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Participants attend a rally to show solidarity against the violence that took place this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia; beside the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, DC, USA, 13 August 2017. EFE/EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS
Participants attend a rally to show solidarity against the violence that took place this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia; beside the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, DC, USA, 13 August 2017. EFE/EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Charlottesville: hatred begins with the word

A manifestation of white supremacists in Virginia reveals that words are the most sensitive weapon of politics.

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Last Saturday the town of Charlottesville lived the most violent day in recent years, fueled by the misunderstandings of ideology among a group of extreme right-wing protesters and those who took to the streets to criticize what appeared to be an outburst of racism from the history books.

The protest came after months of tension over the local government's decision to recall the statue in honor of Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), a Confederate Army general during the Civil War, historic symbol of "Southern White Power," who fought against the Northern States for maintaining the system of slavery.

Under the motto Unite the Right, "hundreds of members of the American racist right wing" - including elements of the Ku Klux Klan - showed Confederate flags while chanting Nazi slogans, as reported by El País.

A group of counter-demonstrators, along with anti-racist group Black Lives Matter, protested at the outlandish demonstration, which triggered a violent encounter between both groups. The situation went out of hand and the state government had to declare a state of emergency, deploying "a strong contingent of riot police", asking for even the help of the National Guard and the State Reserve Army.

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke told reporters that the demonstrators "were going to fulfill Donald Trump's promises" to "get our country back."

National and international media have described the event as a symptom of the right-wing rhetoric of the US president, who campaigned with "winks to the racist right," emphasizing anti-immigration measures and the nationalist concept of America First.

The president's reaction to the events was a thread of messages in Twitter - including two videos - where he urged the "union" of the Americans, without denouncing or punishing the actions of the extremists.

Although several of the slogans that were heard fell in the fusion between the Nazi symbolism and the name of the president - shouting phrases like "Hail Trump" -, the absence of an open condemnation or the determination of the resurgence of the white supremacy by Trump does nothing but endorse racism as a standardized condition in American society.

Senators like Marco Rubio and Cory Gardner, as well as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, have urged the president to sharpen his speech as a restraint measure.

Garder wrote in his Twitter account: "Mr. President, we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism," as The Guardian reported.

Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer said in an interview on Sunday that "there are two words that have to be said over and over again: domestic terrorism and white supremacy, and we do not see anyone in the White House doing it".

To attribute the resurgence of the far right movement to the president would be an unsupported historical reductionism - especially considering the fact that white supremacists have been appearing more and more in the media since 2009 - but the fact that a businessman sued over the years for his racist policies within the Trump Management Corporation has come to the presidency, is a strong enough condition to assume that Charlottesville is just the beginning.

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