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The ‘many sides’ of injustice in Charlottesville riot: Paradkar

“We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfil the promises of Donald Trump. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump,” said former KKK 'imperial wizard' David Duke.

Multiple white nationalist groups march with torches through the UVA campus in Charlottesville, Va. Hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday after violence erupted at a white nationalist rally in Virginia.

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Mykal McEldowney/The Indianapolis Star via AP

Multiple white nationalist groups march with torches through the UVA campus in Charlottesville, Va. Hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday after violence erupted at a white nationalist rally in Virginia.

This is it, then.

We can officially drop the pretence of equality after violent protests by white supremacists, “heritage” groups, neo-Nazis, KKK members and armed white terrorists slammed that charade this weekend.

Their deadly brand of racism was effectively endorsed by the United States president when he failed to call out supremacists, anti-Semites, xenophobes and homophobes and instead rebuked the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”

On many sides. Which sides would those be, Mr. President, when there were just two: white supremacy — and equality.

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Donald Trump wants to “study it,” he said, “to see how such things can happen.” He might want to start with studying the “many sides” of injustice at play.

Take a moment to think about what these people were protesting as they marched through the University of Virginia campus Friday night carrying torches and breaking into fisticuffs.

And again, whey they showed up Saturday morning, waving Confederate and Nazi flags, carrying semi-automatic weapons, helmets, spears and shields, throwing punches, water bottles and spraying chemicals. A car plowed through counter-protesters flinging bodies in the air, killing one person and injuring dozens.

These savage people were not protesting white lives lost to police brutality. They were not protesting disproportionate incarceration of white people, or stricter sentencing than people of other races, or being denied housing or education for the colour of their skin. They were not protesting any of that because it is not their reality.

They were not protesting. Period.

They were rioting.

Their tempers were inflamed by the possibility of the removal of a statue of Civil War-era Confederate general Robert E. Lee. The city council voted for the removal in April, but it is pending litigation.

Not only was Lee the general who led a war to defend the ownership of Black people as property, he was also one of its more cruel enforcers — breaking up families and hiring them to other plantations, ordering the enslaved to be whipped and brine poured on their backs, as detailed in an eye-opening profile in the Atlantic in June.

The Saturday protesters had gathered at Emancipation Park, the new name of what was once Lee Park, where the statue stands.

Jason Kessler, a right-wing blogger, told media the protests were also about free speech and “advocating for white people.”

James Alex Fields, Jr., who allegedly plowed a car into a crowd when a white nationalist rally erupted into deadly violence on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

AFP/ Getty/ Albemarle County Jail

James Alex Fields, Jr., who allegedly plowed a car into a crowd when a white nationalist rally erupted into deadly violence on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

This, they believed, entitled them to chant things such as “White power,” “White Lives Matter,” “You will not replace us” and “Jew will not replace us.”

It was a mind-boggling show of white fragility, by people threatened not because their rights are being trampled by any measurable means but because a few voices of those they historically oppressed are starting to be heard again.

Where were the police ominously beating back protesters in the numbers they did in Ferguson, in Chicago, in Charlotte, in Baltimore, in Cleveland among other places when Black people protested deaths at the hands of police? Where are the calls for white people to denounce this disgusting display of hate in their name? Why is the driver of the car that plowed into people not being called a terrorist? Will we now ask that white people be the eyes and ears on the front lines of white hatred?

Remember Mark Hughes, the armed Black man called a suspect by Dallas police during protests in July last year? They called him a suspect even as he was helping them evacuate people and they did not take down their tweet with his photo even after it was established he was innocent.

In this gathering, white men armed to the teeth roam freely, with the privilege of knowing their rights will be protected.

The flags they were waving signify death and devastation to significant groups of Americans. Yet, they were allowed because, democracy. Would these democratic rights be granted to anyone wanting to wave the equally reprehensible Daesh (ISIS) flags?

Trump, a normally avid tweeter who releases foreign policy details in 140 characters, was silent until later in the day when he tweeted out a vague denunciation of the events and gave his insipid speech.

In all fairness, his blandness was not a surprise. Why would he disavow his friends?

Former KKK “imperial wizard” David Duke said, “This (protest) represents a turning point. We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfil the promises of Donald Trump. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump.”

Over at the Daily Stormer, the white supremacist website, there was jubilation. “Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us.... No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him.”

Not all Trump’s buddies were pleased with his speech, though. Richard Spencer, the founder of the “Alt-Right” hate group, who was not shot at, not beaten, not punched, but maced by police, was miffed.

“Trump should not have praised the state and local police,’ he tweeted. “They did the opposite of their job. Total disaster.”

Total disaster. Never thought I’d agree with anything that revolting man said.

Shree Paradkar writes about discrimination and identity. You can follow her @shreeparadkar

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