Tuesday, 21 November 2017

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Downplaying terrorist of the Right

By HIba Rahim, For Panama City News Herald , On 14 August 2017, Read Original

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“Why hasn’t the White House administration labeled this an act of domestic terrorism? What would the headlines read if the driver of that car was a black protester, an immigrant, a Muslim, or a member of other groups who have wrongfully and deliberately been labeled as national security threats?”

This is a nation that prides itself in a lack of censorship that purportedly creates free thinkers. Let’s analyze this.
Saturday’s rally in Charlottesville, Virginia saw thousands of white supremacists take to the streets, many of them heavily armed militiamen, some chanting Nazi slogans and others donning racist insignia, occasionally invoking the name of President Trump whom, by their own claims, they lean on for support.
“We’re gonna fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.” That was a direct quote on Saturday by former KKK leader David Duke.
After a car plowed into a group of peaceful protesters killing a woman and injuring scores more, and after an over 15-hour lull in the President’s typical barrage of tweets, he finally issued an insufficient statement to the press where, in general terms, he condemned this display of hatred, bigotry and violence “on many sides. On many sides,” twice emphasizing his lack of leadership and unwillingness to denounce the egregious behavior of some of his biggest supporters.
Why did Mr. Trump fail to explicitly condemn these terror groups? Historically, he expressed no hesitation lambasting Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, and other minority groups.
Why hasn’t the White House administration labeled this an act of domestic terrorism? What would the headlines read if the driver of that car was a black protester, an immigrant, a Muslim, or a member of other groups who have wrongfully and deliberately been labeled as national security threats?
And why hasn’t the media shaped the narrative to reflect what it really is: terrorism. Terrorism by angry, racist, white bigots who certainly do not reflect the majority of Americans or American values, but absolutely need to be identified precisely as what they are.
We, the people, need to dedicate critical time during these senseless tragedies to understanding the realities of what has unfolded.
You see, the information is out there. The problem is with accessibility. Most people don’t have time to research, analyze and assess. Most people will tune into the morning news, local or national, television or radio, and accept that story as the truth. The media possesses a power unparalleled by all other platforms of information, and for that exact reason, we must ensure that what we get is a fair representation of both sides and not an effort to herd us in one direction to graze.
In the aftermath of this tragedy, our attention needs to focus on the past—as far back as 1786.
In that year, ironically in the same commonwealth of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson and his allies worked hard to pass the Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom law. During those contentious times, as our forefathers struggled to define what level of tolerance our nation would espouse, George Washington welcomed persecuted Catholic immigrants and others, writing that ”[t]he bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent & respectable Stranger, but the oppressed & persecuted of all Nations & Religions; whom we shall wellcome to a participation of all our rights & previleges...”
Still, for over 230 years and during the revolting display of hate and terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend, the bigotry of white supremacy continues. Adherents of this movement claim noble titles but are nothing more than xenophobic racists, many themselves victims of fear-mongering in the media and deliberate attempts to propagate falsehood in the news.
They cannot call themselves nationalists as they are clearly unaware of what this nation represents.
They cannot call themselves patriots as they are not loyal to the rights guaranteed by our great Constitution.
And claiming guidance from the Bible is gross irreverence to the loving and all-encompassing nature of God.
It’s imperative that as a nation, we recognize terrorism in all its forms and understand its roots when we confront it. That is the only way we can overcome it and stand united. While we may not be effective in affecting national policy, we can certainly make great strides locally toward understanding one another and building a culture of respect, even if we are respecting each other’s differences. Dialogue is paramount in accomplishing this.
Despite disappointment in our president’s lack of proper condemnation of the terrorist attacks this weekend, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster labeled it terrorism, as did other top officials from both Republican and Democratic parties. We cannot be hypocritical in our assessment and presentation of a situation, and as free thinkers, we must explore, understand, and connect with one another, as that is the greatest contribution we can make toward the unity of our nation.
Hiba Rahim
Panama City, Florida