It all started with a seat dispute! On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, an American African civil rights activist Rosa Parks was jailed after she refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man. Her act amounted to a brazen violation of the city’s racial segregation laws, a Montgomery city ordinance in 1955, according to which, ‘African Americans were required to sit at the back of public buses and were also obligated to give up those seats to white riders if the front of the bus filled up’.
Following Parks’ arrest, the African American activists immediately called for a bus boycott. The successful Montgomery Bus Boycott was organized by a young Baptist minister named Martin Luther King, Jr.
Addressing the gathering at a Church, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The great glory of American democracy is the right to protest for right.” The rest is history. Martin Luther King, Jr. emerged as the great leader of African Americans and each and every human being who faced racial discrimination world across. Martin Luther King, Jr. through peaceful means reinvented the non-violent civil disobedient movement spearheaded by Mahatma Gandhi and won the mass support to make it a huge success in the modern world.
Notably, Rosa Parks incident and corresponding legislature date back to 1955, a century after Abraham Lincoln abolished the ‘practice’ of slavery in the United States. Lincoln’s America had no qualms in practising such a discriminatory law in 1955. Since then, much water has flown down the Mississippi river. Now the brutal murder of George Floyd and its aftermath show the life of an average African American remains more or less unchanged, proving the fact that mere legislatures have failed to bring in equality and social change.
The violent protests against the racisms in the US sparked by isolated incidents clearly show one thing that the American society has not undergone a radical social reformation or renaissance apart from peripheral Christian-liberal makeovers and the so-called progressive humbugs. The policymakers and leaders missed their opportunity to transform the conditions that have contributed to these rebellions.A cursory look at the political timeline of the USA provides a lucid picture of the entire scenario. Every one or two decades, the USA witnessed massive riots or social unrests across the country, sparked by racial discrimination and subsequent violence. The lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955, Rosa Parks incident, the Watts riots in 1965, Rodney King, LA riots in 1991, Troy Davis execution in 2008, shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012 etc. stand witnesses to this narrative.
Pattern of Rioting
Why are the genuine protests engaged in rampant looting is a question needs to be answered. Looting, violence and arsons were reported from a number of cities in the days after the death of Mr Floyd in Minneapolis. In Minneapolis, records show 25 of the 312 people booked into the county jail since May 26 listed addresses outside the state.
According to a report, ‘Any time large groups of angry people gather spontaneously, property damage is common.’ Unlike in the past, the so-called protesters do not spare even small businesses.
Looters have reportedly trashed stores and stolen merchandise in Santa Monica. There have also been reports of looters in Minneapolis, New York and elsewhere. In their report, Reuters also cited court and police records from some of the cities where violence erupted — Baltimore, Minneapolis and Washington — that show most of the people the police had charged with rioting, property damage and violent offences over the weekend lived either in those cities or in nearby suburbs.
However, liberal scholars justify the looting by equating it with murder! They argue that unprovoked police violence against both black people and peaceful protesters is the larger societal problem, and no amount of stolen merchandise will ever equal the loss of even a single human life! An organised social media campaign was also seen defending the looting online with the quote "merchandise can be replaced, black lives cannot".
The murder of George Floyd was the latest in this series of incidents of police atrocity on the African Americans. According to experts, the law enforcement officials across the U.S. have a much longer history of killing black people. “Too often people look at the contemporary issue, the issue that is going on right now but not understanding that all that is happening is seeped in 400 years of legacy of injustice,” , says Jennifer Cobbina, a criminal justice professor at Michigan State University says, adding, “These past grievances, past harms by law enforcement, need to be addressed before even attempting to move forward.”
During the American Civil War (1861-1865), of the total 34 states, 15 were slave states, where citizens of towns and cities would patrol their communities to prevent burglaries, arson and maintain order. The system was called ‘slave patrol’. It was actually a volunteer force consisting of white men who surveyed and attacked black people and anyone who tried to help them escape. “Everything that you can think of that a police officer can do today, they did it,” says Sally Hadden, a history professor at Western Michigan University who researches slave patrols. “The biggest thing is that they were race-focused as opposed to the police today, who should be race-neutral in their enforcement of law,” she says.
In 1967, Martin Luther King stated an idea that has circulated widely in recent days amid the on-going rampant riots and looting: “A riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? … It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity … as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again.”
As the George Floyd protests spread even outside the USA, we witness a genuine protest gives way to unjust riots, murders and robberies, leading society to a total anarchy, which is unacceptable in any civilised society. The Left-Liberals are eulogizing the riots and violence, giving new ideological interpretations to anti-social and criminal tendencies. Vandalising the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, which was installed in front of the Indian Embassy, casts doubts on the intentions of those who misguide a genuine protest and its underlying cause.
Those who misrepresent Martin Luther King Jr. conveniently forget the fact that the actual thrust of his philosophy, which made him popular and acceptable beyond borders. Reinventing the Islamist life of Malcolm X and romanticising Martin Luther’s call for riots will only help to defeat the principles and values the duo stood for. That’s what the Left-Islamist-Liberal conglomerate actually wants.