The Financial Express

Addressing systemic flaws to establish justice

Nilratan Halder   | Published: June 11, 2020 22:31:06

Mourners pay tribute to George Floyd as pressure mounts for US police reform  --Photo: Reuters Mourners pay tribute to George Floyd as pressure mounts for US police reform --Photo: Reuters

Ever since the outbreak of coronavirus as a pandemic, no news has overtaken that of the unprecedented disease until the massive protests against stifling George Floyd to death by a police officer in America. Even the fallouts of economic downturn threatening to overtake the Great Depression were pushed on to the sideline. It is not for the first time that black Americans have succumbed to police brutality in that country taking pride in labelling itself as champions of democracy.

The explosion of continued protests all over the United States of America and its reverberation across the Atlantic in France, the United Kingdom, other European and even Asia-Pacific, Latin American and African countries for the first time since March relegated the pandemic news to a backburner, if only in a fleeting manner. Thousands of Americans -irrespective of the colour of their skin -took to the street with scant regard for coronavirus infection. The image of a police officer's kneeling on the neck of Jeorge Floyd until the latter's death has outraged human conscience the world over.

What is special about bringing the life of a black American to the end in that outrageous manner when such deaths at the hands of cops in the 'most advanced country' are not quite unprecedented? Even though it was the largest rally demanding justice for the black Americans since the days of Martin Luther King, there was no guarantee of healing the putrid sore left uncared for generation after generation.

A black man's death has shaken the juggernaut based on colour prejudice and psychic white supremacy but will the deceased man now held as a representative of gross injustice to the black people inherent in the US dispensation system bring about a real change once for all. Demands are vociferous for punishment to the accused and Minneapolis attorney general has been forced to substitute the third degree murder charge with the second degree (meaning with intent to kill) against Derek Chauvin, the police officer who kneeled on Floyd's neck. Three other ex-officers of the contingent have also been implicated for 'aiding and abetting' in the second-degree murder charge.

Suggestions are there for reforming legislature, the police, changing the agency's training system apart from a stream of rhetoric coming from all directions. That white supremacists and corporate lobby as represented by President Donald Trump tried to subvert the protest movement by infiltrating in the rallies elements of arsonists and looters has been proved by the successive days' peaceful rallies. The last rite to bid farewell to George Floyd looked more festive than mourning as if victory has been achieved.

No, there is a long way to go before society gets consolidated on the foundation of equality of all people and justice to the poor and the underprivileged. No nation has been able to establish an egalitarian society as yet. It is the privileged and the wealthy who call the shots and reap the lion's share of benefits from filthy, outrageous amount of wealth creation at the cost of the majority of the peoples everywhere. Much as Floyd may be hailed as a symbol of civil and human rights, a desirable change depends on legal reforms to be executed by the administration with help of mass social engagement.

Even the police are not aware that they are just the tools being used by the more privileged than the rest. Even in time of this pandemic when many members of the law enforcement agency in general have been giving a good account of themselves, there are instances of aberration.

Incidents like this in many Third world countries, many of which were colonies of Western powers, are quite common. That is expected because systemic flaws have been allowed to continue or attended half-heartedly. The police of these countries could not be transformed into a pro-people agency from the one shaped by the British, French Dutch, Portugese colonial rulers. The agency on the British isle and the one in the sub-continent were totally different in maintaining public order and protecting civil rights even at the time when it was said the sun never set in the British empire.

This is a further confirmation of the convenient use of forces by the elite of society suiting their purposes in order to suppress the distressed humanity and perpetuate social disparities. The colonial barbarity is now unleashed on own subjects in independent countries. Sure enough, the beneficiaries will not want a change in the system but should the oppressed and the underprivileged put up with the injustice for eternity? That is the key question either in America or in other countries. An answer to this question should be found out in the interest of the human race before it reaches a point of no return.



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