The white supremacist rally in Charlottesville shows that humanity has learned nothing from the past, and it also shows how “those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it” Edmund Burke.
White supremacists organized a march in Charlottesville, Virginia Friday night. They marched with torches through the University of Virginia campus, chanting “white lives matter”, “blood and soil” and “one people, one nation, end immigration”. It was like watching those rallies with torches that the KKK used to perform… many decades ago. The rally was described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as the “largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States”.
It was the third event of this nature so far this year in the city. Charlottesville is home to several Confederate monuments that the legacy of the Civil War, and that still at this point, many people think they should be respected and considered as heritage. For others, these monuments represent nothing else than hate, racism and white supremacy. These rallies have had their points of reunion at these monuments that are to be removed from the city. The white nationalist march has been described by the mayor of Charlottesville, Mike Signer, as “a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance”.
On Saturday night, a much bigger march is to happen at the Unite the Right rally. However, on the early hour of Saturday, white supremacists collided with a group of counter-protesters. Following this, a car ran into the group of the counter-protesters, killing one and leaving 19 injured, leading to a declaration of state of emergency. More clashes are expected at night.
President Trump condemned the violence at this white nationalist rallies on Twitter. However, he never said who was to be blamed for such violence, somehow protecting the interests of those that put him in power after his racist and xenophobic political campaign. It should be noted that Trump twitter only on Saturday afternoon. He did not say anything on Friday night, after the white supremacist rally clashed with counter-protesters leaving many injured. Or after clashing again on early Saturday, leaving one person dead. He waiter 14 hours to condemn violence, which is a different behavior from that when there is an attack in other countries.
But why are white supremacists rallying so often? They report that they are victims in a system where, historically, they have had all kinds of privilege only because of the color of their skin. As an example, we can look at Congress or the executive branch. Even though this institution is supposed to be the most diverse one in history, it is still dominated by white man. All the Presidents of the United States have been white, except for Obama. However, white supremacists were enraged to have a black president… for 8 years! They are witnessing demographic statistics that show that they will become a minority in a couple of decades. People and institutions are more aware than ever that diversity is important (diversity of both, race and sexual orientation). Their Confederate monuments are being removed. White supremacists feel threatened.
But why is this important? It is important because it has already happened, and not so long ago. It is important because we are in 2017 and we are supposed to have learned the painful lessons that history offers us. It is important because humanity is supposed to be better by now, after so much pain, racism, xenophobia, homophobia and all the phobias towards those who are different, who think different and who believe different. Our civilization has failed.