How does a young man of only 21 choose to live in the distant, miserable past? The very symbols he wore—the swastika of then Nazi Germany, the flag of then apartheid South Africa and the flag of then white supremacist Southern Rhodesia—are all dismal symbols of the rejected, distant past.
Does this young man not know that Adolf Hitler, who started Nazi Germany and preached white supremacy (the master race), facing colossal and shameful defeat and failure in his racist enterprise, committed suicide in 1945?
Did not Dylann Roof, the 21 year-old white supremacist who shot and killed nine innocent people praying in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, also ever hear of how another white supremacist, Ian Smith, who in 1964 declared “unilateral declaration of independence” (UDI) for racist Southern Rhodesia, died? Yes, it was Ian Smith who in 1964 declared, “Not in a thousand years would blacks be ready to lead Southern Rhodesia.” Well, let us tell young Dylann, quoting the immortal words of the great Scottish poet, Sir Walter Scott, that racist Prime Minister Ian Smith, “[forfeited] fair renown, And, doubly dying, [went] down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung, Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.”
Doesn’t young Dylann know, too, that Zimbabwe was liberated from white supremacy in 1980, 14 years before he was even yet born, and that the very year of Dylann’s birth, 1994, Nelson Mandela, freed from racist apartheid’s 27-year imprisonment, was elected and became South Africa’s first black President?
But achieving the presidency was not Mandela’s chief legacy. Far more important, President Mandela, the man who among all the world’s politicians, past and present, comes closest to Jesus Christ, yes, President Mandela FORGAVE the white racists who imprisoned him for so long and subjugated and murdered tens of thousands of his people.
This young man, Dylann, has also forgotten—or was he ever taught?—that the scores of African Americans who gallantly fought for the rights of blacks, whites and all other peoples in the great America, a symbol of whom God placed President Barrack Obama in the White House, yes, these great African American heroes are now numbered in America and the world’s Hall of Fame. Among them are Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall,
Maynard Jackson, Malcolm X, Mohammed Ali and Martin Luther King.
Surely, the schools of South Carolina must have taught young Dyland all these lessons—lessons which perhaps he bitterly detested and rejected.
And where are the likes of Orval Faubus, Lester Maddox, George Wallace and so many other rabid (extreme) racists and all the slave masters of the American South who dehumanized, brutalized and exploited Africa’s African American forebears? These rabid racists are not only gone, but forgotten, remembered only by the despicable, inglorious and notorious place they carved for themselves in history.
That is the ignominy (dishonor, shame) by which you, Dylann Roof, have carved your place in history; and not you only, but your parents who fatefully presented you, on your 21st birthday, the deadly weapon you used to massacre all those innocent people who were gathered in God’s house, sending up praises and prayers to God.
But ah! Your parents need not suffer that dreadful fate. The members of Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston have already done what Jesus taught them to do: love and forgive their enemies.
The AME parishioners have also, believe it or not, in that court room last Friday, forgiven you, too, Dylann! And that is now their new song—a song of hope, enshrined in the immortal freedom anthem, “We Shall Overcome Some Day.”
Yes, they have already overcome. Obama is in the White House, twice elected by the American people! And not only that—he has performed brilliantly and turned completely around the once dreary and miserable economy which he inherited from President George W. Bush.
And believe it, Dylan, Obama is only a pacesetter. There will be many more people of color to come, elected Presidents of the United States!
All we have to do, as we did for Obama, is to wait on God’s time, and work faithfully and relentlessly toward that day when, to quote Dr. King, all God’s children, black, white, yellow and green, will joyfully sing, “Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty, We’re free at last!”