The brutal murder of George Floyd has caused an enormous mobilization not only in the United States, but around the world. The stupid case of hatred and race violence seems to have abruptly and radically demonstrated the level of ethnic tension that permeates American society. While investigations take place and the repercussions of the case increase, all sorts of hypotheses are raised about the causes and consequences of the barbaric crime, however, the proportions of the case seem to be getting completely out of control.
Protests against racism and police violence began immediately across America. Political activists, members of the black American community and members of various movements took to the streets to express their dissatisfaction with the structural racism that affects the United States. The focus of the protests began in Minnesota, where the crime was committed. However, the demonstrations quickly took on gigantic proportions and spread to almost every state in the country, including the capital, Washington, where, cornered by the violence of the protests, American President Donald Trump took refuge in a bunker at the White House.
Likewise, the protests seem to increasingly lose their shape, ceasing to be a strictly anti-racist and justice demonstration, to become a veritable chaos of riot and mass agglomeration, with looting of small businesses, vandalism, beatings and several other crimes being committed by the protesters. In response, in several American cities the mobilization to neutralize the protests is already total, including some of the organizations involved in the crimes committed during the demonstrations (such as the “ANTIFA” group) being declared criminals or terrorist groups.
Anyway, the situation is chaotic and the American government will have to contain it. In a presidential election year and being the global epicenter of a deadly pandemic, the United States is perhaps experiencing the worst period in its recent history. However, the stage of the protests is much more advanced and is no longer limited to the borders of American territory.
In Europe, in almost every country, people took to the streets to express their indignation over the death of George Floyd and the repeated cases of racism perpetrated in the US. In Germany, activists took to the streets in front of the American embassy and the demonstrations are raging day after day. The same can be seen in London, where protests are rising in front of the American diplomatic headquarters.
In Iran, Shiite Muslims had taken to the streets of the country’s capital, Tehran, as well as other cities, to say a great collective prayer for George Floyd. The night vigil demonstrated the strong historical support promoted by Washington’s geopolitical rivals for ethnic and social groups victimized by racial violence in the US – there has historically been a strong Muslim presence in the black American community. As well known, Iran has been a country heavily attacked by the United States for decades and is currently threatened by strict international sanctions imposed by Washington, which makes the Shiite vigil even more symbolic and meaningful.
Even in Oceania, protests are coming and taking place. In New Zealand, demonstrations are growing exponentially, indicating the most perfect universalization of the outrage over the death of George Floyd and racial American violence.
However, there is still something bigger behind these protests, which goes far beyond anti-racism and indignation over the Floyd case. Racial tensions in American society are a feature of the country’s history – they are an integral part of the US national formation itself. The tensions are not limited to the conflict between blacks and whites, but they spread to the Latin, Asian, indigenous, mestizo and all ethnic communities that exist on American soil. For more than a century, the constant confrontation between the different American peoples has led to barbaric crimes and violent demonstrations – the so-called “American riots”, which, in most cases, unfold in looting and lynching and immediately lose their political content.
It is in this context that during demonstrations by black and anti-racist movements, white power movements, racial supremacists, neo-Nazis and others also take to the streets to gather to face the demonstrations. Likewise, the presence of Indians, Latins and Asians grows, in a scenario of complete and absolute racial hatred of “all against all”.
In the current American crisis, with more than one hundred thousand killed by the new coronavirus, the growth of “riots” is the worst case scenario, since agglomerations of people are being seen across the country – and, still, generating a similar trend in the whole world. What will become of these people who go out to demonstrate in the midst of a pandemic? The result is already being showed: after the protests started, in just 24 hours, more than 19,000 new cases of COVID-19 were registered in the US.
How many more will die in the US? Still, in Europe, which is only now that normality is beginning to return, will crowds of protesters accelerate a second wave of infection?
Meanwhile, racial tensions are rising with protests and police is supported by the American government. The possible result may be a “carte blanche” for police to suppress protesters.
The “racial war” scenario seems an imminent reality, at least for the United States. The assassination of George Floyd was only the root cause of something that took on far greater proportions. Today we can say that, truly, there is a manipulation of the reactions to the murder in order to incite more conflicts and generate more pressure on the American government.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.