THE tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has served as a bellwether event, sparking protests in cities across the world against racism and the state’s brutality. On the surface, it is about one man pinned down by a policeman apparently due to the colour of his skin, and shown no mercy despite his desperate cries for help. Of course George Floyd is not the first victim of police brutality in America, and unless things change drastically, he will not be the last. Another equally appalling video shows police officers pushing an elderly white protester in the city of Buffalo to the ground; the man lies on the pavement with blood oozing out of his ear as officers march past. But as the protests in the US, Europe, Australia and elsewhere show, the issue has morphed into something bigger than simply police violence in America. Thousands of people have taken to the streets calling for equality; this is a cry, as it were, from the wretched of the earth against racism and oppression in all its forms.

Indeed, many so-called First-World countries have built democratic structures and managed to give their people significant freedoms. However, it should not be forgotten that many of these states are built on a legacy of colonialism and slavery, and it is only over the last few decades that they have adopted a democratic course. Moreover, these grim legacies have helped shape the violence and intolerant attitudes today against minorities. Only a few years ago, members of the far right in the US staged torch-lit marches reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan’s activities. In fact, much of the angst of the protests over the past few days can be seen as a reaction against the rise of the far right in the West. Donald Trump’s journey to power has been propelled partly by white nationalists, while in Europe, the ideological children of fascism today sit in parliaments in Germany, Austria and Hungary. But what is equally troubling is the march of the extreme right in the former colonies. Narendra Modi and his Hindutva acolytes are a case in point, while even in our own country regressive forces lurk in the shadows, sabotaging efforts to create a more egalitarian society. In such circumstances, progressive forces must unite and continue the fight for a better, more equal world, and prevent the forces of hate from dividing people along racial, religious and sectarian lines.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2020

Opinion

Editorial

PDM’s lack of strategy
08 Dec 2021

PDM’s lack of strategy

Ever since the PDM’s whimpering end to its first campaign, it has hardly given any reason for the govt to have sleepless nights.
08 Dec 2021

Undertrials’ escape

IN any country with respect for the law an incident such as Monday’s escape of undertrials from a lock-up in ...
08 Dec 2021

Suu Kyi’s sentence

THE military junta that holds sway in Myanmar clearly wants to ensure that Aung San Suu Kyi does not participate in...
07 Dec 2021

Losing fiscal discipline

ONE of the several changes proposed in the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act of 2005, seeking major...
07 Dec 2021

Taliban brutality

LAST WEEK, the US, the Western countries and other allies joined hands to condemn the Afghan Taliban for the alleged...
Dangerous justification
Updated 07 Dec 2021

Dangerous justification

AT a time when millions worldwide are consumed with anger and despair over the barbaric lynching of a Sri Lankan...