Obama ad­dresses Con­fed­er­ate flag con­tro­versy

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Through­out the cer­e­mony, the “Mother Emanuel” choir, hun­dreds strong, led roughly 6,000 peo­ple through rous­ing gospel stan­dards be­tween speak­ers. A ban­ner along­side Pinck­ney’s closed cof­fin de­clared that the killer picked the “Wrong Church! Wrong Peo­ple! Wrong Day!”

Another 5,000 peo­ple were turned away, and had to watch on tele­vi­sion, as the fu­neral was broad­cast live across South Carolina.

Jus­tice Depart­ment of­fi­cials broadly agree the shoot­ings meet the le­gal re­quire­ments for a hate crime, mean­ing fed­eral charges are likely, a fed­eral law en­force­ment source told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Thurs­day, speak­ing anony­mously be­cause the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing.

Dy­lann Storm Roof, now charged with nine mur­ders, em­braced Con­fed­er­ate sym­bols be­fore the at­tack, pos­ing with the rebel bat­tle flag and burn­ing the U. S. flag in photos. Their ap­pear­ance online prompted this week’s stun­ning po­lit­i­cal re­ver­sals, de­spite the out­sized role such sym­bols have played in South­ern iden­tity.

Obama praised Gov. Nikki Ha­ley for mov­ing first by ask­ing law­mak­ers Mon­day to bring down the flag out­side South Carolina’s State­house. Other politi­cians then came out say­ing his­toric but di­vi­sive sym­bols no longer de­serve places of honor.

“It’s true a flag did not cause these mur­ders,” Obama said. “But as peo­ple from all walks of life, Repub­li­cans and Democrats, now ac­knowl­edge — in­clud­ing, Gov. Ha­ley whose re­cent elo­quence on the sub­ject is wor­thy of praise — as we all have to ac­knowl­edge, the flag has al­ways rep­re­sented more than just an-

ces­tral pride.”

‘ The cause for which they fought - the cause of slav­ery -

was wrong’

“Re­mov­ing the flag from this state’s capi­tol would not be an act of po­lit­i­cal correctness. It would not be an in­sult to the valor of Con­fed­er­ate sol­diers. It would sim­ply be an ac­knowl­edg­ment that the cause for which they fought — the cause of slav­ery — was wrong. The im­po­si­tion of Jim Crow af­ter the Civil War, the re­sis­tance to civil rights for all peo­ple, was wrong.”

“It would be one step in an hon­est ac­count­ing of Amer­ica’s history, a mod­est but mean­ing­ful balm for so many un­healed wounds,” he said. “It would be an ex­pres­sion of the amaz­ing changes that have trans­formed this state and this coun­try for the bet­ter.”

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