America had already been going through a lot during the Covid-19 pandemic. The country has reported more than 100,000 deaths earning it the first rank among countries witnessing the highest deaths. Furthermore, unemployment is reportedly hitting a stagger of nearly 40 million, which clearly means that one out of four Americans were already out of work or were laid off in the past three months. First among the first-world countries, just 2 months ago, no one could’ve predicted such an unprecedented rising of Covid-19 sufferers in the USA.
There were protests taking place in few pockets against the nationwide lockdown imposed as a precautionary measure to contain the outbreak of the pandemic. Then nothing less than a monstrous incident shook the country. The horrifying murder of George Floyd, a black American man who died after a white police officer pressed down his knee into Floyd’s neck, refusing to ease up even as he pleaded and moaned: “I can’t breathe.”
This frightful incident lit up the fire in America.
Now, even the most chauvinistic American, would suffer heavily in their heart, to feel glad of being American and would struggle buoyant concerning the future of America after the incident this week.
This is not unusual for a country which misses no chance to chide others of curbing citizen’s rights. I hope you are aware of the 1926 Syphilis survey conducted in the US state of Alabama and how the black men became the living testing laboratories for the said disease.
The deeply institutionalised racism, the prejudice between the Whites and Blacks is America’s inherent sin of slavery and the most dazzling failure on the part of a democratic country, which is engraved in the history of America. 60 years after the successful abolishing of slavery, African- Americans are still on the lookout for equality.
The frightful incident of George’s death enraged the African American community which was silently facing the injustice done to it.
Earlier in 2014, Eric Garner, a black man from New York, uttered the exact same words before he died after being held in a police clench.
The city of Minnesota in Minneapolis was set on fire by angry protesters following George Floyd’s death. Every television in America was airing images of cars ablaze, an eruption of giant balls of flame and crests of black smoke covering a purple sky. In numerous videos being shared on Twitter, the pitch of the protesters could be heard getting extreme. The protest was very peaceful at the beginning but suddenly many footages coming out recorded flames blowing out of a police station just hours after prosecutors clarifying that there was ”evidence that does not support criminal charges.” Stores, such as Target were looted and vandalised by the mobs which also stormed the Police Headquarters, hurling rocks through the windows.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz had already invoked peacetime emergency powers earlier to ensure the safety of residents during the Coronavirus outbreak. In retaliation to these riots, the Governor further declared an emergency in the state and tried to take back control of Minneapolis’ streets with the help of the National Guard.
Remembering what Martin Luther King said in 1966, “a riot is the language of the unheard.”
Floyd’s death is the fresh evidence of the police brutality that emitted sparkle seven years ago to the Black Lives Matter movement. This is undoubtedly the first unofficial week of summer, and the rising temperature of the people is easily equivalent to the rising global temperatures.
President Donald Trump, taking note of the incident, said that he had asked the Department of Justice and FBI to expedite inquiries into George’s death and that he didn’t like what he saw in the video where the accused Policeman Derek Chauvin, takes on Floyd.
But then came the arson and rioting, prompting Trump to choose his priorities as he threatened to seize control of Minneapolis. When “the looting starts, the shooting starts”, he tweeted provocatively.
The gruesome murder has been condemned all over the world. Numerous authors, journalists, politicians, celebrities as well as citizens are all coming forward to raise their voices against the injustice done.
The pandemic has worsened the country’s existing racial inequalities. There have already been so many disproportionate deaths of black Americans from COVID-19 who were denied proper treatment by White doctors. In addition, the community is also the worst to be hit by the economic collapse.
Whatever racial equality there was even during the Pandemic, George’s death appears to have undone it. It has pierced through America’s hyper-partisan divisions in a way the pandemic has not.
The condition of people in America is extremely anxious, the country right now has become the land of the angry and the home of the divided. Fire and ashes now cover the sky. A nation that is already dealing a lot in terms of saving lives now needs to demonstrate it is doing so without looking at a person’s skin colour.