Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The more things change....

I started writing this post in the thick of the Ferguson protests and Israeli bombings of Gaza - before the body of Michael Brown was buried, before 519 Palestinian mothers buried their children. But as the French saying goes it was plus fort que moi - it was all more than I could bear. I spoke to a close friend of mine in the Netherlands and she asked me what was wrong with the world - where had our humanity gone? So the original title of this post was "To the vocal supporters and silent accomplices of murderers and mass murderers: Where is your humanity?". 

I began the post by talking about Michael Brown, an unarmed boy, gunned down by a policeman, shot no less than six times. And then asked how such a deplorable event could be met with the silence of some or even worse, words and actions in defence of his killer. Where is the humanity of such people?   

Then yesterday the grand jury decided that they would not indict Mike Brown's murderer. The man who shot an unarmed person 6 times, who pursued him and then boldly declared during his testimony that his victim looked like a demon

It has taken every effort for many of us to not despair at America, especially white America and its blatant disregard for black lives. The fact that there is no collective outrage at the jury's decision reminds me of how and why slavery flourished for as long as it did. The fact that there are some who argue about grey areas and feel ambivalent when it is crystal clear to anyone with compassion that Michael Brown was cold blood... wrongfully - is that clear enough for you? There is no debate to be had, no justification - Darren Wilson should not have fatally shot an unarmed boy! There is not a single video or picture that would make that conclusion any different so I won't even dignify the desperate arguments that have surfaced with a response. 

Like those who supported slavery and apartheid, there are people, many of them in America's police forces, who do not see Mike Brown or black people as human beings deserving of their compassion. History is far from a distant memory - we pretend things are different today because certain laws are in place that prevent us from committing the crimes we did against the innocent in the past but Ferguson and the countless other examples of Mike Browns and Trayvon Martin... all over America are reminders that little has actually changed. 

The fact that we have to remind people whose compassion is reserved for Darren Wilson who lost a job as opposed to Mike Brown's mother who has lost a child that #blacklivesmatter is an indictment on American society. 

Darren Wilson's life and the lives of white men like him are not at risk. The lives of white police men are not at risk! For all the protests in Ferguson and elsewhere in the US, there is zero evidence of retaliation against white people or white policemen. Yet black boys and men continue to fall..... 

So I choose unapologetically to fly the banner for black lives because they are at risk in America. I choose to speak out about those lives not because I don't love humanity as a whole but because today, at least, Whites do not need my compassion. Darren Wilson and his white colleagues do not need me to raise funds for them, white men in the street do not need me to protest about society's injustices against them. Those who are privileged by virtue of the colour of their skin do not need me to speak out for them. Mike Brown, Kimani Gray, Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Eric Garner - the countless black boys and men who have lost their lives because of the colour of their skin - the countless who are incarcerated because of the colour of their skin - they do! They need us to speak out and say #blacklivesmatter America #blacklivesmatter World! 

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