media, as this is done so, to justify a hardening on internal security and other measures, no doubt. That is where the right kicks in with all hatred and with lies. They use this incident to serve their purposes, putting all blame on the perpetrators, while the soldier that was killed is portrayed as an “honourable hero”, who served as a “machine gunner”, I suppose under “galantry” like manner, asking and warning each person he shot, before he did so, whether they were out to kill him or others.

    Sadly the public are too dumb to get this, that is most, and they fall for this shit. When in a war, behind a high pwered machine gun, there is NO time to think much, you shoot and kill, most likely some or many innocents also. That is what the media do not tell us, same as not about the “Kiwi heroes” that went to Bamian and so.

    Shame on all these lies perpertrated by highly manipulative and biased mainstream media, once again.

    • I agree. I just think if it was a terror attack they would have killed more than one person. They would have bombed the area. To calmly talk to people afterwards, and to get people to film them, I would not call them terrorists. The media is so quick to jump to conclusions. Palestinian Muslims die at the hands of Israel, have their land stolen, their homes destroyed, yet this is not called terrorism. Probably because the Americans give Israel money. And all the people that die in the middle east at the hands of our governments. Not terrorism? And Bradley Manning, the poor, young American soldier locked up for reporting to the authorities, that his fellow soldiers had murdered innocent civilians. And he is the one in jail? Seriously, this world is fucked. It makes me so angry.

      • KIA – Yes, this talk about “terror attack” is absurd and convenient at the same time. Breivik in Oslo committed a true “terror attack”, as he hit a larger area and a core area, the city of Oslo, and he killed many afterwards, shooting them on a small holiday island.

        This is something quite different.

        If any person wants to commit a real terror attack in London, I am sure, they do not run around with a knife or meat cleaver in a street in London and stab and slash one person they come across. It may of course be “terror” that results from such horrible action, but that is not really a “terrorist attack”.

        Terrorists know how to hit, and they will hit larger targets, or if they do not want to kill or harm people, they could lay down networks of transport or power supply by bombing some key localities or so.

        Hence, yes, we are once again taken for a bad ride, by radical, opportunisitic, useless media, which again serve the interests of certain politicians and governments, who want us to be afraid day and night, so they can appear in “shining armour” and stand in front of cameras, assuring us, we need them so much, as they will look after our security.

        Gosh, what was the name of wanker up top here again? Weapons of mass destruction, GCSB, SiS, Police, and what else was there? Ah, better go and get some sleep now, hopefully without a nightmare.

  11. Religion is the ultimate cause of this and many many other acts of violence towards people. To many people with to many flawed, false and ignorant views with desperate almost pathetic attempts at destabilizing life on a global via local scale to prove them, caused in large by horrific attempts to gain control and power in 3rd world counties. The war of terror.. i mean “war on terror” hasn’t ended since 9/11 and has paved the way to relentless prying government eyes, unjustified control and will one day see this world policed on a global scale by a psychotic government at the rate things are moving. You wanna fix this? remove 90% of the human species from this planet. Otherwise things are already set in place to get worse and these kinds of things will become a normal way of life for many generations to come. Not trying to be bleak tho I realize it is, just making a point. No one likes to think we don’t have a choice to fix things, but these acts only exacerbate what they are “trying to fight” by murdering people. Ill sum it up for you.. fuck your.. and every religion.. take your lies and force feed them to someone else.

  12. Drongos drunk on fundamentalist religious bullshit are capable of anything.

    It does not matter which religion is involved. Ask the Irish. Ask the Palestinians. Ask the Jews. Ask the Bosnians. Ask the Serbs. Ask the Muslims in what was once Yugoslavia. Ask any of the ethnic/religious groupings in Russia. Ask the Tibetans. Ask the Chinese minorities.

    Bradbury is very selective in his targets.

    I would be very interested in seeing who he does not see as being “oppressed”. Russia and China and North Korea never behave badly?

    Apparently being a pale skinned English speaking person of non Muslim persuasion is all that is required to be brutally murdered and all is OK in the Bradbury universe.

    Dark skinned Muslims can do whatever they like. Yeah right!

    Time you grew up Bomber.

    You use a calculated assassination to promote your anti authoritarian views (I share most those views).

    You are crap. Very few of the facts are available and yet you sound off as if you know everything.

    You have just wrecked this blog.

    • The problems in Ireland were more to do with Nationalism and the impacts of colonialism not fundamentalism from a religious perspective. The IRA had more in common with your political thought than with the Catholic faith.

  13. Has anyone considered that this might just be a couple of crazies who happen to identify with Islam? Just because they might think they speak for all Muslims, it certainly doesn’t mean that they do. I’m sure the vast vast majority of Muslims would condemn a random street attack, just like anyone else would.

    • The trouble is Islam, (like many Religions admittedly but only stronger than most in Islam), has this concept of the Brotherhood of the faithful or Ummah. That essentially means a perceived attack on a group of people who happen to be Muslim can be perceived to be an attack on Islam and all Muslims. It is a reason Islam is one of the worst Religions from a tolerance and peaceful point of view in my opinion.

      • Gosman – ah. At least a sensible debating position from you. Not saying I agree with you, but at least you’re making a point.

        Well done. Keep it up.

        Back on topic,

        That essentially means a perceived attack on a group of people who happen to be Muslim can be perceived to be an attack on Islam and all Muslims.

        The same could easily be said about Israel and the United States. Both nations are as militant in the “concept of the Brotherhood”.

        It is a reason Islam is one of the worst Religions from a tolerance and peaceful point of view in my opinion.

        Really? I think when you take “Christianity” into consideration and the history of religious colonisation of other cultures, I think you’ll find it just as intolerant as Islam.

        You’re living in a Christian colonised nation right now. Consider the holidays we have; Easter and Christmas. They’re certainly not a product of the indigenous race.

        Judiaism, on the other hand, hasn’t colonised a single nation on Earth except for the area known as Israel, the West Bank, and bits of Gaza.

        I would suggest that the reason that “Islam” is so much in the news right now is that Western forces have invaded two nations which are predominantly muslim; supports Israeli aggression against Palestinians; supported corporate colonisation of oil-rich nations; and provided/s military support for pro-Western dictatorships such as the former Mubarak and Shah of Iran regimes.

        With such a history (and I’ve only superficially touched on it) can you really blame the entire region for having a dislike of the West?

        Imagine if the former Turkish Empire had not collapsed; maintained it’s imperial reach; developed atomic weapons this century; set up bases around the world; invaded countries in Europe and set up puppet regimes…

        How do you think we’d view such an aggressive, expansionist super-power here in the West? We’d be shit-scared of them, I don’t doubt.

        New Zealanders and others in the West haven’t a clue.

        It’s only when you’ve lived in a nation where foreign troops from a near-by super-power are patrolling the streets of your city do you begin to comprehend what imperialism and occupation looks and feels like.

        Take everything I’ve just written; add it to angry, frustrated young men; and you have inevitable consequences.

    • Quite possible, Awbraae…

      After all, there are so-called “Christian” crazies who bomb abortion clinics and shoot medical staff who assist in abortions. There are also “Jewish” crazies who do nasty things to Palestinians…

      Religion is ready-made for nutters who need justification for their insane world views.

      Personally, I think neo-cons happen to be the worst. They have weapons of mass destruction to back up their craziness.

  14. This murder is just another sign of ignorant people worshiping the god of hope.
    Muslims, Christians,Easter Island statue worshipers, Western Bankers and stock market players, voters of all parties, are all ignorant as to how utterly fucked this species is.
    As if any actions ‘we’ care to take will stop what is in motion or can do anything to remedy the situation.
    We are heading for a global blood bath as we fight over the scraps of this dying age, things like food and water …… we are going to go out in an orgy of violence and cannibalism.
    Thank god for the green party and Kiwi Saver.
    Happy happy joy joy

  15. This was terrorism. I state this based on the political goal of the killing, the targeting, etc etc. This was clear terrorism. The accidental killing of civilians in warfare is not terrorism based mostly on the target of the attack. Legally speaking, if you target a legitimate military target, and civilians are hit by accident, that is not terrorism. Even if the target is a mistaken one. There is a lot of propaganda out there about military law and this topic. Most of it is crap. Military law is very loose in a lot of ways. In theory you could carpet bomb a hospital to kill one sniper because the hospital loses protected status once used for military purposes. extreme example, but this law is why it was legal for the Israelis to shoot back at the Hamas soldiers firing from schools in Gaza.

  16. Remind me the last time a westerner randomly attacked and beheaded an innocent person in the street and this was called “peace keeping”.

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