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Humanise the victims, not the terrorist

43 544 419

I still don't know the name of the terrorist. Nor do I care to know it.

Following the carnage at two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand on Friday, that debilitating grip of anger mixed with fear, anxiety coupled with hate, crept in. I rushed, minutes after learning about the massacre, to uncover the motive, glean through the manifesto, and grapple with the vile white supremacy that drove the terrorist.

Then I stopped. I realised, after sifting through the bleak headlines and darker social media posts, that his broader objective was reeling us in. Seducing us into examining his very word, affixing our eyes to his image and video of the massacre, and most lastingly, memorising his name.

This was the bigger mission that followed the massacre. He wanted us spellbound. Lured into humanising every dimension of his being, and every vile sliver of his act, in place of the victims. Their lives, their stories, and most notably, their names.

All 49 of them.

Again, I stopped, turned my attention from the terrorist and fully onto the victims.

While the media was fully wed to telling the terrorist's story, highlighting his commitment to inciting "civil war" in America and showcasing his admiration of a motley crew........

© Al Jazeera