All of us should make black lives matter

Protesters gather in a call for justice for George Floyd, a black man who died after a white policeman kneeled on his neck for several minutes in Minneapolis. What the killing of black men has shown is the how state power throughout the world is at times weaponised against black and vulnerable people and then subsequently abused to shield its enforcers from accountability, the writer says.
Protesters gather in a call for justice for George Floyd, a black man who died after a white policeman kneeled on his neck for several minutes in Minneapolis. What the killing of black men has shown is the how state power throughout the world is at times weaponised against black and vulnerable people and then subsequently abused to shield its enforcers from accountability, the writer says.
Image: KEREM YUCEL / AFP

For the past week, major cities in America have resembled war zones, as hundreds of protesters took to the streets to push back against an inherently unjust and racist law enforcement system that hunts down black people.

The killing of George Floyd by policeman Derek Chauvin on that Minneapolis pavement a week ago is synonymous with the daily brutality experienced by black Americans.

Subsequently, the state's handling of the matter, in full view of the world, is symptomatic of global systems where power is often used to protect the privilege from responsibility.

For example, the official postmortem of Floyd's body which suggested that underlying health problems and toxins had also contributed to his death must be seen in the context of attempts by that state to minimise full liability on Chauvin, who is now facing murder charges.

It is a tactic we know very well on our shores. The apartheid government, throughout its evil rule, had perfected the art of covering up its murders through dubious medical reports which absolved its officials and functionaries from liability.

Sadly, a week ago we lived through a kind of de javu when an internal investigation report by the South African National Defence Force cleared soldiers who assaulted Collins Khosa an Alexandra, Johannesburg, resident they had accused of non-compliance with lockdown regulations. The defence force seems, through questionable reasons, to have sought to completely delink the soldiers' violent actions to Khosa's death.

Both the Khosa and Floyd incidents are a demonstration of how state power throughout the world is at times weaponised against black and vulnerable people and then subsequently abused to shield its enforcers from accountability.

This is why as citizens across the globe we must always be vigilant against atrocities committed in our name and hold the line against governments that apply different rules for different people.

They must never be allowed to do so with impunity.

We must all use our voices, our platforms and our privilege, to create a world that not only recognises but actively respects that indeed black lives do matter.

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