Updated: Jun 6, 2020
The death of the Afro-American, George Floyd, which occurred on 25th May, 2020, in Minneapolis, USA triggered an immediate protest in the city where he died, creating a domino effect in many cities and states of the United States and replicating itself in most cities around the world. His death was brutal and we all condemn it. It is time police brutality, racism and hatred for the other is brought to an end. Justice must be given a freeway. However, inasmuch as we all applaud the protests it is very important to note that vandalism, looting and destruction of properties are not right and this must stop. People have assigned the looting to Anti-fascist and other terrorist groups. Whether this is true or not, peaceful demonstrations are a part of nation building and must be encouraged.
George’s death was wrong. It should not have happened looking at the fact that the videos show clearly he didn’t resist the arrest. But as the protests for justice and the end to police brutality, especially against people of color lingers, it is very essential that we all begin to reflect on our actions. All over the world vulnerable persons and minority groups have had to deal with gross hatred from society. Societal actions including misogyny and gender pay gap (Gender Pay Gap still remains 21% less for women in Germany as compared to the men compatriots in the same position), racism against people of color, the mistreating of persons with disabilities and ignoring elderly persons are hard facts which show a denial of the contract we signed as a people to live in a society. History has seen many of these actions against vulnerable people all over the world: in Germany, Nazi Euthanasia led to the deaths of over 200 000 persons with disabilities; in India, the law of karma was used to murder thousands of persons with disabilities with the excuse that those people were born as a result of sin the mother committed; in many African nations, persons with mental disabilities are until today being chained and mistreated in prayer camps and other places while persons sitting in wheelchairs are abandoned by family and state to find food by begging for alms on dangerous traffic roads; in Indonesia many disabled persons have witnessed the evil acts of Pasung (check the Link for more on Pasung: https://youtu.be/RBa-wwcakHM). Persons with facial difference are usually not accepted by friends and some families. Many elderly persons have died and still might die in the COVID-19 crisis because most governments have not done a substantial investment in the health of the aged. When will humanity live up to the contract we have signed to live together as a society? When will love supersede hatred?
My favorite quote in the protest
In the wake of these protests I came across one placate that I chose to call my favorite:
It is true that not all Blacks are criminals and not all policemen/women are bad but all of us are guilty of a certain form of mistreatment and discrimination. Persons with disabilities are hardly considered in employment selections. Most bosses of companies will not employ a person merely because of his or her disability. But the truth is, you are disabled if you refuse to see his/her abilities. In the global south especially, statistics of persons with disabilities facing unemployment and therefore high risk of poverty and ill-health is very bad.
Many are living below the poverty line of 1.90 US Dollars a day. Systemic discrimination is a canker that has taken root in society. We need proper activism and protest to rise up to such evil and canker in society.
Figure showing percentage of persons living under the national poverty line, by disability status, in 6 countries, in 2011-2016 (Source: UN Disability Report 2018). In the United States almost 30% of persons with disabilities live in poverty due to less or no income. Indonesia has the highest with percentage of poverty among persons with disabilities with a record high of 35%. The low or less income among this group is as a result of structurarl marginalization and discrimination.
In conclusion I would like to quote the former president of the United States, Barack Obama in a post he tweeted on Twitter: “… And if we can keep channeling our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action, this can be the moment when real change starts”. I couldn’t agree with him more. However, I am of the opinion that the change we need begins from us, when we reflect on our own perceptions and actions. We must decolonize the hatred for the other. The reforms we need begin from us; to see the other irrespective of how he/she looks as having the same features as we do. It is time for transformation, for brutality, misogyny, discrimination - these are older than the Bible.