HBO debuted a documentary last weekend titled, “Unmasking Jihadi John: Anatomy of a Terrorist” which tells the story of Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British man who joined up and became one of the most prominent faces of ISIS. He was a key figure in recruiting more fighters through his showy and brutal beheadings of journalists which included fellow British citizens. He was recognized for being charismatic and very skilled in using social media and rhetoric to inspire more and more hateful people to join their vicious jihad and act out on
In light of the horrific mass
A powerful question that Americans have to seriously consider right now in their rage and sorrow at the growing number of rampant killings by white supremacists under Trump, is Trump’s culpability in inciting these murders directly and through giving aid and comfort to an entire community of racists and murderers.
This July article from Vox details the long history of Trump’s racist rantings and actions and goes on to describe the impact of them on white nationalists and society:
Meanwhile, white supremacist groups have openly embraced Trump. As Sarah Posner and David Neiwert reported at Mother Jones, what the media largely treated as gaffes — Trump retweeting
white nationalists, Trump describing Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and criminals— were to white supremacists real signals approving of their racistcauses. One white supremacist wrote, “Our Glorious Leader and ULTIMATE SAVIOR hasgone full-wink-wink-wink to his most aggressive supporters.”
Some of them even argued that Trump has softened
the greaterpublic to their racist messaging. “The success of the Trump campaignjust proves that our views resonate with millions,” said Rachel Pendergraft, a national organizer for the Knights Party, which succeededDavid Duke’s Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. “They may not be ready for the Ku Klux Klan yet, but as anti-white hatred escalates, they will.” And at the 2017 white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, David Duke, the former KKK grand wizard, said that the rally was meant “to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.
As hard as it is to accept, the president of the United States is committed to whipping up racial hatred in this country, undeterred by the division and deaths it causes, because he sees it as the best path for energizing his white supremacist base and winning re-election for himself in 2020. For Trump, it is irrelevant that this is
As recently as two weeks ago, Trump’s aides confirmed that this campaign of overt and hateful racism, going back to when he began his first campaign and descended lower and lower down his Escalator of Shame in 2015, is absolutely intended. As the NY Times explained it on July 16th:
With three days of attacks on
four liberal, minority first-term congresswomen, President Trump and the Republicans have sent the clearest signal yet that their approach to 2020 will be a racially divisive reprise of the strategy that helped Mr. Trump narrowly capture the White House in 2016. It isthe kind of fight that the president relishes. He has told aides, in fact, that he is pleased with the Democratic reaction to his attacks, boasting that he is “marrying” the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party to the four congresswomen known as “the squad.”
He’s framingthe election as a clash of civilizations,” said Charlie Sykes, a conservative writer who is critical of Mr. Trump. The argument Mr. Trump is making is both strategic and cynical, he said. “They’re coming foryou. They hate you. They despise America. They are not you.”
So what is “terrorism”? Let’s look at the dictionary definition by Oxford:
The unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.
Recognizing that many of Trump’s racist actions including the Muslim Ban and deporting asylum seekers have been found to be unlawful by the courts, how is Trump not committing the definition of terrorism? How is he not on a jihad against people of color?
Consider Trump’s often unlawful campaign of terror on immigrants and people of color, from police-state-style ICE raids throughout the country to Trump’s demagoguing of Latinos, African Americans, Muslims, etc. as dangerous killers and threats to white Americans to tearing babies away from their parents and locking them in torturous conditions. Isn’t he trying to terrorize people in pursuit of political aims?
Which brings us back to considering the similarities between Jihadi John vs. Jihadi Don. The striking difference between the two is that Jihadi John brutally executed innocent journalists with his own hands while Jihadi Don hasn’t. However, Jihadi Don has whipped up hatred of Mexicans, Latinos, Muslims and African Americans and violence and murder by his believers has followed.
Jihadi John was an extremist who dealt in hatred, lies and propaganda to incite a war between the Islamic world and “the others” who he portrayed as the enemy.
Jihadi Don has been inciting a new Civil War between the white racist world and “the others” who he portrays as the enemy.
Jihadi John called on Muslims to strike out at their enemies. People following and adopting his words engaged in mass shootings and other hateful and deadly attacks.
Jihadi Don calls for white Americans to see “the others” as their enemies. People following and adopting his words engaged in mass shootings and other hateful and deadly attacks (Trump even called them “good people” after one of his followers rammed his car into an innocent protester in Charlottesville and murdered her).
To put this in perspective, if any other American who was the leader of a large community, espoused hatred towards another large communities and used incendiary language that incited his followers to commit violent and deadly acts against that community, that person would probably be arrested for inciting violence and as a conspirator to the acts of violence.
When mass murderers shoot down Jews in their temple, shoot down African Americans in their church and shoot down Latinos just out shopping, when they leave manifestos quoting the identical hate speech that Donald Trump has been preaching to them for three years and their backgrounds show they are avid Trump followers, there is no honest way not to see Trump as “Jihadi Don”, a man who incites terrorism, a man who provided the justification to these murderers to act out as brutally as they did.
The El Paso shooter (whose name I will not promote) claimed in his manifesto that he was taking action against the “invasion” because others wouldn’t act against it, using the “invasion” term that can be found in many of Trump’s screeds against immigrants. Trump may not have literally put the guns in their hands, he may not have personally held the blade but he put the intent, self-justification and even the exact hateful words in their heads that empowered them to murder innocent people.
Mitch McConnell has been squealing like a Kentucky pig about being nicknamed “Moscow Mitch” (and since the terrible killings this weekend, he’s been termed, “Massacre Mitch” too). After Lindsey Graham played dictator in the Senate’s Judicial Committee last week and broke the rules by preventing Democrats to comment on his “Hate Asylum Seekers” bill before a vote, he was dubbed, “
So maybe it’s time Donald Trump got the nickname he deserves, one that portrays his anti-Americanism, his extremism, his brutal hatefulness and disregard for the lives of innocent people. Maybe the man obsessed with giving childish, nasty nicknames to anyone who upsets him should be tagged with a nickname that rightfully denigrates him as a propagandist and recognizes him as a terrorist who is on a mission to destroy “the others”, including innocent fellow Americans, just to satisfy his lust for power.
Maybe we should call Donald Trump, “Jihadi Don” and see how that colors his ongoing war against brown and black people in the eyes of the majority of Americans.