Islamabad - The Charlottesville Incident is the most recent one out of an ever-growing list of hate crimes that have taken place since the beginning of Trump’s regime. These incidents, undoubtedly, affect the minorities living in the United States but they also have far reaching consequences for the members of all such groups living worldwide. More worryingly, such incidents showcase the mentality and ideology of the supporters of Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States and the man who exercises control over decisions that affect the entire world. Are these anti-minority movements indicative of the White House’s stance towards countries such as Pakistan?

On the 12th of August in the town of Charlottesville, Virginia, what started off as a white nationalist rally called ‘Unite the Right’ – which was organized to oppose a plan to remove the statue of a Confederate icon – soon turned into a face-off between themselves and counter-protestors. A few hours into the rally, a speeding car rammed into the counter-protestors causing 35 injuries and the death of a 32-year old woman who was a civil rights activist and a legal assistant at a law firm. On the day of the attack, President Trump called it an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides” without once uttering the words ‘Neo-Nazi,’ ‘white nationalists’ or ‘terrorism.’’ The appallingly blatant Nazi symbolism used by the nationalists, including the Hitler salute and the Nazi rallying chant of ‘blood and soil’ was conveniently ignored by the U.S. president.  Trump has never been one to shy away from harsh statements, but that stance seems limited only to the likes of Muslims, blacks, Latinos, etc. This rather meek response to a clear hate-crime came as a shock to many, including veterans from World War II who saw this enablement of Neo-Nazis as a complete disregard for their sacrifices in the war. 

Following this intense criticism, the President spoke about the Charlottesville incident again two days later, this time declaring that ‘racism is evil’ and that ‘those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups’. This statement only came due to the fierce condemnation to his previous words, which came from not only Liberals and anti-Trump groups, but also from a fair share of Republicans. Does Trump’s initial refusal to condemn these so-called nationalists in particular show his acceptance of the idea that white supremacists, in general, tend to be Trump voters, i.e., the people who gave him the seat he currently occupies?

The very next day, the President abandoned these comments by blaming both sides for the deadly violence that took place. He even seemed to defend the original motive of the ‘Unite the Right’ rally by questioning whether Confederate statues and symbolism should be removed at all, and hence reaffirming his insensitivity to the past and current struggles of minorities in the United States. His angry words on Tuesday completely erased the goodwill he had earned on Monday, by his direct remarks towards the party which was clearly at fault of the tragedy that is the Charlottesville Incident.

The events of the past week have reignited the growing fears of the Democrats, liberals, and minorities who see the President’s actions as an acceptance of right-wing extremism, which is at an all-time high after Trump rose to power. Islamophobia has increased by 91 per cent in the first half of 2017, and anti-Muslim hate crimes have doubled. If these offenses are suggestive of the current leadership’s views towards the members of groups other than their own, it is a truly worrisome time for Pakistan and all non-white countries around the globe. With his executive orders regarding the travel ban, climate change policy reversal, waterway regulations and the end of foreign aid to name a few, President Trump seems to be inching closer and closer to an authoritarian, anti-minority regime – the effects of which will reach across the globe. 

The writer is an undergraduate student at National University of Science and Technology, (NUST), Islamabad

On the 12th of August in the town of Charlottesville, Virginia, what started off as a white nationalist rally called ‘Unite the Right’ – which was organized to oppose a plan to remove the statue of a Confederate icon – soon turned into a face-off between themselves and counter-protestors.