(Photo by Edu Bayer/New York Times)
Last weekend white supremacists took to the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia. The protests were hostile with burning torches and chants of racism, antisemitism and homophobia. A white supremacist then drove his car into a crowd of anti-protesters. Heather Heyer was killed protesting white hate.
The death of Heather Heyer is tragic and brings great sorrow to everyone who fights for peace and justice. Her sacrifice is greatly admired as she stood up for what she believes in. The world mourns her murder.
President Trump failed to condemn the violence in Charlottesville for three days. Then he placed blame on many sides. Following this he stated that “one side was bad and the other side was very violent also”. It is clear that President Trump will not condemn white supremacy in America. Whether he refuses to do this because they are his biggest supporters or because he is in agreement with their beliefs is irrelevant, the fact is that the President of the United States of America has refused to stand against white supremacy.
The hatred and fear that is now spreading through America is of deep concern. Many other leaders of nations have condemned the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, many in America too have condemned what happened. The leader of the “free world” however has not, which is deeply concerning and distressing.
Racism is wrong. Antisemitism is wrong. Homophobia is wrong. These are all facts.
What happened in Charlottesville is not a demonstration of freedom of speech. It was a demonstration of hate speech. Hate speech spreads fear, hatred and violence. It is not a right but an incitement of violence and hate against a group or race of people. Hate speech is wholly unacceptable in 2017 and should have been condemned immediately. President Trump defended the white supremacists by saying they had a permit. I am certain that no permit exists for hate speech.
The only thing that can be done is to stand in solidarity. Human rights in America are quickly becoming irrelevant to the president. Fear and hatred is growing and with it violence. The human rights of equality, freedom of religion, freedom of discrimination based on gender and sex and many more are being violated by the President without a second thought. His treatment of transgender soldiers in the army was vile and his treatment of Charlottesville has been shocking.
Together we stand against the fear, hatred and violence Trump is allowing. The protests that have occurred across America as a result of the President’s failures have been heartening and encouraging. I urge you all to stay strong in your beliefs in human rights and mourn this day for the tragedy that it was.