Mohammad Zainal Abedin
On January 6, 2021, people around the world were stunned seeing how the US Congress was being vandalized hours after attending a rally that was addressed among others by President Donald Trump. Exactly a week later, Trump, accused of encouraging the insurrection at the US Capitol, was impeached for a second time, becoming the only American president to have faced such a censure. He now awaits a trial in the US Senate.
His impeachment trial fate aside, and as he packs his bags to leave the White House, Trump leaves a legacy of a tainted record of failing to show leadership when it was expected of him and rather displaying immaturity, imprudence, and above all blackening the shining history of American democracy. No other U.S. President who failed to win a second term ever tried to cling to power the way we just witnessed. His behavior, not surprisingly has divided his own party with ten members of the House of Representatives voting for his impeachment during the January 13 vote.
An American media outlet ‘QARTZ’ wrote: “Many in the rabid mob who stormed the US Capitol yesterday came armed with a portable and potent weapon: flags large election banners, battle colors from the American Civil War, neo-Nazi flare, Christian symbols, and a smattering of national and state flags.”
The ‘QARTZ’ narrated the background of all the flags and signs that were shown and waved during the demonstration. All of them, in some way, were related to American history, beliefs and values.
Another embarrassing aspect of January 6, attack was the presence of an Indian flag while pro-Trump crowd was ransacking outside and inside the Capitol Hill though the viewers found it as an irrelevant and unpleasant show, since India by no means, is a party to the U. S. internal affairs.
Indian TV channel ‘NDTV’ reported, “The Indian tricolor was spotted among a sea of American flags during Wednesday’s Capitol Hill attack.” It informed: “The violence began when thousands of pro-Trump protesters pushed into the East Front of the Capitol grounds, many of them carrying waving Trump’s portraits or American flags. One video taken at the scene shows an unidentified person waving an Indian flag alongside dozens of red and blue ones. While some protesters held up the American star-spangled banner, others waved blue flags proclaiming Trump 2024. The lone Indian tricolor stood out in contrast in this video shared by journalist Alejandro Alvarez.”
Really, Indian flag at an attack on US Congress? There seems no logic for someone to wave an Indian flag in an event that was entirely America’s internal issue. What did this person of India-origin, who on twitter identified himself later, as Vircent Xavir wanted to convy?
We saw people of foreign origin at a pro-Trump demonstration in Melbourne, Australia as well. Australian Online media outlet ‘Daily Mail’ (January 7, 2021) reported that the origins of those attending demonstrators were China, Korea, Vietnam, and some other countries, besides Australia. None of those demonstrators carried or waved the flags of their respective countries of origin; rather they carried the flag of America and portraits of Trump and chanted slogans in his favor. In this case, there was logic for the demonstrators to carry American flags, as the the event was related to the US.
This report of the ‘Daily Mail’ predominately proves that Xavir’s waving of Indian flag was, at least ethically, if not legally, wrong and he morally compromised his allegiance to America. He not only surprised and shocked many Americans but also Indian Americans, many of whom took to Twitter to demand punishment to him. They also asked who appointed him to carry and wave the flag of India in front of U. S. Parliament.
American law enforcement and intelligence agencies should scrutinize and investigate why, for what reason and under whose instruction Vircent Xavir carried and waved India’s national flag on that fateful day.
In a hilarious post, comedian Vir Das joked at the flag bearer saying that a large crowd does not imply a “cricket match.” “Dear random Indian dude waving Indian flag at the #CapitolRiots. Every large crowd IS NOT A CRICKET MATCH,” Das tweeted.
ElsaMarire D’Silva tweeted that reads: This Indian flag amongst this mob is very disturbing. Punish the culprit for disrespecting my country’s flag.
FBI and other federal agencies are investigating the incident have arrested more than 160 people while hunt is on for many more. It is yet to be seen if Xavir will be among those who will not just face censure from his countrymen but also face American law.
Like all other Americans I hope, the incoming President Joe Biden will judiciously apply his intellect, vast experience, sagacity and prudence in running this great country by implementing his election promise to restore “civility and stability to American politics”, eradicate extremism, end the politics of color, ethnicity, creed and exercise his role to rebuild America’s image and make the world livable for all nations — bigger or smaller.*
Mohammad Zainal Abedin is Bangladesh-origin American journalist & researcher.