A Call for Accountability دعوة للمساءلة

By Reem Sharaf

August 12, 2017 will forever be remembered as the day evil and hatred senselessly crossed a line of no return. On that Saturday, white supremacists – white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and Ku Klux Klan members – held a rally in Charlottesville, VA titled “Unite the Right”. They were protesting the city’s decision to remove confederate monuments, specifically the statue of General Robert Lee, a confederate who led the Virginia confederate army during the civil war.

Violence quickly erupted when counter-protesters arrived on the scene. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police were ordered to disperse the crowds. Just as the people were leaving, Alex Fields Jr., a supposed white supremacist, drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters resulting in the injury of many and the death of Heather Heyer.    

That day, following the deadly event, President Trump made a statement saying, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides”. Many people took offense to the statement, which equates the violent behavior of the white supremacists to that of the counter-protesters – who were mowed down while protesting the hatred, racism, and violence.

In a news conference on August 15th, 2017, President Trump remarked about the protest saying, “You had a group on the other side [counter-protestors] that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent…You had a lot of people in that group [white supremacists] that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest because you know – I don’t know if you know – they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit.” Not taking into consideration that this is the second time President Trump equates the behavior of both sides, his statement is false.

Professor Walt Heinecke, of the University of Virginia made public the permit he was granted from Charlottesville’s Department of Parks & Recreation allowing him to hold a public demonstration in the area of the protest.

As hundreds showed up to the memorial vigil for Heather Heyer on August 16th, 2017, many wondered at the fate of the country. This country was built on the foundation of civil rights. What we have been seeing in the past couple months is the exact opposite – an increase in hate crimes, public polarity, and domestic terror attacks fueled by a group that desires to take others’ rights away from them. This hatred will only continue to breed hatred.  We need leaders and people who take a stand for justice. A collective declaration of truth in the face of injustice is what our country needs – a responsibility that falls on all of us. This is a call for accountability.

Every individual is at a minimum a leader onto their own selves. Hold yourself in check – have you committed an injustice to those around you? Have you stayed silent about an injustice you are aware of? Have you chosen to evade answering to an injustice or equating the two opposing sides?

Change begins from within. We cannot expect change from others when we ourselves choose to remain oblivious to injustice around us. As Mark Twain once said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch and do nothing”.                                     

بقلم ريم شرف ‬

يوم‭ ‬12‭ ‬أغسطس‭ ‬2017‭ ‬سوف‭ ‬يتذكر‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬الأبد‭ ‬كاليوم‭ ‬الذي‭ ‬تخطى‭ ‬الشر‭ ‬والكراهية‭ ‬حدود‭ ‬الا‭ ‬عودة‭. ‬ففي‭ ‬يوم‭ ‬السبت‭ ‬عقد‭ ‬عنصرييون‭ ‬بيض‭ – ‬وقوميون‭ ‬بيض‭ ‬ونازيون‭ ‬جدد‭ ‬وأعضاء‭ ‬الكي‭ ‬كي‭ ‬كلان‭ – ‬مسيرة‭ ‬في‭ ‬شارلتسفيل‭ ‬فيرجينيا‭ ‬تحت‭ ‬عنوان‭ ‬‮«‬اتحاد‭ ‬اليمين‮»‬‭. ‬وكانوا‭ ‬يحتجون‭ ‬على‭ ‬قرار‭ ‬المدينة‭ ‬بازالة‭ ‬المعالم‭ ‬الكونفدرالية‭ ‬وعلى‭ ‬وجه‭ ‬التحديد‭ ‬تمثال‭ ‬الجنرال‭ ‬روبرت‭ ‬لي‭ ‬الكونفدرالي‭ ‬الذي‭ ‬قاد‭ ‬الجيش‭ ‬الكونفدرالي‭ ‬في‭ ‬ولاية‭ ‬فرجينيا‭ ‬خلال‭ ‬الحرب‭ ‬الأهلية‭.‬

وقد‭ ‬اندلعت‭ ‬اعمال‭ ‬العنف‭ ‬بسرعة‭ ‬عندما‭ ‬وصل‭ ‬المتظاهرون‭ ‬المضادون‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬مكان‭ ‬المظاهرة‭. ‬وأعلن‭ ‬حاكم‭ ‬ولاية‭ ‬فيرجينيا‭ ‬تيري‭ ‬ماكوليف‭ ‬حالة‭ ‬الطوارئ‭ ‬وامر‭ ‬الشرطة‭ ‬بتفريق‭ ‬الحشود‭. ‬وعندما‭ ‬كان‭ ‬الناس‭ ‬يغادرون‭ ‬قاد‭ ‬ألكس‭ ‬فيلدز‭ ‬العنصري‭ ‬الأبيض‭ ‬سيارته‭ ‬بين‭ ‬حشد‭ ‬من‭ ‬المتظاهرين‭ ‬المضادين‭ ‬مما‭ ‬أدى‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬إصابة‭ ‬الكثيرين‭ ‬وموت‭ ‬هذر‭ ‬هيير‭.‬

وفي‭ ‬ذلك‭ ‬اليوم‭ ‬وفي‭ ‬أعقاب‭ ‬هذا‭ ‬الحادث‭ ‬المميت‭ ‬أدلى‭ ‬الرئيس‭ ‬ترامب‭ ‬ببيان‭ ‬قال‭ ‬فيه‭ ‬‮«‬إننا‭ ‬ندين‭ ‬بأقوى‭ ‬العبارات‭ ‬هذا‭ ‬العرض‭ ‬الفظيع‭ ‬للكراهية‭ ‬والتعصب‭ ‬والعنف‭ ‬من‭ ‬كلا‭ ‬الجانبين‮»‬‭. ‬كثير‭ ‬من‭ ‬الناس‭ ‬اعتبروا‭ ‬هذا‭ ‬التصريح‭ ‬مساواة‭ ‬بين‭ ‬السلوك‭ ‬العنيف‭ ‬الذي‭ ‬يتخذه‭ ‬المتطرفون‭ ‬المعتدون‭ – ‬الذين‭ ‬تم‭ ‬تحريضهم‭ ‬أثناء‭ ‬الاحتجاج‭ ‬على‭ ‬الكراهية‭ ‬والعنصرية‭ ‬والعنف‭ ‬مع‭ ‬المحتجين‭ ‬من‭ ‬مناهضي‭ ‬العنصرية‭.‬

وفي‭ ‬مؤتمر‭ ‬صحفي‭ ‬عقد‭ ‬في‭ ‬15‭ ‬أغسطس‭ ‬2017‭ ‬قال‭ ‬الرئيس‭ ‬ترامب‭ ‬عن‭ ‬الإحتجاج‭ ‬‮«‬كان‭ ‬هناك‭ ‬مجموعة‭ ‬على‭ ‬الجانب‭ ‬الآخر‭ [‬المتظاهرين‭ ‬المعارضين‭] ‬التي‭ ‬جاءت‭ ‬دون‭ ‬تصريح‭ ‬وكانوا‭ ‬عنيفين‭ ‬جدا‭ ‬جدا‭ … ‬كان‭ ‬هناك‭ ‬الكثير‭ ‬من‭ ‬الناس‭ ‬في‭ ‬تلك‭ ‬المجموعة‭ [‬العنصريين‭ ‬البيض‭] ‬التي‭ ‬كانت‭ ‬هناك‭ ‬للاحتجاج‭ ‬ببراءة‭ ‬واحتجاجا‭ ‬قانونيا‭ ‬جدا‭ ‬لأنك‭ ‬تعرف‭ – ‬أنا‭ ‬لا‭ ‬أعرف‭ ‬إذا‭ ‬كنت‭ ‬تعرف‭ – ‬لديهم‭ ‬تصريح‭. ‬ولم‭ ‬يكن‭ ‬لدى‭ ‬المجموعة‭ ‬الأخرى‭ ‬تصاريح‮»‬‭. ‬ولم‭ ‬يأخذ‭ ‬في‭ ‬اعتباره‭ ‬أن‭ ‬هذه‭ ‬هي‭ ‬المرة‭ ‬الثانية‭ ‬التي‭ ‬يعادل‭ ‬فيها‭ ‬الرئيس‭ ‬ترامب‭ ‬سلوك‭ ‬كلا‭ ‬الجانبين‭ ‬إلا‭ ‬أن‭ ‬تصريحه‭ ‬غير‭ ‬صحيح‭.‬

وأعلن‭ ‬البروفسور‭ ‬والت‭ ‬هاينيك‭ ‬من‭ ‬جامعة‭ ‬فيرجينيا‭ ‬بأن‭ ‬التصريح‭ ‬الذي‭ ‬حصل‭ ‬عليه‭ ‬من‭ ‬قسم‭ ‬الحدائق‭ ‬والترفيه‭ ‬في‭ ‬شارلتسفيل‭ ‬سمح‭ ‬له‭ ‬بتنظيم‭ ‬مظاهرة‭ ‬عامة‭ ‬في‭ ‬منطقة‭ ‬الإحتجاج‭.‬

وتجمع‭ ‬المئات‭ ‬في‭ ‬الوقفات‭ ‬التأبينية‭ ‬التذكارية‭ ‬لهذر‭ ‬هير‭ ‬في‭ ‬16‭ ‬أغسطس‭ ‬2017‭ ‬وتساءل‭ ‬الكثيرون‭ ‬عن‭ ‬مصير‭ ‬البلاد‭. ‬والذي‭ ‬بني‭ ‬على‭ ‬أساس‭ ‬الحقوق‭ ‬المدنية‭. ‬وما‭ ‬نراه‭ ‬في‭ ‬الشهرين‭ ‬الماضيين‭ ‬هو‭ ‬العكس‭ ‬تماما‭ ‬أي‭ ‬زيادة‭ ‬في‭ ‬جرائم‭ ‬الكراهية‭ ‬والإستقطاب‭ ‬العام‭ ‬والهجمات‭ ‬الإرهابية‭ ‬المحلية‭ ‬التي‭ ‬تغذيها‭ ‬مجموعة‭ ‬ترغب‭ ‬في‭ ‬رفض‭ ‬حقوق‭ ‬الآخرين‭. ‬وستستمر‭ ‬هذه‭ ‬الكراهية‭ ‬في‭ ‬إثارة‭ ‬النزعات‭ ‬العنصرية‭. ‬فنحن‭ ‬بحاجة‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬قادة‭ ‬وأشخاص‭ ‬يتخذون‭ ‬موقفا‭ ‬من‭ ‬أجل‭ ‬العدالة‭. ‬فإن‭ ‬الإعلان‭ ‬الجماعي‭ ‬الموقف‭ ‬عن‭ ‬الحقيقة‭ ‬في‭ ‬مواجهة‭ ‬الظلم‭ ‬هو‭ ‬ما‭ ‬يحتاج‭ ‬إليه‭ ‬بلدنا‭ – ‬وهي‭ ‬مسؤولية‭ ‬تقع‭ ‬علينا‭ ‬جميعا‭. ‬وهذه‭ ‬دعوة‭ ‬للمساءلة‭.‬

كل‭ ‬فرد‭ ‬مسؤول‭ ‬عن‭ ‬نفسه‭. ‬فحاسب‭ ‬نفسك‭  ‬هل‭ ‬ارتكبت‭ ‬ظلم‭ ‬على‭ ‬من‭ ‬حولك؟‭ ‬هل‭ ‬بقيت‭ ‬صامتا‭ ‬عن‭ ‬ظلم‭ ‬كنت‭ ‬على‭ ‬علم‭ ‬به؟‭ ‬هل‭ ‬اخترت‭ ‬التهرب‭ ‬من‭ ‬الرد‭ ‬على‭ ‬الظلم‭ ‬أو‭ ‬المساواة‭ ‬بين‭ ‬جانبين‭ ‬متعارضين؟‭ ‬

التغيير‭ ‬يبدأ‭ ‬من‭ ‬الداخل‭. ‬ولا‭ ‬يمكننا‭ ‬أن‭ ‬نتوقع‭ ‬التغيير‭ ‬من‭ ‬الآخرين‭ ‬عندما‭ ‬نختار‭ ‬أنفسنا‭ ‬أن‭ ‬نبقى‭ ‬غافلين‭ ‬عن‭ ‬الظلم‭ ‬من‭ ‬حولنا‭. ‬وكما‭ ‬قال‭ ‬مارك‭ ‬توين‭ ‬مرة‭ ‬‮«‬لن‭ ‬يتم‭ ‬تدمير‭ ‬العالم‭ ‬من‭ ‬قبل‭ ‬أولئك‭ ‬الشريرين‭ ‬ولكن‭ ‬من‭ ‬قبل‭ ‬أولئك‭ ‬الذين‭ ‬يشاهدون‭ ‬الشر‭ ‬ولا‭ ‬يفعولن‭ ‬شيئا‮»‬‭.‬