George Graham

Nightmare in Charleston



No, it was no accident, Rick Perry. And you folks at Fox must know by now that Dylann Roof was not motivated by hatred of religion when he massacred those nine worshippers in Charleston’s historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. There’s no getting around it: This heinous act was driven by racism.

Investigators have discovered a manifesto on the Internet that was authored by the 21-year-old South Carolina resident (photo above).

The 2,444-word manifesto rants against African-Americans, Jews, Hispanics and Asians. And Roof concludes:

I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet.  Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.

And a survivor of the massacre has reported that the shooter said:

You all rape women and you’re taking over our country.

It seems like so much time has passed since America celebrated the election of the country’s first black President. I look back at the starry eyed optimism I felt then and I feel foolish. I had thought that America was emerging from the dark ages, that the time had finally arrived when people in this country would be judged, as Rev. King once said, by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

Obviously, I was wrong.

Of course I know that Dylann Roof is one individual, that he does not represent the 300 million-plus people who live in America, and so on. Of course he is crazy. You have to be crazy to do what he did. And of course there has been significant progress in the past half century toward the realization of Martin Luther King’s dream.

But, conceding all that,  racism is a very real, very scary fact of life in this, the world’s leading democracy.

To deny that, as the Supreme Court did when it gutted the Voting Rights Act a couple of years ago, is to hide your head in the sand.

Until the nation’s leaders – and the nation’s media – face up to the ugly truth, American racism will continue to fester. And we shall have horrors like the nightmare in Charleston.

Click for the manifesto.

Click for the Voting Rights Act ruling.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for


  • I am extreamly proud to have been a peace keeper, serving in the 2nd battalion Canadian Black Watch. Our mission is to keep the warring missions appart while deplomatic ways and means are investigated to settle the dispute. Thanks George, for the recognition of the United Nations. Billy G.

  • This is a terrific reminder of some overlooked Good Guys who help to make this a more peaceful world. Cheers to you, Billy G.

  • Thank you, Bill, for the tremendous effort you and your fellow peacekeepers made for a peaceful world! And George, I, too, have thanked the UN Peacekeepers for their unswerving and often unrecognized heroism in promoting peace on earth. There is no more beautiful word in our language than “peacekeeper.”

  • The freedom we enjoy and take for granted in North America comes with sacrifices from our soldiers and peace keepers who have put their lives on the line and paid a huge price. We would not be living in a country where peace and harmony prevail over chaos and turmoil had it not been for our men and women in uniform.
    Bill and Faye Graham are my friends and they continue to stand up for the little guys even today. A nicer couple you cannot find. They are both peacekeepers. Thanks George, for reminding us of our peace keepers. I acknowledge their contribution to peace around the world.