White supremacist violence in US
Sir, – I was shocked by the number of liberal commentators who, after witnessing people openly march under Nazi banners in Charlottesville, nevertheless drew something like a moral equivalency between the fascist and anti-fascists forces in that town over the weekend. In response it is worth remembering the words of holocaust survivor Franz Frison, who wrote in a 1988 letter to The Irish Times that, “if fascism could be defeated in debate, I assure you that it would never have happened, neither in Germany, nor in Italy, nor anywhere else. Those who recognised its threat at the time and tried to stop it were, I assume, also called ‘a mob’.”
Anyone carrying a swastika flag down a public street is making their intentions perfectly clear, and we should be grateful to those in Charlottesville who made it equally clear that they will not be passive in the face of open Nazism. – Yours, etc,
Greystones, Co Wicklow.
Sir, – Am I alone in being offended by the regular, and deliberate, obscurantism of Donald Trump and his administration’s public statements? I refer, in particular, to the most recent White House statement defending the US president’s inadequate response to white supremacist violence in Charlottesville (“White House says Trump condemns neo-Nazis, KKK”, News, August 14th).
Mr Trump has, of course, been roundly criticised for not overtly singling out white nationalists for opprobrium in the comments he made from his golf club in New Jersey. Rather, he chose to attack what he called the “many sides” involved in the disturbances. An intense chorus of disapproval, from Democrats, Republicans and others, rightly followed.
However, the White House statement in reply to this widespread and justified unhappiness, pretends not to understand the reason for it. Instead, it contains a needless and misleading “clarification”. The White House statement “clarified” that the president’s original condemnation “includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi”, as well as other groups. As if we didn’t already know that!
Of course, the point is not just that Donald Trump didn’t specifically condemn white power elements in his original remarks, but that by talking about “many sides” being to blame, he effectively equated white racist troublemakers with the groups protesting against them.
In doing so, and by being, in effect, wilfully ambivalent towards “alt-right” provocateurs, he let them somewhat off the hook, and kept them somewhat on his side.
It is already obvious that the White House is presently occupied by a man with a massive superiority complex. But, really, just how stupid and gullible does President Trump and his staff think the public actually is? – Yours, etc,
Arbour Hill, Dublin 7.