White Supremacy: Oldest Terrorist War against the United States

Buffalo mass murderer
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Buffalo white supremacist mass murderer, Gendron. Photo: Youtube.

Even as this nation mourns and analyzes the massacre in Uvalde, Texas, where 18-year-old Salvador Rolando murdered 19 children and two teachers in a school, we must continue to examine the Buffalo massacre. 

In the coming days the motive in Texas will become clear; in the meantime there is strong outrage, denunciation and protests against the NRA and their political servants in the Republican party. This must continue and we will offer more commentary on that tragedy. 

In Buffalo, the motive was very clear—white supremacy, which is not aggressively countered could lead this country into irreversible decline. President George W. Bush uttered the following words one month after the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Center that cost nearly 3,000 lives: "The attack took place on American soil, but it was an attack on the heart and soul of the civilized world. And the world has come together to fight a new and different war, the first, and we hope the only one, of the 21st century. A war against all those who seek to export terror, and a war against those governments that support or shelter them."  

That statement could as easily have been made about the White supremacy terrorism which the FBI considers the biggest threat to American national security. President Biden condemned the Buffalo killing by 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron as “hate-filled domestic terrorism.” 

The war on terror is now over 20 years old. The Cost of War Project of the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University released a report in which it provides these sobering facts and figures: “20 years of war on terror, $8 trillion and 900,000 deaths, 38 million war refugees and displaced persons”. Professor Catherine Lutz, co-director of the Cost of War added: “The war has been long and complex and horrific and unsuccessful…and the war continues in over 80 countries.”

After 20 years of laying waste to Afghanistan, the U.S. made a hasty and chaotic exit in a humiliating defeat last year, handing over power to the triumphant Taliban; yes, the very Taliban the U.S. removed from power by the invasion of 2001.  

What the experience of the war on terror has shown us is that the U.S. would spare no effort in pursuit of its real and perceived enemies that engage in terrorism against the United States, with little thought to the consequences of its actions. This kind of resolve and determination is missing however in its handling of centuries old homegrown terrorism primarily directed at its African American citizens. 

The “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” rings hollow as we explore its shameful history of indifference to African American victims of white supremacist terror across generations. The official U.S. government defines domestic terrorism under 18 U.S. Code § 2331 as “acts dangerous to human life” that occur primarily within U.S. territory and are intended “(I) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping”.

The horrific massacre in Buffalo by a self-professed white supremacist in which 10 innocent Black lives were lost once again reminded us, if we ever needed reminding, the pernicious threat white supremacy poses to the Black and Brown population. Racist violence against Blacks is as old as the country itself. 

The Zinn Education Project cites some 30 major massacres of Black people since the Civil War. Prominent among these was the 1921 massacre of the affluent Black community in Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma, often dubbed Black Wall Street in which 1,256 houses were burnt, hundreds of businesses and homes looted and estimates of Black victims killed ranges from 26 to 200. 

There were several massacres in the aftermath of the Civil War such as the Memphis Massacre and New Orleans Massacre in 1866. Such racially-motivated mass killings were not confined to the Confederate South. White mobs went door to door attacking and murdering African American New Yorkers and burning their homes during the New York Draft Riots on July 13, 1863. 

White supremacists continued to terrorize Blacks throughout the Reconstruction era and well into the 20th Century. Lynching became a common occurrence. More than 200 bills over a span of a century outlawing such violence against Blacks failed to pass in Congress until this year. Lynching by any other name continues in our time as the sadistic murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 made abundantly clear. 

It is only recently that we are beginning to talk about domestic terrorism and white supremacy. Who can forget the 2015 massacre of Black worshipers at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston by the white supremacist terrorist Dylan Roof.

The government and media rarely use the word “terrorist” to characterize these evil acts; very often one is likely to read words like “a misguided young man” although there is enough in the FBI files to show the proliferation of white supremacist armed militias and extreme right wing media outlets spewing hateful messages which radicalize these so-called “misguided” youth. I have yet to see any action by government to hold these groups accountable.

One would think these attacks from domestic terrorists would elicit a government response similar to its reaction to foreign terrorists. On the contrary, the “Home of the Brave” becomes the “Home of the Apologists” for white supremacy terror. Sometimes it is the government itself which engages in terrorist acts against its African American citizens such as the gangland style assassination of Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clarke in their beds by Chicago Police and the FBI in 1969.

The kid glove treatment given the mass assassin in Buffalo at the arraignment was not lost on viewers especially when one contrasts the case of the 66 year old Black woman librarian who was stopped on I-85 while going to a funeral and was pulled by her hair to get her out of the car as reported by the Charlotte Observer on April 22, 2021.

It is time for we the people to demand of the government and elected representatives to do what the electorate sent them to do in Washington: protect and serve their citizens and that includes African Americans and other people of color.

What has been unfolding and continues to unfold in the U.S. is a genocide of Black people in slow motion. The moment we acknowledge that and act, the better and stronger a nation the U.S. would be. This is better than spending trillions of dollars while spilling the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent people overseas who have done the U.S. no harm and ending up with the ill will of people we have wronged. 

The work that needs to be done is here at home if this country is to be what it professes to be—“Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.”

Mohammed A. Nurhussein, MD.

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