People gather in front of floral tributes at a makeshift memorial for victims of the March 15 mosque attacks in Christchurch, March 17 2019. Picture: TESSA BURROWS / AFP
People gather in front of floral tributes at a makeshift memorial for victims of the March 15 mosque attacks in Christchurch, March 17 2019. Picture: TESSA BURROWS / AFP

It is late in the day when the president of the US has become the symbol for white nationalism globally and serves to inspire the slaughter of people in places of worship.

Of course he is not the cause of the racial hatred that has been simmering under the surface for various reasons, but he became an all-too-willing flag-bearer for white supremacy with his clear track record over the years as a private citizen, amplified during his election campaign and finally as US president.

No wonder far-right parties in Europe were jubilant after his election. Populists over the years, including Adolf Hitler, were not the cause of conditions that led to discontent, but were masters in exploiting it to stir racial hatred and division. Seldom, if ever, in the history of mankind has there been a leader wielding so much power globally, who has actively and by default used his position to sow hatred and division, not only in his own country, but across the globe.

It is time to call a spade a spade: The president of the US is using discontent to promote white nationalism and the fruits of his labour are all too evident, nationally and internationally. Words have consequences and when spoken from a position of influence and power, they are amplified. Words are a form of action.

The Australian TV host Waleed Aly stated that all who fuel the fire of hatred are responsible for the tragedy in New Zealand. “Terrorism doesn’t choose its victims selectively, but we are one community. And everything we say to try to tear people apart, demonise particular groups, set them against each other, that all has consequences. Even if we’re not the ones with our fingers on the trigger," he said.

With our own diverse nation, we should heed these words.

Dawie Jacobs
Sterrewag