White nationalism is a global problem

Rashmee Roshan Lall
3 min readMar 24, 2019
A nation in grief. Floral tributes to those who were gunned down at the two mosques are seen against a wall bordering the Botanical Garden in Christchurch, March 19. (AFP)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the world’s response to the terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques should not be “in terms of boundaries… I would make that a global call.”

She is right. Ethno-nationalist terrorism is as global a problem as jihadism. Militant white nationalism and militant Islamism affect people across the planet — just look at the list of countries to which the 50 Christchurch victims originally belonged. In no particular order, they are Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Fiji, Indonesia. A white New Zealand female convert to Islam was also among the dead.

Over the years, jihadist attacks too have knit the world in sorrow, creating a United Nations of grief. Citizens of at least 15 countries were among the 129 dead in the November 2015 terrorist attacks on Paris and the northern suburb of Saint-Denis. The victims were from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Burkina Faso, among other places.

In an increasingly interconnected world, “so it goes,” to use the straight-talking phrase coined by Kurt Vonnegut and repeated each time a death is recorded in his most celebrated novel, “Slaughterhouse-Five.”

So it goes that US President Donald Trump doesn’t condemn white nationalist terrorism and refuses to see it as a big and worrying global problem.

So it goes that the man charged in the attack on the two New Zealand mosques was an Australian man who expressed a fanatical commitment to preventing the “replacement” of white people by Muslims.

So it goes that the day before the New Zealand attack, Marion Marechal, granddaughter of France’s right-wing leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, was quoted by the Economist praising the “great replacement” theory. It claims white French people will be demographically swamped by Muslim migrants.

So it goes that Marechal, the next aspirational leader of French nationalism, declared: “I don’t want France to become a land of Islam.”

So it goes that a mass murderer and a millennial politician half-a-world away should quote the same non-scientific 2011 theory advanced by former academic Renaud Camus in his book “The Great Replacement.”

Rashmee Roshan Lall

PhD. Journalism by trade & inclination. Writer. My novel 'Pomegranate Peace' is about my year in Afghanistan. I teach journalism at university in London