Tutu's words “If you are neutral in situations of injustice..." have never been truer.
American President Donald Trump sunk to a new and undeniably racist low last week. First he Tweeted that four progressive congresswomen of colour should “go back” to their “broken and crime infested” countries.
Then, as the pressure mounted on one of the four, Ihan Omar, Trump stood passively by as hundreds of his supporters chanted ‘send her back.”
It was mindless mob madness at its worst. A nonsense from the get-go the attack was a dishonest and vicious attempt to demonise four women who are all US citizens (three on them actually born in the country) and elected representatives of the people.
A furious backlash began with decent-minded people taking to social media in their tens of thousands to condemn the president’s words and his non-action in the face of an ugly mob who had weaponised his message.
Interestingly many of them reached for the wise words of lifelong peace and social justice campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu to underline how utterly wrong, and dangerous, the situation was and how people must fight back and condemn such ignorant and divisive moves.
Again and again they quoted Tutu’s famous assertion that “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
We must not accept such appalling statements and should call out the Trump supporters who allow themselves to be manipulated in this way.
Barack Obama’s former speechwriter, Jon Favreau, called the rally “one of the most chilling and horrifying things I’ve ever seen in politics”. He was not wrong.