Fifty people were left dead, and 50 more were injured after a gunman livestreamed himself shooting worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this month.
It was a sickening massacre which “can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” according to the country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern.
And it is one that has prompted an immediate push to purge all shared copies of the obscene livestream, as well as censor writings of the accused terrorist – Brenton Tarrant.
The most prominent of which being his manifesto.
It’s a lengthy piece, strewn with cold-hearted sarcasm, that, among other tirades, details a radical “ethno-nationalist” future which Tarrant strives to establish – and is the basis of the ideology which led him to kill.
Unsurprisingly, both the manifesto and its corresponding livestream have been banned from public view in New Zealand. The country’s chief censor, David Shanks, has classified them as “objectionable” speech.
Being an issue of speech, however, Shanks’ decision has also unsurprisingly faced criticism. Free speech advocates are specifically concerned over whether censorship of the manifesto has gone too far, according to AP News.
However, Shanks defended his decision in a press release, saying the work “crosses the line.”
“It promotes, encourages and justifies acts of murder and terrorist violence against identified groups of people,” he said.
Therefore, it is nothing more than “terrorist promotional material,” in his eyes.
And, after having read parts of the manifesto, I am obliged to agree.
As a person of mixed race and ethnicity, I found it personally offensive as I’m part of one those identified groups of people which the manifesto seeks to terrorize.
Being half-white, the manifesto labels me an “invader” of pure white society and a participant in a so-called “white genocide.” Therefore, it makes me an enemy of the white race who must be killed.
It is truly an absurd piece of literature.
That said, I do not believe it poses much of a threat to the general public, other than leaving them with a sense of disgust.
Its ideology is extreme to the point that it is unlikely to be receptive to anyone other than those who already hold Tarrant’s views.
But, with his terrorist attack still fresh in the minds of many, including those sympathetic to his cause, is it plausible that a sympathizer could be motivated enough by his manifesto to commit another act of terror?
It’s a potential that leads me to side with the decision to censor the manifesto, at least for the time being.