explainer

Brenton Tarrant: Before the Christchurch shooting began, a manifesto was published.

Mamamia has chosen not to show the face of the man in custody for the Christchurch terror attack, or to include or link to any distressing material about his acts. Instead, we are dedicated to remembering the names, faces and stories of the victims.

“Just a [sic] ordinary White [sic] man, 28 years old. Born in Australia to a working class, middle income family.”

These are the words allegedly written by a man named Brenton Tarrant, who shared a 37-page manifesto on his Facebook page in the hours before the Christchurch shooting.

Gunshots were first heard at the Masjid Al Noor mosque at approximately 1.40pm, where Muslims were gathering for Friday afternoon prayer. Witnesses say there were hundreds of people inside.

Reports indicate that there were several people seen on the ground outside the building and “blood everywhere”.

The horrific attack was livestreamed for 17 minutes, first on Facebook and then on Twitter, from the perspective of the gunman. Many came across the footage accidentally, and were distressed by what they saw.

Read more: Why a video of a gunman shooting at victims is not to be shared.

“I saw it accidentally, I wasn’t sure at first what I was seeing and then I felt a wave of nausea come over me as I realised what I was seeing was the epitome of evil. I cannot stress enough how important it is not to watch it. It is not normal for us to be exposed to such brutality,” one woman told Mamamia. 

“It was like watching a violent computer game at first – and it took me a moment to register that what I was watching was real,” another woman said. “As soon as it sunk in, the magnitude of what I was seeing, that I was witnessing an act of terror and hate through the eyes of the perpetrator, I felt like I was going to throw up. I shut the screen down and then I warned my colleagues not to do what I did – because I won’t ever be able to unsee that.”

That footage was being livestreamed from a Facebook account belonging to Brenton Tarrant. The same man who allegedly wrote the manifesto.

Brenton Tarrant

Brenton Tarrant says he is Australian, ‘white’ and 28 years old. He has now been charged with murder.

It has been reported by the ABC that Tarrant was a personal trainer from Grafton in northern New South Wales.

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The video which went live on his Facebook page earlier today, shows him entering the Masjid Al Noor mosque and firing indiscriminately.

Blocking the hallway, Tarrant made it impossible for anyone to escape. He is also seen reloading his weapon multiple times.

The man is seen eventually leaving the mosque and firing at passersby.

What does Brenton Tarrant’s manifesto say?

The manifesto published on Brenton Tarrant’s Facebook page begins with a poem about rage.

The poem ends with, “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

“If there’s one thing I want you to remember from these writings,” the introduction reads, “its [sic] that birthrates must change”.

The rambling text talks about deporting all Non-Europeans, and the supremacy of the European people.

A number of Wikipedia pages are cited, but the words themselves are nonsensical and heavily racist, referring to something he calls ‘The White Genocide’.

“Who are you?” Brenton Tarrant tells us who he is

Under the subheading ‘Answering possible questions,’ Tarrant writes, ‘Who are you?’.

He tells us he is white and was born in Australia to Scottish, Irish and English parents. He says he hardly passed classes at school and did not go to university.

“More recently I have been working part time as a kebab removalist,” he writes.

“Why did you carry out the attack?”

Tarrant writes, “To most of all show the invaders that our lands will never be their lands,” before citing ‘revenge’.

“To take revenge for Ebba Akerlund,” he writes, a 12-year-old Swedish girl who was murdered in the Stockholm lorry attack which took place in April, 2017.

The attack was perpetrated by Rakhmat Akilov, an asylum seeker from Uzbekistan.

Later in the manifesto, Tarrant identifies the 12-year-old girl as the catalyst for his own “violent attack.”

Tarrant adds that his motivation was, “To directly reduce immigration rates to European lands by intimidating and physically removing the invaders themselves.”

He goes on to answer dozens more questions about why someone would commit an act of terror.

It ends with: “Europa arises.”

The most recent reports indicate that multiple people have been murdered as a result of the attack, and at least two separate mosques were targeted.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said: “This is and will be one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”

UPDATE: Four people, three men and one woman, have been arrested in association with the mass shootings in Christchurch.

Mamamia has chosen not to link to the manifesto mentioned because of its racist and highly distressing overtones. 

On this topic:

“New Zealand’s darkest day”: Everything we know about the Christchurch shooting.

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