Mohammad Ali Baig
WHAT really happened in Charlottesville and what were the causes behind that unfortunate set of events? There is no doubt that the loss of property and lives including two policemen who died in a helicopter crash while securing and serving Charlottesville – are highly regrettable and deplorable. But it is to be probed that who attacked whom? The American Media in its usual bigotry and bicker has put all the blame on the Trump Administration. There is a far deeper and perhaps disturbing matter going on in America these days. As the media reported it, that White Supremacists attacked in an organized manner on the overwhelming majority of black people at the Emancipation Park, Charlottesville, Virginia. But in fact ‘Unite the Right Rally’ was simply protesting the possible removal of General Robert Edwards Lee’s statue who served as the commander of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Lee is regarded as one of the finest military brains not only in America but he is respected by every student of military history.
The chain of events recently happened in America has its roots in the American Civil War when the country was divided as the United States of America led by President Abraham Lincoln who was in favour of abolishing slavery and the Confederate States of America led by President Jefferson Davies who opposed the abolition of slavery. The division of America was because of one main issue – the abolition of slavery – mainly involving black people. Even after more than 152 years of the Confederate defeat at the hands of the Union Army commanded by General Ulysses S. Grant – the issue is till looming and lingering over the American lives.
The Charlottesville Incident is being used by the American media and anti-Trump campaigners as an instrument to further malign President Trump and his close associates. It is believed by American media that many people in the White House surrounding Trump including Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and Kelly Ann Conway are White Nationalists. But the question arises here that if Trump is under the influence of such people, then why the majority of American people elected him in the first place? If it is true, then it is not just a question mark on the American media, academicians and thinkers but a question mark on the collective wisdom of the American people at large.
Trump’s National Security Advisor Lt Gen H R McMaster and perhaps the most competent person in the current administration condemned the Charlottesville Incident and called it as an act of terrorism. Thanks to the wisdom and judgement of McMaster that he declared this incident as an act of terrorism since this incident did not involve Muslims and Islam. Mr Trump and his close associates have to realize that neither Muslims nor Islam is an enemy of America but the biggest enemy of the United States lies within its territorial boundaries or probably historically – Russia.
The Ku Klux Klan (KKK), American Nazi Party and other White Nationalists/Supremacists are trying and fighting for their rights and survival of their race that the American Constitution grants them. The activities of these organizations are part of the global ‘Rise of the Right’ that is a naturally occurring phenomenon happening after almost every century. The rise of Modi in India, Brexit in European Union, resurgence of Russia under Putin, Shinzo Abe in Japan, Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey and Rodrigo Duterte in Philippines – are all examples of the global rise of the right. People around the globe have to understand that Trump’s nationalistic thoughts and fervour got him elected as the President of the United States and his overt leaning towards the right-wing organizations is nothing but natural. How and why would Trump speak and act against those rightist elements – majority of Southern people – who actually bought Trump’s nationalistic and conservative ideas?
The Charlottesville Incident in Virginia, United States of America is an indicator that even liberal democracies and societies have some space for fascism, racism and right-wing politics. It would further escalate and accelerate in all of America since US is under the influence of inescapable global rise of the right. Trump recently removed White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon – who actually mobilized the Southern people to vote in favour of Trump but even after overt distance between Trump and Bannon – they are close and together.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.
Mohammad Ali Baig