A few right-wing rabble-rousers, however, were undaunted by considerations of taste or timing. Australian senator William Fraser Anning, in particular, saw an opportunity to make a splash, blaming the atrocity on the "the growing fear within our community, both in Australia and New Zealand, of the increasing Muslim presence". He was widely condemned - and rather deftly 'egged' - for his bigotry. But British blabbermouth Katie Hopkins - a woman ever keen to fan the flames of social discord - waded in to defend Anning in a bizarre video rant posted on twitter, in which she expressed more concern for the media's supposed depreciation of 'whites' than for the victims of the attack.
Mainstream politicians and media commentators, meanwhile, took a different tack. Many of them went wild for New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, after the latter showed a degree of sympathy for the victims lacking among more conservative pundits. In The New York Times, for example, Sushil Aaron wrote an article entitled 'Why Jacinda Ardern Matters', hailing the PM as a "progressive antithesis to right-wing strongmen like Trump, Orbán and Modi". And in Britain's Guardian newspaper, Suzanne Moore opined that "Jacinda Ardern is showing the world what real leadership is: sympathy, love and integrity" and even went so far as to claim that Ardern "has given us a vision of a better world". Many ordinary people seem to have been caught up in this Jacinda-mania, too: memes depicting a sorrowful Ardern wearing a hijab circulated in social media, captioned with lofty panegyrics to her compassion and - that word again - leadership. But the height of absurdity was reached in a letter co-signed by British Labour politicians Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott and Emily Thornberry, which praised Ardern as "an inspiration to the international working-class movement".
While it is always good to see a world leader expressing apparent solidarity with minority groups as opposed to attacking them, we should absolutely reject this lionization of Ardern. A former advisor to Tony Blair - a man hardly famed for his contribution to world peace - Ardern is known her policy of reducing immigration into New Zealand. Together with its far-right coalition partners New Zealand First, Ardern's Labour Party has been whipping up anti-Chinese xenophobia, nationalism and militarism and New Zealand forces have certainly played their part in the murderous wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.
Indeed, while much of the press in New Zealand have argued that Christchurch signals an 'end of innocence' for the country, New Zealand was already fully implicated in the horrors of imperialism and its Prime Minister, like any other capitalist politician, represents a system of nationalism, exploitation and alienation that cannot but give rise to regular explosions of war and terrorism across the globe. Atrocities like Christchurch perfectly reflect the necropolitics (Achille Mbembe's term) of the contemporary nation state, its formidable power over the very existence of black and brown civilian bodies. Faced with events like these, then, we would do well to reject both the racist nationalism of deranged xenophobes like Tarrant and the nation state's hypocritical condemnation of it. What neither the liberal nor the right-wing media can acknowledge is that only way of halting racist violence, of banishing the scourges of social antagonism, fear and alienation, is for working-class people to come together - peacefully if possible - to end the system that causes them.