This morning I am heavy hearted. I am angry. I’m anxious about the future and generally saddened.
Though my weekend, personally, was fine, I can’t pretend to be blind to what is happening in the world around me. I never was able. I’ve always been triggered by violence, injustice, and senseless human suffering.
I’m just going to list the events that have been triggering this weekend and the past week:
- The Murder of George Floyd by a police officer. Black people in America die too often. So often, that is, that people treat it as a norm. Everywhere in the U.S, white folks are joining the movement now, as though this hasn’t been taking place since forever. I suppose it is a good that the Black Lives Matter movement will experience growth at this point.
- Rioting in various states of the U.S, as a result of the routine killing of Black folks by police. Obviously, I’m with these protests as I was the protests in Lebanon. And I think whatever means they use to achieve their goals are justified – you only need to learn about how Black people came to be in America to know that they are probably justified. And it is important to remember, that when people are destitute and have nothing to lose, but everything to gain, they’ll do whatever it takes.
- The gas lighting of an entire community. The president tweeted that ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts.’ Not only does the phrase have roots in the civil rights era, its constitutes the complete undermining of the blatant racism and apparent suffering of the black community at the hand of police. The riots are clearly a response to the murders of Black people by police – and yet the guy who was sworn in to protect all Americans has totally bypassed this, seeking instead to paint the protesters as stereotypical ‘thugs’ and vandals.
- Rio Tinto destroyed a sacred aboriginal site during Reconciliation week. In addition to this, and in solidarity with the Goerge Floyd protests, the story of David Dungay, an aboriginal man who died as a result of being restrained by police has resurfaced. He cried out that he couldn’t breathe more than ten times. When sacred sites are being destroyed today, and aboriginal people are being incarcerated at higher rates than anyone else, and dying in custody at higher rates than anybody else, isn’t ‘sorry’ just empty?
- To top it off, a young Palestinian man with Autism was shot by the Israeli police in because they believed he had a gun. He had a toy. They fired ten rounds at him. Like Black people in America, this sort of thing happens all the time in the Occupied Territories. Palestinians are killed like flies and no one gives a shit.
And then I start remembering what is going in Lebanon, and what is happening to the Uyghurs in China, and that Medieval was repealed, and Kashmir, and everywhere else in the world where people suffer for no reason and I feel angry and hopeless. I’m angry because the governments of nation states continuously demand that the people they oppress (with the aid of violence) protests in a non-violent way. I hate how governments convince those with privilege that protests will lead to the nation being engulfed in chaos. Is it better to be a nation that parades around as a democracy for all when it is merely a democracy for some and an apartheid for others?
Something has to give. Something has to change. And that, in turn scares me. Because, I know change does not occur without sacrifice. And death. And chaos. Sometimes chaos is the birth place of real change and justice.
Now onto some actionable elements. I’ve been learning from some amazing Black educators online. I will include their websites here.
To learn about White Supremacy and Racism in America:
To Learn about Aboriginal history in Australia:
Follow Uncle Ken Canning (Burrage Gutya) on social media
To learn about the Arab Israeli conflict:
Follow Tareq Baconi on social media
It is important we educate ourselves on these issues. And it is important that they are not just topics of discussion for us to seem intellectual and woke – they are matters of life and death for many.
Photo by Lai Tsan Chan