Translated from Bengali article by Moumita Parvin
America has not seen such massive countrywide protests against state repression, violence and police brutality since the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. We are onlooking the same public outrage in this great crisis of coronavirus in 2020.
In this health crisis, millions of young people are protesting keeping aside the stipulations of the lockdown and social distancing. They are protesting against the police brutality and murder of an unarmed black man George Floyd. A photo is viral today across the world: an armed police officer knelt on a black man’s neck, suffocating him to death in Minneapolis. People are speechless. Sympathetic people cried after seeing this situation of America.
People are protesting across the U.S. — Minneapolis to Chicago, New York, Washington DC, and West’s Los Angeles, South’s Houston and Dallas. Even little cities are protesting where this kind of police brutality and murder took place.
Among this, Missouri’s Ferguson is also protesting where police shot a black man, Michael Brown in 2014. In New York’s Bronx police killed an African man, Amadou Diallo at night without any valid reason. In New York’s Queens a black man Sean Bell was coming back from his bachelor’s party. Police killed this man by submachine gun at the night before his wedding. In 2015 Police killed at least 100 unarmed people without any valid reason in America.
African Americans were looked down upon, called negroes, and tortured for 400 years. For 200 years they faced a barbaric slavery. Then for another 100 years they were victims of inequality on all fronts. Their human rights were trampled. In Southern Illinois, where I lived for almost five years, I have seen relics of separate bathrooms and water taps for white and black people. I was shocked. It reminded me of the barbarism of the caste system in India.
Yes, violence is also here in this outrage in America. This is sometimes a part of the truth. Here 100,000 people died in just 2 months. There is procession of death in this Dreamland. Among these 100,000 deaths, most are black people. They are suffering from forced poverty and illiteracy their whole lives. Public transportation is outrageously inadequate in their neighborhoods. Government hospitals and health centers are being closed one by one. America’s armed police forces can enter anytime in their housing projects, and kill anyone without any proper investigation. If they are lucky, then they have to spend the rest of their lives in private prison. This type of private jails constructed in many parts in India today. The similarities are not coincidental.
I don’t support violence of any form. But I support these protests 100 percent. Protests are taking place in every corner of the cities, parks or schools and colleges across America. I know this America, and I’m proud of this America.
I was not here when Dr King was murdered in Memphis. Later I came to know how much shock and sadness it created. People came out to protest in deep pain and grief. Not only blacks but also whites came out to protest. Like, we have seen all the people who took part in environment and climate movement defying race, color or religion. Likewise, after 9/11’s terrorist attacks people raised their voice for poor, innocent immigrants who were forcefully thrown in jail. Or in America millions of people protested against the Iraq war even at -10°C.
I was also there in those marches and rallies. Even today I am with them. This non violent stream of people can throw out any oppressive, corrupt rulers. This is the lesson of history.
Brooklyn, New York