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By any means necessary

19th Jun 2020
By any means necessary

Mohamed Hassan

The murder of George Floyd by deliberate asphyxiation by Minnesota police in the full glare of social media has unleashed a flood of protests, especially in the white supremacist Anglo-Saxon countries.

The anger of witnessing the murder of an unarmed Afro-American was compounded by the reluctance of the Minnesota Police Department to admit any wrong.

Indeed, their official autopsy did not find any evidence of asphyxiation, knowing this to be standard fare for the police killing of Black people in the US, the family commissioned their own autopsy. This duly found asphyxiation as the cause of death.

Protests had already started at this glaring injustice and quickly led to a predictable response from President Donald Trump and his cheerleaders.

Attempts to brand protesters as “terrorists” only inflamed the situation further. The Minnesota authorities tried to level a third-degree homicide charge against one of the policemen involved. However, as the protests continued and became national, the authorities charged the other three policemen involved with abetting the killing of Floyd.

Meanwhile, the Trump crowd resorted to their standard tactic of overwhelming force to combat the anger on the streets. At one stage, Trump even considered deploying the US army to quell the protests. The army chiefs had to dissuade him from this barbarity.

To keep his evangelical backers on board, the President even arranged for a photo op with a bible in his hand after ordering the National Guard to clear the massed peaceful protesters outside the White House with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Reverend Earl Sharpton, in his sermon at Floyd’s funeral, called this “evil in high places” and cast it as symbolic of the whole white supremacist culture infesting American society.

The Black Lives Matter protest has now gone global and started to have major reverberation in Britain as well as other countries. In Bristol, the anger culminated in the toppling and dumping into the river of the bronze statue of the prominent slave trader, Edward Colston.

This largely symbolic gesture has unleashed demands for re-visiting the whole edifice of white racism embedded in British society. Labour held councils have already started to look at symbols of this mentality in their boroughs. Conservative councils are resisting and trying to justify their great heroes.

The Conservative Government has tried to become the champion of law and order in defence of the status quo but finds itself helpless against mass anger.

Ironically, the role of extremism in defence of liberty was articulated by the late Malcolm X (Malik el-Shabazz) at his Oxford University Union address on December 3, 1964. He opened his remarks with the words: “… the necessity, sometimes, of extremism, in defence of liberty, why it is no vice and why moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue …”

The electrifying address, one of his last before his assassination, captures a genre of thinking which followed and continues to divide opinion between champions of justice and those of unjust embedded privilege.

Thus, Nelson Mandela was branded a “terrorist” by Margret Thatcher, the mentor of Boris Johnson and his extremist administration.

A more telling example of enduring injustice is that of labelling resistance to decades of barbaric ethnic cleansing in Palestine as terrorism. Indeed, even non-violence resistance to this atrocity in the form of boycott movements is being criminalised in the US and Europe.

In the wake of the protests following the murder of Floyd, the far right, which had taken umbrage under Islamophobia to avoid persecution under anti-racism legislation, is once more showing its true White supremacist colours.

The last word summarising the Trump, Johnson, Benyamin Netanyahu, Viktor Orbán and Narendra Modi genre of leaders belongs to Nigel Farage.
‘A new form of Taliban was born in the UK today’, tweeted the Brexit Party Leader, in reference to the toppling of the Colston statue.

‘Unless we get moral leadership quickly, our cities won’t be worth living in.’ (Financial Times, Floyd killing releases pent-up anger in Britain, June 8). The stakes cannot be higher.

One Response to “By any means necessary”

Muhammad Isa WaleyJune 20, 2020

Bism Allah al-Rahman al-Rahim
Thanks to Mohamed Hassan for this timely piece. May I offer a a couple of corrections? To “take umbrage” means to take offence, not to take shelter. Also, I am no admirer of Margaret Thatcher and never was; but the persistent allegation that she called, or considered, Nelson Mandela a terrorist does not seem to be based on any sound evidence. Eventually. Thatcher called for his release in the interest of getting peaceful political change in South Africa. (Before that, she refused the demands of the apartheid regime that she crack down on ANC activists in the UK and deport Joe Slovo, one of its leading figures. She also refused to supply aircraft to the SA apartheid government.) Muslims are warned in the Qur’an to check their facts. Wa s-salam.


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