The prospect of seeing Confederate Battle Flags and Swastikas on parade anywhere in Washington DC this weekend is a scandal that is deeply shocking and profoundly shameful. I hope the Unite the Right rally will be small, but no matter what the size, the fact that people who should know better countenance this or look the other way is a gift to our enemies and a humiliation in the eyes of the world. Our Beloved Leader at best will look the other way, but more likely will make some kind of endorsement. That a President of the United States could do anything other than react with outrage at Confederate and Nazi flags flying outside his own windows insults the memory of all the war dead from 1861 - 1865, and from 1941 - 1945. He couldn't do worse even if he spit on the tombs of the Unknowns.
The Confederate flag represents the right to buy, sell, and own human beings. The Confederacy had every intention of spreading the plantation system and its slavery westward, and into Cuba and Latin America. They planned to revive the Atlantic Slave Trade upon winning the Civil War. Appeals to white supremacy were a way of duping poor whites into supporting the interests of rich plantation owners. "Rich man's war, poor man's fight!" was a slogan created by Confederate soldiers.
The swastika and the Nazi movement it represented was about killing or enslaving all of humankind except a self-selected few.
So here is my little counter-protest. These are the people I will remember this weekend, people who were all a lot less ambivalent in the face of evil.
William Harvey Carney,
the first African American to be given the Congressional Medal of Honor
Henry Augustus Monroe,
a drummer boy with the Massachusetts 54th Infantry who saved lives at the Battle of Fort Wagner by beating out instructions to troops.
Surviving members of the Massachusetts 54th Infantry Regiment after the Battle of Fort Wagner
Robert Gould Shaw,
commanding officer of the Massachusetts 54th Infantry, killed in the Battle of Fort Wagner and thrown into a common grave with his men by Confederate soldiers.
William Lloyd Garrison
President Abraham Lincoln
Mary Todd Lincoln
Alexander Gardner, Recovering the Dead from the Battlefield of Cold Harbor, photograph, 1865
The Tuskegee Airmen
American paratroopers, France, 1944
Flag of the Polish Resistance
Polish Resistance Fighters
Flag of Jewish Partisans
I think we can retire the tired old canard about Jews going like sheep to the Holocaust slaughter.
Jewish Partisans from the Vilnius Ghetto
Smoke from the destruction of the Treblinka death camp by a prisoner uprising.
Flag of the French Resistance
French Resistance fighters
Flag of the Italian Partisans
Remembering especially my friend Elio Franchi who was a veteran of the Partisans.
Flag of the Dutch Resistance
Dutch Resistance fighters with captured German weapons.
German Resistance flag
The White Rose; Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst
Ethiopian Resistance fighters, 1944
Greek Resistance fighters
A Danish Resistance fighter
Filipino Resistance fighters
The Viet Minh with Ngo Giap, 1944
Felix Nussbaum, self portrait
Mordecai Anielewicz, a leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Ariadna Scriabina, founder of Armeé Juive
an openly gay man, an artist who joined the Dutch Resistance. The Nazis executed him after he successfully destroyed a Gestapo records office.
Hans Von Dohnanyi
Masha Bruskina, a Soviet partisan fighter
August Landmesser (the only one not saluting)
General Dwight Eisenhower
President Franklin Roosevelt
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Guido Reni, Saint Michael
"Almighty God, who created us in your image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."
-- Prayer for Social Justice from the Book of Common Prayer