By Assad Bhuglah
White supremacy is a racist ideology based on the belief that white people are superior than people of other races and therefore dominate society. The term ‘White Supremacist’ is also used to describe a political ideology that perpetuates and maintains the social, political, historical or industrial domination by white people. People who hold these beliefs sometimes go by names including Alt-Right, Identarians, Neo-Nazists and Ku Klux Klan. The White Supremacist movement's recent rise is said to have been encouraged during the 2016 US presidential election, in which Trump was accused of racism and anti-Muslim bigotry for his comments about Muslims and Mexicans. Donald Trump has been cited as a factor in the rise of white nationalists and other right-wing groups who backed him to become president.
Trump, as a presidential candidate, frequently came under scrutiny for being slow to offer his condemnation of white supremacists. His strongest denunciations of the movement have not come voluntarily, only when asked, and he occasionally has trafficked in retweets of racist social media posts during his campaign. His chief strategist, Steve Bannon, once declared that his former news site, Breitbart, was "the platform for the alt-right."
A new wave of hatred and xenophobia has shown its hideous face in most countries around the world. Usually, a new wave of racism and hatred take new forms and names. Anti-Semitism is always a good refuge for fascists, but Islamophobia has replaced the former because of the presence of large and numerous Muslim minorities in developed and predominantly Christian countries. But what is quite amazing is the fact that old, rotten and totally fossilized fascist movements have reappeared in the U.S. The Ku Klux Klan, the mascaraed of fascism and white "supremacy," always dormant in the conservative rural areas of the U.S., has reappeared this time holding flags decorated with… swastikas.
The "Unite the Right" event, which took place on 12 August of this year Charlottesville, Virginia, was believed to be the largest gathering of white nationalists in a decade. Neo-Nazis, KKK members, skinhead and members of various white nationalist factions clashed violently with counter-protesters in the street adjacent to Emancipation Park, where the Lee statue stands and where the rally was to take place. Hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, KKK and members of alt-right hurled water bottles back and forth against counter demonstrators on outskirts of Emancipation Park during Unite the Right rally. A few dozen Ku Klux Klan members and supporters shouted "white power" at the rally where they protested against a city council decision to remove a statute honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee, who remains a figure of controversy in American history. Confederacy statues and flags have been removed from public spaces across the United States since 2015, after a mentally-ill white supremacist murdered nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church. Critics of the monuments say they foster racism by celebrating leaders of the Confederacy in the pro-slavery South during the U.S. Civil War. Supporters say they represent an indelible part of U.S. history and part of regional heritage. The fighting at Charlottesville went on largely uninterrupted by authorities until the event was declared an unlawful assembly and the crowd was forced to disperse. One woman, Heather Heyer, was killed after a man linked to the white nationalists drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.
President Donald Trump, faithful to his extremely clumsy and radical way of reacting to developments, has almost placed on an equal footing the KKK proponents and the anti-fascist demonstrators, explaining that the wrongdoings were equally shared. Trump drew widespread condemnation when he blamed both sides for violence that broke out in Charlottesville, organized by neo-Nazis and white nationalists. This has also created an outcry on a huge scale, among different representatives of political forces, not least a sizeable number of Republicans. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had to even declare, "The president spoke for himself and not in the name of fundamental American values."
Under relentless pressure, President Donald Trump later named and condemned "repugnant" hate groups and declared that "racism is evil" in a far more forceful statement than he had made earlier after deadly, race-fueled weekend clashes in Charlottesville. Trump's initial failure to denounce the groups by name — instead he bemoaned violence on "many sides" — prompted criticism from fellow Republicans as well as Democrats. This time, the president described members of the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists who took part in violence as "criminals and thugs" in a prepared statement he read at the White House.
Actor George Clooney and his humanitarian lawyer wife, Amal Clooney, have donated $1 million to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a U.S. non-profit that monitors extremists and domestic hate groups, in response to protests in Charlottesville. "What happened in Charlottesville, and what is happening in communities across our country, demands our collective engagement to stand up to hate," the Clooneys said in a joint statement. The pair, which made the donation via their Clooney Foundation for Justice, join a number of others giving funds in recent weeks to anti-discrimination organizations, which have seen a surge in donations since clashes in Charlottesville. James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox, recently announced he was giving $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) -- one of the oldest anti-discrimination organizations fighting anti-Semitism in the United States. J.P. Morgan also joined the ranks of the donors, announcing a million-dollar gift to be shared by the ADL and the SPLC.
The U.N. experts said the alleged perpetrators of the violence should be prosecuted and, if convicted, punished with sanctions commensurate with the gravity of the crime. U.S. officials should also "address the root causes of the proliferation of such racist manifestations, and thoroughly investigate the phenomenon of racial discrimination ..., " the experts added. They should ensure that freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly "are not exercised with the aim of destroying or denying the rights and freedoms of others". The United States is among 177 countries to have ratified the U.N. pact against racial discrimination. The panel monitors compliance and reviews countries' records every few years.