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Friday, November 23, 2018

President Trump Fires Up White Nationalists in South Africa

President Donald Trump smiling

Nationwide — Three months ago, U.S. President Donald Trump decided to bring national attention to a domestic issue in South Africa. In a tweet last August 22, he instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “closely study the South African land farm seizures and expropriations and large scale killing of farmers.” It has, in turn, incited the White nationalists in South Africa who believe Trump is their “ray of hope.”

South Africa has recently been dealing with intense arguments about equal land ownership and racial discrimination history. It has been further sparked by the government’s plans to allow land expropriation without compensation in some cases. Several posts about white genocide and land grabs are everywhere, even on social media.

One prominent name on the scene is Simon Roche. He is the leader of Suidlanders, or Southerners or Southlanders in the Afrikaans language, who claim to represent the white people of South Africa. They believe that there is a looming brutal race war in South Africa wherein whites will be targeted by blacks.

Suidlanders, who allegedly has 130,000 members, are farmers, business people, suburbanites from different parts of South Africa. All of them are white and they all believe in the apparent impending genocide against them.

Moreover, according to them, the alleged land debates in South Africa has proven their belief about white victimization. Ironically, it has served as a blessing to them, especially now that they seem to have found an ally in U.S. President Trump.

“We saw a ray of hope. Maybe there are people out there who know and care and have power and influence. Only time will tell how much is smoke and mirrors — shadows and dust,” Roche said in an interview with CNN.

Another South African group believes that a disproportionate number of white farmers are being murdered. Ernst Roets, the deputy chief executive of a lobbying group AfriForum, said, “A systematic process of ethnic cleansing is a looming threat in South Africa.”

Research groups such as the Institute of Security Studies dispute that belief. Gareth Newham of the ISS said, “There is no evidence to support that. There is no evidence that a group of people are killing farmers for political purposes. There is no evidence that they are doing it because they are listening to political leaders. It is happening because of crime.”

However, AfriForum still stands for their conviction even though they say it’s hard to resolve their issues through dialogues with South Africa. But they are also hoping Trump could hear them out. Roets said, “We were very glad that there was a great acceptance of our concerns.”

Meanwhile, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa criticized Trump who seemed to be suddenly concerned about the issues in another country. He told CNN in an exclusive interview, “They are finding people who get some resonance with what they are saying, and these people are ill-informed about what is happening here. Just as President Trump was ill-informed about the messages that they were beaming out.”

“Those people overseas that are taken in by this message of whites in South Africa being under threat, they are looking at South Africa through the lens of black versus white. And South Africa has long moved away from that,” he continued.