By Momodou Sabally
The death of George Floyd is a tragic event that shocked conscientious people across the racial and political divide. This scar on humanity’s conscience can only be removed with the sounding of a death knell against injustice and discrimination against African Americans and all disadvantaged racial minorities across the globe.
The Black Lives Matter movement has indeed made their presence felt in the United States of America and they must be commended. But just like the ANC could not stop apartheid with global support, African Americans need the solidity and support of governments, private institutions, individuals and multilateral behemoths like the African Union to be able to effect meaningful change in how America treats her citizens of African origin.
If the knee-jerk response of Colin Kaepernick and his allies are not to go in vain, then the strangulation of George Floyd at the knees of the American law enforcement must get the rest of the world off their knees and lift them from prayers and appeals to collective action that would send the American oppressive beast back to her senses.
A nation that could not be moved to completely stop their cycles of injustice more than seven score years after Abraham Lincoln made the clarion admonition in his Gettysburg address will not listen to any speeches in the hollow, cold halls of the United Nations anytime soon. A country that would not heed the echoes of Lincoln’s voice in Martin Luther King’s sermons, would certainly need a rude awakening from a global coalition of determined voices committed to inspired ACTION. Here are the words of M.L.K. as delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, on 4 July 1965. certainly these are not mere mortal musings, there is something otherworldly about their psalmic cadence:
“But now more than ever before, America is challenged to realize its dream, for the shape of the world today does not permit our nation the luxury of an anemic democracy. And the price that America must pay for the continued oppression of the Negro and other minority groups is the price of its own destruction. (Yes it is) For the hour is late. And the clock of destiny is ticking out. We must act now before it is too late.”
The injustice that killed George Floyd has deep roots that need to be well examined and destroyed. America must reboot her own romanticised narrative by telling her children that the history of the land of the free did not start with the revolution that sent their British cousins sailing back home across the Atlantic. America must come to terms with her bloody past vis-a-vis the Indians that were massacred in their own land and made to remain on the fringes of the country that welcomes her visitors with the allure of the Statue of Liberty.
The United States of America must admit and acknowledge the fact that while Thomas Jefferson gave them their sacred birth certificate that entrenched life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that same wise old man owned and abused innocent Africans that gave birth to his own scions. America must confess her sins of slavery and move on with genuine and sincere affirmative action devoid of the condescending pretentions of tokenisms like the Obama Presidency that may have left America a better country as a whole but did nothing to significantly improve the lot of the African American population.
To foster a faster evolution of the foregoing proposal, the world must come together to call to order the global police and universal enforcer of the rights and dignity of all people, the USA. A mixture of targeted sanctions, global admonition and mass protests in cities around the world as well as social media advocacy for concerted action would surely make a dent in the white supremacist universe of a country so unfortunate as the have a narcissistic bigot like Donal Trump as their President.
The founding fathers knew that America was not perfect but the most sanguine souls among them trusted in the potential of their bequeathal to continuously self-correct towards a “more perfect Union”. America in the age of Trump cannot do this on its own, a global movement-cum-prime-mover is needed to kickstart this process.
We must not miss the opportunity presented by the George Floyd tragedy. America must pay for the cumulative karmic debt of occupation, slavery and racial discrimination. The time for that is NOW.
Former Presidential Affairs Minister and International Speaker, Momodou Sabally is a prolific author and President of the youth mentorship foundation, Sabally Leadership Academy (SLA).