On March 15, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant — “an ordinary white man,” in his own words — gunned down and killed at least 49 people and wounded at least 20 others at two New Zealand mosques.
World and U.S. media was quick to point out that Tarrant was heavily influenced by far-right and alt-right media personalities, pundits, and quasi-journalists.
“Remember, lads, subscribe to PewDiePie,” Tarrant said before opening fire.
“I feel absolutely sickened,” the YouTuber said in the aftermath of the event, according to Heavy, which pointed out that PewDiePie has happily platformed individuals like the conservative pundit Ben Shapiro — a man accused by activist Nathan Bernard of being Islamophobic.
“Arabs like to bomb cr*p and live in open sewage,” one of Shapiro’s many Islamophobic tweets reads.
Among Tarrant’s influences are also President Donald Trump, and commentator Candace Owens, according to The Daily Mail. Following these revelations, Owens took to Twitter to laugh at “racist leftists.” She then vowed in another tweet to “lawyer the f*ck up” and sue anyone who dares suggest that Tarrant had been inspired by her far-right views.
But not a lot has been said or written about what is clearly a pillar of Tarrant’s vile ideology: Serbian nationalism. As BBC reported, a song which played in Tarrant’s vehicle as he was driving to commit the heinous crime was a famous Serbian nationalist song. The song praises the “Butcher of Bosnia,” Radovan Karadzic, who was convicted of genocide and war crimes.
Furthermore, names of prominent Serbian nationalists and war criminals were written all over Tarrant’s weaponry.
“The attacker plays music as he drives to the mosque, including a British grenadiers march and a Serbian anti-Muslim hate anthem called ‘Remove Kebab,'” Reuters noted.
Serbia Strong/Remove Kebab is a meme popular in far-right circles. It originates from a propaganda music video produced during the Bosnian War by a group of Serbian soldiers, per Know Your Meme.
But as Bosnian-American writer and journalist, Jasmin Mujanovic, pointed out in a Twitter thread, Brenton Tarrant is not the first white nationalist to draw inspiration from Serbian nationalism. Anders Breivik was also heavily influenced by Radovan Karadzic and others.
“The Bosnian Genocide has become major ideological pillar among, and model for new-age far-right extremists, like the Holocaust in previous generations of their ilk,” Mujanovic wrote.
The Bosnian War was the bloodiest conflict on European soil since World War II. Between 1992 and 1995, at least 100,000 individuals were killed and millions displaced, as per reporting from Radio Free Europe.
Lasting nearly four years, the siege of Sarajevo — the capital and the largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina — was the longest siege in modern European history, as The Conversation pointed out.
The architects of the Bosnian genocide continue to inspire white nationalists and far-right ideologues across the world. Brenton Tarrant is no exception.