Friday, August 10, 2018

A Little Counterprotest

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.

Frederick Douglass

Elijah Lovejoy

William Lloyd Garrison

Harriet Tubman

Sojourner Truth

President Abraham Lincoln

Ulysses Grant

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

Bielski Partisans

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

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

Edelweiss Pirates

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

Willem Arondeus, 
an openly gay man, an artist who joined the Dutch Resistance.  The Nazis executed him after he successfully destroyed a Gestapo records office.

 Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Hans Von Dohnanyi

Bernhard Lichtenberg

 Martin Niemöller

Elie Wiessel

Masha Bruskina, a Soviet partisan fighter

August Landmesser (the only one not saluting)

Ann Frank

 Alan Turing

George Orwell

Josephine Baker

Hannah Arendt

General Dwight Eisenhower

 Eleanor Roosevelt

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

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