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An Open Letter to Donald Trump
August 14, 2017
Dear Mr Trump,
This weekend’s events have left me wanting to talk to you, to tell you something.
I’m European and I’ve watched this weekend’s events unfold with horror. As you know, we have a history with fascism that almost destroyed our continent, left our towns and cities shattered, cost the lives of millions of people and led to horrific genocide. That history leaves many of us cold when we see the scenes from Charlottesville played out on our screens and web pages. We still bear scars from the fight against fascism. Only a couple of months ago I went to Belgium to lay a wreath at the grave of my Great Uncle who lost his life in the war [World War II]; he gave his life as did so many of your countrymen in the battle for our continents’ future and soul.
The United States joined us in defeating the regimes that had murdered so many people, and we are proud of the relationship we built with your nation to achieve a victory even though the losses of so many hurt deeply. Many of your countrymen lie side by side in our nations, a reminder to the sacrifice they made for the freedom of Europe and how these brave men left their homes and families and joined our forces to end a genocide and return democracy.
To see your citizens parading though an American city carrying the symbols of that darkness and National Socialism has been painful to watch, as has your response. You should be proud that freedom of speech is such a valued concept of your nation, but with it comes responsibility. The responsibility of those that oppose these disgusting views and reject polices that would subjugate entire groups of people to condemn them openly and loudly and to act with unwavering commitment until their ideology is defeated.
To condemn all sides is to empower the very people that have caused these heart-breaking scenes. At a moment when not just a city or a country but a planet looked to you for leadership and action, you chose to facilitate their aims and desires. Simply put Mr President, it isn’t good enough. Leaving it to the White House press team to make statements clarifying what you meant when we know how outspoken you’ve been when you wanted is a farce at best. You didn’t need a press team to attack Kristen Stewart or The Boy Scouts Of America did you? There was no hesitation when firing up Twitter to call out breakfast show hosts or Snoop Dogg, was there?
London, my city, has seen four acts of terrorism this year. When these happened, you had no hesitation in speaking out with force for three of them, utterly misguided and damaging force, but you were ready to speak out. You used some of the attacks here to further your agenda, you hurt people with your words, and yet now when terrorism is happening on your streets, you have largely remained silent. Will you prove us all wrong? Will you say what needs to be said? – that terrorism is terrorism, hate is hate, and that fascism has no place in society?
Your few words so far have added to the belief that you have selective outrage, that you are happy to watch this unfold. Is this the way you want the 45th President to be remembered? Is this the legacy you want?
I ask you to think again, to find the right path, and the right words and tell these men to throw away their flags, bin their manifestos and see that they can’t win, that they are fighting history and for an ideology that should have been buried seventy-two years ago.
Because that is the only way to “Make America Great Again”.