Most importantly, he was a father of a 2-year-old girl.
His loss is tragic and I had to write about it. I shared this elsewhere and I was referred to this amazing place and asked to share it here as well, so I did.
Thank you to anyone who reads his story.
I hope those that are suffering most from his absence (and the absence of all of the other Christchurch victims) can some day reach a point of healing.
His company LWA Solutions, that was born out of LazyWorm Apps, did some work for the company I work for. Atta in particular was a driving force behind some of their really cool innovations - in VR. He was one of the first people I knew of who was using a tablet as a mock UI sketchbook, and producing some really cool work despite the awful capacitive touch pens of the time.
It's so difficult to reconcile his murder. He was such a genuine guy with so much ahead of him, and I'm so sorry for his family.
Every person is valuable. We shouldn't just lament the loss of people with notable accomplishments. We should mourn every single person, and do what we can to prevent this from happening again.
These kinds of pieces help us reify the incredible gut-wrenching gravity of human loss.
That's a truism, no one would deny that.
But stories make a larger impact and are most valuable when you hear these tragic events. Otherwise all you're left with is number of death counts, which brings far less consideration for distant people, sadly.
I don't know. You could make a case that people in the community knew him, so it makes sense to remember him. Maybe its 'good' that he had any positive achievements worthy of note at all. Most deaths don't warrant even a footnote.
Let's be realistic - there being a "tech guy" is the only reason this story is on topic. Hacker News is not supposed to be a place to discuss mainstream events, however tragic they may be, or the deaths of people not relevant to the tech community.
> It's insane how many really, really, good people we lose to tragedies like this
A story about the tech guy is a reason to be on HN. But statements like the above just serve to trivialize the deaths of those not deemed "really good people".
Many deny that all the time in practice. Even openly.
But when you say every person is valuable - can you define valuable.
What about people that are more like psychopaths, just take, abuse and exploit... what is their value?
For example, I don't really see myself as particularly valuable to this planet - I don't contribute anything meaningful, nothing that advances us forward in a positive way.
All I do is try to reduce the damage I do on this planet (climate change etc).
So how do you define valuable?
One might argue that people who choose a destructive life path diminishes their inherent reflection of (a good) God, and should a lesser value, for which I can sympathize with. However, the concept of a God that makes good on covenants with unfaithful people forms this opinion of mine: each person in this world, despite doing wrong, was initially created equally by being in God's image. So long as God continues to treat mankind with equal value, so must I (and others who believe this God-based attribution of equal human value).
Hope that helps, at least from one angle of it.
So the way I understood it is that every person has the potential to be like God (even if they are the Christchurch killer, Hitler and the likes), so that's why they are valuable.
I get that concept, I just don't see how we can be practical about it. For example, I think most people would probably say that mass murderers, child rapists etc don't bring any value to our society or habitat and that those people are 'beyond repair'.
I just had a problem with the statement "Every person is valuable" - first what is Eridiu's definition of valuable and also it needs to be a bit more specific or not be so absolute.
I agree that being practical is hard. It makes me think that the "leap of faith" isn't the belief in God's greatness and that we each have a bit of it, but actually treating others as valuable as God would consider them. Some rare individuals practice a radical forgiveness which attests to the authenticity of their faith or principles, but certainly these stand out because they are so incredibly rare.
What you mentioned, about the thinking that there are those beyond repair, who have caused so much destruction that they seem to have lost all of the image of God that they were created with–I can sympathize with that, too. If someone takes the image of God and commits evil (especially when it's irreversible like death or trauma), that is certainly negative value. That would deserve eternal punishment, while which is something that is also hard to understand practically, seems helpful here.
An interesting way to put it would be that God exists as the ideal, and while people aspire to any number of ideals, they resort to living "practically" since they are not "actually" God, but just in his image.
Sorry if I'm beating a dead horse. I appreciate defining or at least contextualizing and framing things, too. Talking with you has helped me articulate my own beliefs better as well. Thanks.
My point was that it's all cherry picking, because you can't mourn everybody, and we don't even try. Draw a line far enough, and beyond that death and suffering is all very abstract, even if we do know about it. And mostly we do not - although we know where to go if we wanted to find out, we don't want to find out; events of comparable magnitude and depravity happen in some areas of the world with far more regularity.
So it feels a tad hypocritical to focus on this particular way to cherry pick as disrespectful.
And some less accomplished, if those matter at all...
I always felt it outed its creators as lacking theory of mind; why does a large group of people have different shared beliefs than me? They must lack the ability to think independently like everyone else in my cliquey subculture!
Group cognition (from a quick skim of a Wikipedia article about it) doesn't seem to justify lack of individual critical thinking though. It seems to be more like a term to describe a process, like "memes" and "idea viruses". It doesn't substitute for individual critical thinking.
Obsession with other people’s life stories leads to hero worship and constant comparison with them, making you unhappy because you couldn’t check off as many checkboxes as them. This is another form of unhealthy thinking, the inverse of narcissism.
You can live a life that concern only yourselves. Yes! Life is impermanent, obsessive with oneself and pain is everywhere. As a branch of Buddhism would said.
You can also note if that is so all religion and all givernment can disappear as love thy Neigbour, be empathy and still with the world instead of going to nirvana himself, many governments are bad but anarchy may not be good either.
No one sure what is the best approach for one life. But what you said seems odd.
May those died live in peace now. Let the living continue. We will continue do evil and good thing. Choose. Every seconds of it. That is life. RIP ultimately we all know.
As with any idea, the danger is in misapplication. For example, if someone simply stops trying to change others' minds when it's really still possible but the NPC meme causes them to ignore that possibility, then it doesn't help improve the world. Or if a misguided individual who doesn't distinguish meme from reality uses it to dehumanize people in their mind, then that's a problem.
He was a kind and warm influence in a scene which harbored its fair share of immaturity and vitriol. He'll be sorely missed.
Thank you so much for writing the story.
It’s saddening how many people are robbed of the kind of friendship they could have with people who are different yet the same in so many ways, because of this learned hatred.
I do wish you had mentioned that he is originally Palestinian.
I wonder if it also matters more in profiles like this. It's a beautiful portrait that highlights one dimension of the tragedy of the crime.
If we had more profiles like it that came well before eulogies, I wonder how far it might go to beating back the tendency to flatten conceptions of Muslims (or any ethnic/racial identity) to the kind of demonized status that's required in order to plan a terrorist attack like Christchurch.
But this isn't really a contest. Everyone's attention is finite, but my guess is the overlap is pretty big between people who are stung by the horror and senselessness of the Christchurch attack and people who are concerned about the moral problems and fallout of military action.
It's violence with political aims. Violence with political aims is ultimately a policing matter. You use better policing to snuff it out. Military interfering in the affairs of other nations for political objectives is inexcusable and should be deplored just as this is.
No targets are legitimate for you, when you're the invader. You're the only legitimate target.
US lost both wars, beaten by poor guys with AKs, IEDs and suicide bombers. Iraq is more complicated because its semi-functional but Afghanistan is lost cause even according to US military.
In Afghanistan, the US initially supported the Taliban against the Soviets. Just like in Vietnam. And then the CIA trained Osama and al-Qaeda, with financial support from the Saudis. But once the Soviets were gone, the downsides of the Taliban and al-Qaeda became evident. Oppression of women. International operations. So the US invaded.
In Iraq, the US initially supported Saddam, because he was tough on Communists, and not overtly Islamic. Like those nice Turks. Except that he was rather fascist, but hey. And then they supported him against Iran, which had thrown off US domination (i.e., the Shah) and frightened allies (Israelis and Saudis). But then he pissed off the Saudis, and started talking too much about international operations. So the US kicked them out of Kuwait, starved them and sporadically bombed them for a few years, and finally invaded.
What a mess.
The other is an absolutely looser who spent time figuring out how to kill the most civilians, the most effectively while self-grandising online.
I have my reservation about the US military and its proper use, but there is no world where the two are comparable.
Born in Kuwait a few years before the Invasion to a Palestinian family. They probably escaped to NZ either due to the war or due to Kuwait's wrath against Palestinians after the war . And met with this end in his new homeland.
one might add that, inaction (failure to condemn an act) can be as powerful a signal as action (calling for a specific act). This lack of condemnation has the signature of the current political elite all over (Trump's failure to condemn Christopher Paul Hasson, or saying "there is blame on both sides" in Charlottesville are very real examples).
There is no such thing.
Please stop linking to articles promoting this discredited concept. Just because someone has an interesting idea doesn't make it true!
But by those monikers, it's not only a recognized process, it's a legal issue with ramifications.
Osama bin Laden never killed anyone. His words were enough to justify his execution by the military of a foreign nation because he engaged in incitement.
Although, I understand your point. However, and I would like to say that I do not know the details of this, OBL was originally charged with the killing of Silvan Becker, a German intelligence agent and his wife Vera in Libya. That was against him specifically. Now, I am not sure if he actually pulled the trigger or was involved in some other way.
Remember when one of his fans mailed pipe bombs to a bunch of journalists?
No matter what you believe, or what he believed, evil is only ever done by human hands and in this case those hands were moved by a world view and belief system that were outlined in a (absurd) 78+ page "manifesto." We can not afford to ignore this fact. Nor can we afford to ignore that as with any line of thinking about the world there are many other people who have adjacent and related beliefs. Yes, it might be the case that what makes people who think that way into killers is "nihilistic sociopath[y]" but the unfeeling among them are raised and encouraged by a whole community. That's the real reason why I think it's important to look past the incident in isolation and remember:
This man has a community.
We can't undo what happened but we can each individually make an effort to understand why people end up in that community, how to identify them, and hopefully how to keep our sons from ending up there in order to keep another such atrocity from happening again. Part of that is, as you say, by "wholesale-reject that outrageous, inhumane way of thinking". It just seems clear to me that it must be actively rejected. We must actively deplatform and remove people who parrot what he did from our community. To that end we must understand why it is and has been for hundreds of years so alluring to people that it leads a subset of them to some of the worst violence humanity perpetrates.
The oppressed can never afford to ignore the beliefs and, yes, ideologies of their oppressors.
Ideologies tend to lead to fanaticism, embracing a simplified and rigid view of social reality.
I'm particularly wary of all the *-isms.
My point was more to be cautious of those who are very strict from the theoretical side of the said ideologies in their purest form.
And in any case, you can't really do anything interesting alone so it's better, in my opinion, to believe in others.
It's important that victims of white supremacist terrorism stand together, and that decent people reject it.
Either they are "unsuccessful" and "leeching of social benefits" or they are "successful" and "are stealing their jobs". It is a nationalist catch-22 were there are no successful immigrants, just insecure nationalists that feel disposable and in the process of "being replaced".
On the other hand if you are using "culture" as a proxy for "they don't behave like us the colonizers of New Zealand" it is even worse. < https://www.wikiwand.com/en/M%C4%81ori_people >
culture is constantly produced and changed, there isn't a "local culture"
Even more, the attack on first nations have been mostly on economic aspects, mainly the land trough colonization. (See Mariategui Seven Essays on the Peruvian Reality, specifically the third essay https://www.marxists.org/archive/mariateg/works/7-interpreti..., original in spanish: http://resistir.info/livros/mariategui_7_ensayos.pdf )
The Maori culture is maintained by Maori people engaging in culture not merely by a museum exposing "the Maori cultre" and a society disenfranchizing Maori.
Obviously some cultures are better than others (in my and many other people’s value system) - do you prefer to live in NZ or Saudi Arabia?
“Ah, but that was then, minorities have it better now.” So the culture (by your definition) has changed then? Perhaps thanks to immigration and globalization?
Edit: your account has recently been using HN primarily for political and ideological battle. That's a wrong turn on this site. Please correct it. This is in the guidelines as well.
I get nothing but praise for this, even from the people who grouch about "refusing to assimilate", even from people grouching about "refusing to assimilate" while eating hummus on tortilla chips.
In my experience, it's because I'm white. Like Trump's "good immigrants" from Norway.
The problem is when cultures disagree on the fundamental principles that run society. For example, Western civilisation (according to current mainstream views, which are not necessarily correct or sustainable) clashes mainly on freedom of speech (with Islam), rule of law (with China and other totalitarian cultures), rights of women & minorities (with Islam and Orthodox Judaism), sex (with Islam & Christianity), marriage (with Christianity & Islam) etc. I don't really see a solution except for one side to give up their principles, and I sincerely hope it's not the Western Civ (except when it comes to marriage, I'm very live and let live so I see nothing wrong with polygamy)!
I don't think this has anything to do with white supremacy or nationalism - but that those ideologies are easy to use as justification.
So in the end, the only way to solve this problem is to prevent dis-enfranchisement of the poor and vulnerable. UBI is my go to solution.
The abhorrent coward assailant wasn't even lumpen to begin with.
they'd have enough to persue some alternate goal, rather than be radicalized by those who seeks to prey on the disenfranchised.
I m not talking about this individual, but in general. If you look at people who suicide bomb, they are often poor, often have nothing to lose, and often is promised something in return (whether it's heaven in the after life, or benefits for their family?).
By taking away these sorts of people (and UBI is one way), it makes it harder to recruit for terrorism or other fundamentalist ideology.
> Atta Elayyan was just one of 50. Remember him, but don’t forget to remember the other lives that were lost that day, each with their own story, their own path, and their own mark on this world.
I can understand the one that was just presented to me.
It will probably be overwhelming by the time you hit ten people (and probably not a useful exercise to continue past that), but does it help to conceptualize it.
alQuaeda/ISIS = External threats where you can put the blame on a specific area of the world, then promote war politics. I'd be curious to hear your opinion on how effective post 9/11 politics were in that manner. It's not like evil was eradicated, plus the collateral damage.
Is there a factory that make white supremacists where we should drop bombs?
Beware of the slippery road to define that "factory", also.
We will have to keep an eye on this very dangerous part of our population in the future, we'll start by denying them access to the worst sorts of weapons so they can't be so dangerous in the future.
Or perhaps you mean in a broader sense remove them access to all kind of platforms to not spread hateful messages?
Those are dangerous discriminatory power to give, as today it might target your opponents and tomorrow yourself.
The reason I bring this up is not because I care about white supremacists per se, but because it's a tool to start applying "hate speaches" politics, where hate is itself very subjective and too often interpreted as "things I don't like to hear".
So very often the only thing to actually do is punish those responsible for bad things, sadly after the bad thing has already occurred.
No-fly lists, large-scale warrantless wiretapping, and waterboarding of suspects?
Islam is a reactionary ideology and encapsulates intolerant and violent attitudes towards certain beliefs, genders and sexual orientations.
opposing political or social progress or reform.
I really hate this word, it makes no logical sense, but that’s language for you :D
Their sole act of resistance against those dictatorships just contradicts your stance that Islam is a reactionary ideology. It's a religion, and as such, encompasses too broad a spectrum of beliefs and interpretations for you to simply put that under the same umbrella and call the entirety "reactionary".
I suggest you follow İyad el-Baghdadi (the Emirati, now Norwegian citizen, not ISIS chief evidently) because you'll learn a lot about Islam that you probably didn't know.
Although looking through his tweets, this doesn't look very promising:
He's making up a strawman "reject Sharia" argument, whereas most criticism is clearly meant (and usually also worded) as "reject Sharia law". Pretty dishonest (although that's how politics works, if it's not divisive propaganda nobody listens).
Anyway Islam seems like reactionary if you look at it from today standards and in need of a reform (which I believe it's happening right now). But it really had some progressive ideas for the times even compared to their neighbour medieval Europe.
The guy appears to have been heavily into online games. If this fact humanises him to one young gamer whose head is in danger of being turned by the alt-right then I think it does the memory of the other 49 proud.
The other aspect I wanted to touch which I know is hard and I don't know if I can do it successfully is that every life has dreams and meaning. This person seemed great in many ways accomplished, helpful and humble. But while others might not be accomplished or life that we can't easily relate to their friends and family the loss is equally shocking and horrible. As many people said and which is true for me too, that it's hard to internalize so many lost lives, such numbers. But we can try even if we are not fully successful.
To me, one thing that's not being discussed much is that Europeans only settled in New Zealand around 200 years ago, pretty short in the history of humanity. You could ask the Maori people how they feel about Europeans showing up and taking their land and destroying their culture, yet they are not gunning us down in cold blood.
NZ is somewhat unusual in that the colonizers neither won overwhelmingly (as in Australia and North America), nor eventually receeded (most of Africa), but struck a peace treaty and then stuck to it, building a mostly-peaceful society on that basis.
On the other side, I don’t want to legitimize even a semblance of rationality exhibited by this guy. Even if Europeans had been in NZ for a thousand years, this is not the right response.
I've never quite understood why Islamophobia is so prevalent in Australia. Even more than in the US, it seems.
So I found this. It seems a great summary.
0) Briskman (2015) The Creeping Blight of Islamophobia in Australia. IJCJ&SD 4(3): 112‐121. https://www.crimejusticejournal.com/article/download/772/527
I understand it can feel frustrating, as if people have forgotten, but it's important to remember that there are plenty of people who do give a shit. Paying attention to one issue doesn't erase people's concern for another issue. Just don't stop caring.
Also, I used to use MetroTube intensely when I have a Lumia phone back in 2013 or so. Thank you, Mr. Elayyan!
The amount of comments I've received since, with people telling me how much of an impact his story had on them, it's been more touching, more humbling and more rewarding than anything I ever could have expected.
I really liked how he was a passionate skillful gamer and developer and family guy and sporting guy. Yes, it's possible to fit all those in! I can only hope to cover half the bases he did.
The growing white supremacist threat is not being treated anywhere near as seriously with a lot of free speech concerns that only seem to apply to white identity terrorism.
The white supremacists got this right, but starting with mellower content, memes, and not throwing one in directly in the deep end. Look at this guy, he avoided swastikas because he knows they are a huge turn-off to non-radicalized people.
As I understand it, ISIS has a logistical presence and can provide weapons and training as well as ideology. Is something similar happening with attackers like this, too?
So I think OPs point is still very much valid. When we see isis terrorism or extremism we dismantle their organisations, put the full weight of our intelligence agencies behind it, and hound them to the other end of the world, as we should. But when we encounter extremism and terrorism in our very own communities, we let them joke about it on 4chan and reddit. There is something very wrong about that indifference.
And we didn't go after people that share their religion with ISIS (i.e. Salafi extremists), but are not otherwise involved with it, or at least we can't prove that they are.
I'd have to double check, but I'm not sure that all isis terrorist attacks were done by people who had physically met another isis member--I was under the impression that a number of them were just inspired by propaganda online, similar to so many of the far-right attacks we've seen over the past couple of years.
The term Scripted Violence, or Stochastic Terrorism are the terms I've heard, for messaging and ideology that repeatedly creates "lone wolves" with similar views and goals.
It’s a very hard problem. The printed press indirectly generated the Protestant schism, which resulted in centuries of wars and murderous events. The internet is having an equivalent effect today.
I have to say right off the bat, I'm not in favor of governments or big corporations being gatekeepers of what is allowed to be on the internet (moral hazard).
At the same time, views not in accordance with actual history (or indeed with reality) propagate at an amazing pace and certain subgroups readily embrace them as reality.
In case of shooter (reading his manifesto), he has a juvenile and one dimensional view of "white history" and "white culture" which fails to understand or account for movements of ideas and culture, and fallaciously lumps everyone of a certain skin tone into one cultural group. I have no doubt this view, fanciful as it is, was echoed by his fellows until it became absolute truth in his mind.
It is a problem, and not just for white supremacist types and radical Islamists either. Not sure the best solution or if there even is one.
Yes. It is.
I'd be interested to learn why some seem to find this comment objectionable.
- You’re wrong about the rise of right-wing extremist violence, as the sibling comment points out.
- This is a thread celebrating the life of someone killed by a right-wing extremist. Your reply is basically “I don’t think they are a problem, can’t we talk about mean SJWs instead”
Happy to see real data that suggests a worldwide trend though, if any, that is not subjective.
2. It isn't normalized against overall violence trends.
3. Although obviously terrible, it's still an incredibly small number of people in absolute terms. 259 people died while taking selfies since 2011 .
It has to explain how it labels "hate" crimes; is the crime perpetrated by a clear member of the said group, how do you define the relation, etc.
So many lives, so much potential.
For example, if it happened to be (and obviously it isn't), that 90% of white supremacists had PhDs and were in the 1% by income and wealth, that wouldn't prove anything either about whether their beliefs about whole races of people were correct.
And yes, this creates a chilling effect for immigrants and churchgoers. That's the intended result.
I understand many people don't want immigrants for economical or cultural reasons. That's okay. Killing everybody inside a mosque is not okay.
I wonder what the baseline level of death threats to NZ parliament is. Has become rather high in the UK.
There's a line of argument that all (governmental) politics is just the threat of violence, packaged in a velvet glove. (One short defense of that viewpoint: try not paying your taxes.)
I abhor violence in most cases, but I think it's a mistake to draw a stark division between the two.
Not in 2018. I wonder about 2017, or 2016?
If we close our eyes to what this is, we’ll never be able to stop it.
This is 100% not supported by the fact you're replying to: "Every killing carried out by a political extremist in the United States in 2018 was done by a right wing extremist."
It's like you're replying to "Today is Wednesday" with "Let's not think about days as Wednesday or Thursday. Today is named both Wednesday and Thursday." You can say that, but today is still Wednesday.
Again, I find it very inappropriate to try to classify this by ideology. No extremism is less bad than the next one. No matter if its right or left, religious or any other type (remember rajneeshpuram?).
Personally, as a non american I have suffered much more of left-wing terrorism (like bombs on subways; kidnapping, torture and killing), but again and again, it doesnt really matter.
I've noticed that when we post moderation comments, commenters sometimes respond with what they really meant to say. To them, the first and second versions are similar, but to an outside reader they usually seem very different.
It's not a real word. You allowed the comment on a tribute thread, to imply that Australia is to blame for the man's death, due to its racism/phobias.
A psychopath was to blame for NZ, not whatever that linked PDF on parent comment accuses Australia of. As an Australian, I can assure you we are hurting down here and in shock. But I will refrain from this point.
While inclusion is the antidote for exclusion, we are not faced primarily with an exclusion problem. There's simply been too many religious-justified atrocities and crimes from various religions. This world's violence and crime is ridiculous, and the details of the crimes are the extreme opposite of human rights.
I was taught that superstition was unhealthy. Perhaps I was brainwashed with anti-superstitious propaganda? My main "phobia" is: religion as a force in politics and education. Religion should stick to what it's good at - peaceful prayer gatherings. I support "freedom of peaceful prayer gatherings".
What happened at the mosques in NZ - unspeakable, sickening, the work of a deranged paranoid meat-head terrorist. More violence for fictitious reasons. Too long festering in corners with other truthers, confirming each other unchallenged; combined with likely sociopathic condition. (sorry for long post, passionate issues)
That's a pretty a pretty simplistic view, given history.
Ask a Croatian women how they feel about having an abortion (legal in Croatia) performed without anaesthetics simply because the nun-(nurses) feel they should suffer, ... the abuse I have seen the Catholic church get away with (in places like Austria, Ireland, Croatia, Czech, Italy, ... to name my favorite backward Catholic extremist places in Europe) isn't any less violent or "backward" than Islam.
Nobody who is devout will at all accept even partial critic such as "opposing some aspects of <their religion>". Religious criticism is always total and considered an attack when it comes from somebody out of their faith group. It can only be discussed (respectfully) with people from the same religion (if at all). I haven't met any (Catholic) who would accept probing or questioning from an outsider.
If somebody says "yes but Catholics don't go blow up people", they're wrong. It happens/happened all the time in places like Indonesia or Ireland or when they are a minority that is under pressure. It doesn't matter what religion, if you push people hard enough they'll snap. Even more so if their homeland is bombed and they've already lost half their family.
If we could only figure out a way to get extremists to only focus on killing other extremists, we'd all be much better off.