How is this still where we are at?

How in 2017 are racism, neo-nazism and fascism on the rise again?

On Saturday I watched a French Film, Chez nous (This is Our Land), it’s about a nurse who is persuaded to run for Mayor of a small town by the RFN (a fictionalised version of Front National). At the same time she reconnects with a childhood sweetheart who unbeknownst to her is part of a far-right neo-nazi group. It’s good. I didn’t watch it too carefully because I actually am quite scared of the neo-nazi movements and of any of these kinds of hate groups. I tend to avoid stuff that makes me feel uncomfortable or worry and I also tend to try any minimise in my mind what threat they potentially represent. As I watched the film I thought “well, this is probably exaggerated for fictional purposes” – and I’m sure it is to an extant – I hope – even though it’s not in anyway sensationalist.

The next day I saw images of people in Charlottesville waving various symbols of hate including nazi flags and black flags with a white ornate Celtic cross (how bloody dare you!?!), and then I watched reports of some poor sick hate-filled young man who drove his car into a street filled with peaceful anti-fascist protestors, killed Heather Heyer who was crossing the street and then reversed at speed –

Look, I don’t feel equal to task of writing this. I don’t think this is going to come across as anything other than virtue signalling – which is no good to anyone. I am really scared about the level of hate and anger that seems to be everywhere. And it’s true that all forms of hate need to be called out but I was dismayed that Donald Trump didn’t straightaway condemn the white-supremacist fascist rally.

If you are in a group that is comfortable waving around nazi flags or symbols of the KKK or any white-supremacist stuff, and you feel that you have legitimate grievances that should be listened to then the very first thing you need to do is leave that group and all that hateful paraphernalia behind, read If This is a Man, watch a French film from 1979 called M. Klein (Mr. Klein), realise how dangerous the deadly virus Hate is, and then with this acceptance that hating other human beings is never the answer, sit down and work out what you feel is wrong with our world – because I don’t doubt that you have legitimate grievances but I am certain that no race or ethnicity is the cause of those woes. And just to be clear I’m not saying that you yourself are the cause of your woes. There is real injustice in our world. But if you make your fight against injustice, against inequality (which I believe is the real cause of injustice) then you’ll have a real fight on your hands and it is a truly noble one and the one that really matters. – And just to be completely clear if you are making inequality your enemy, then you accept all others as your equal which means committing to not forcing others to submit to your will which means being a pacifist. Being a pacifist is a hard road. Anger is a natural response to injustice and it is difficult to channel it in positive ways – but injustice, inequality, that’s our real enemy and it requires real strength to fight it. Violence is the recourse of the weak, of those who have given up trying to control their anger. And committing acts of violence or forcing others to submit to your will is just adding to the injustice in life.

I wanted to write something more thoughtful, more exploratory of current events but to be honest I not able to right now. So maybe this comes across as virtue-signalling – I certainly don’t feel virtuous. I feel a little lost and quite angry. There are so many things we should be working on now – and to have the conversation brought back decades to matters of basic civil rights and human decency is … it’s infuriating – how is this still where we are at? I know I’ve got to find a way to channel my anger into something more useful to share with the world but in the meantime I am going to stand against hate, and against groups that promote hate – #nohate #wearebetterthanthis #letsgoforwardsnotbackwards

I just realised why this isn’t virtue signalling; it’s not a virtue to stand up against hate it’s our duty.

And even if your stand is as clumsy as mine – go on, make it anyway.

*****

On Monday Donald Trump came out and condemned all hate groups, specifically calling out the KKK, white supremacists and neo-nazis. Unfortunately on Tuesday, at a press conference that apparently was supposed to be about policies aimed at improving infrastructure, he responded to reporters questioning why it took him so long to do this by making claims that those protesting the racist and fascistic rally in Charlottesville shared culpability in what happened there on Saturday.

Trump’s Full, Heated Press Conference on Race and Violence in Charlottesville (Full) | NBC News

Donald Trump Is Lying About Charlottesville, Says Witness | All In | MSNBC

TV hosts react to Trump : ‘What I just saw gave me wrong kind of chills’

CNN anchor: Trump needs an elementary education

Donald Trump, no one wants to believe that the President of the United States is racist. I don’t even want to believe that you, as an ordinary man, are racist. Unfortunately the statements that you have made over the last few days align you with neo-nazi white supremacist groups. And your comments on Tuesday where you placed blame on anti-facist anti racist groups give a new meaning to your words on Monday where you condemned all hate groups because it now appears that you consider anti-fascist groups and groups like Black Lives Matter to be hate groups also. They are not. They are standing up against hate and inequality.

Black Lives Matter is a terrible name for a group but what it means is Black Lives Matter Too and not Only Black Lives Matter. Why do they have to have such a movement? Because of incidences like Trayvon Martin, an innocent teenager killed by an over-zealous neighbourhood watch guy who, in the subsequent murder trial, was acquitted and walked free, or Alton Sterling or Philando Castile or any of the other high profile killings of innocent black men by police officers.

I don’t really want to criticise the internal workings of another country – because I will fully admit I don’t know enough about it. But you cannot label Black Lives Matter or anti-fascist groups hate groups when they are standing up to men holding torches, waving nazi flags and white supremacist flags, and shouting racist and nazi slogans. That is not being hateful. It’s standing up to hate. You must know this.

To deny this is to stand with those waving nazi flags and shouting white supremacist messages of hate.

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