The Relation Between the Police in America and the Middle East

The date is December 17th, 2010 and the setting is Tunisia. Mohamed Bouazizi, a humble 26 year old vegetable seller is carrying on with his daily business. One of the municipal officials and her aides decide to confiscate his belongings as well as humiliate him publicly. It is important to note that this single event was not the catalyst, but it was the culmination of many abuses of Ben Ali’s regime. Bouazizi’s retaliation was amongst the most symbolic acts of protests in the 20th century, to light himself on fire, an act that would claim his life. Such an act is reminiscent of Tibetan Monks protesting the Chinese government or even the great Carthaginian Commander Hannibal who poisoned himself as a last act of defiance against the Romans. Unbeknownst to Bouazizi, this act would trigger waves of protest across the surrounding nations, the likes of which would topple regimes, including his own.

police

Fast forward to August 9th, 2014. This time, the location of the event is across the world in the American town of Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown, a young black man, is walking in the middle of the road and is confronted by officer Darren Wilson. An unarmed Brown is shot and killed, his body left on the ground for hours before it is removed. This event was not the first of its kind and certainly not the last. Years earlier, unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin is shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Florida. More recently, an older black man and Coast Guard veteran was shot in the back several times and killed while trying to flee from a police officer. The victim’s name was Walter Scott and the perpetrator was Michael Slager, an officer from North Charleston, South Carolina.

boubrown

In examining the cases of Bouazizi and Michael Brown, along with many similar cases from both regions, it becomes evident that the two events share a common factor. This is that those charged with protecting their respective constituents have engaged in unfair and illegal abuses against those very individuals. Why compare two parts of the world that have been at odds for much of recent history? This comparison reveals that even in two areas that consider themselves radically different from one another, similar problems would reveal otherwise. The fact of the matter is that there may be truth in the fact that the international community is more linked than may be immediately visible. The common denominator here is police brutality and abuse of power, which is unchecked by governments. This is an issue that must be confronted internationally whether it be in America, Tunisia, or other areas such as Hong Kong or Russia. The belief that this issue is specific to one location is a very dangerous misconception and when it begins to be viewed as a global problem, it can be unilaterally targeted and solved. Until this is done, it is likely that the international community will continue to live in fear of the very people that are tasked with protecting them.

jkj

Advertisements

Racism and the International Black Community

It has been years since Barack Obama became the first black President of the United States and the most powerful individual on the planet. It has been even longer since Nelson Mandela emerged triumphantly from the South African apartheid state as their new president. Given the progress of the black community internationally, does racism continue to affect this demographic? In examining the circumstances of a few nations, the reality of the situation become much more evident.

obama

It is only fitting that the first nation to be discussed is United States given its standing in international politics and its image as a beacon of equality. The most recent news on the topic highlights police bias towards African Americans, which has lead to a high number of black deaths. One figure, for example, reveals that over 5,000 civilians (mainly latino and black Americans) have been killed by a predominantly white police force. An equally serious issue is the denial of this racism by many politicians, despite the fact that it has been proven. Many individuals of significant influence, mostly in the GOP, attempt to maintain the status quo, which is not an issue. In this case, however, the status quo is plagued with racism. A recent report from the Justice Department finds that Ferguson Police Department has taken a predatory approach to policing. In examining these facts surrounding the racism within the United States, it becomes evident that a serious change is necessary if they are to uphold their underserved reputation.

black

After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, one of the closest nations is the United Kingdom, which is also a melting pot of cultures for various reason such as university or employment. This Western nation, which at one point commanded an empire extending across various regions, also struggles with racial prejudice. While the current issue in the nation is Islamophobia, racism towards the black population is evident in everyday culture. A large discussion recently is being had in regards to racism in football. This was spurred by a video displaying fans of the Chelsea football team chanting racist slurs and not allowing a black man to enter a train in Paris. Given the location of this incident and the fact that the bystanders did not discourage these passengers, it is fair to conclude that France also suffers from this form of racism to some degree.

ehti

The final country that will be examined is Israel. This nation is often made out to be a center of tolerance and democracy in an otherwise intolerant region. The validity of this perception is as relevant as the treatment of their black community. In this specific case, the racism targets Ethiopian Jews and it is severe. This population faces constant discrimination in the form of verbal and physical abuse, unequal socioeconomic conditions, and even deportation. Despite the right of return that is afforded all Jews in the nation, their is a definite biased approach to granting asylum to African refugees. Out of 17,778 Africans, mostly Jews, only 45 have been granting refugee status. The rest were denied and withdrawn or even imprisoned. This reveals a pattern of racist behavior within the Israeli nation.

These nations all share one significant similarity, which is that they are all democracies which are held in high regards. The reason for which they have been chosen is to demonstrate that racism against the black community is very well alive and flourishing today. It reveals that this reality can be found anywhere and even those nations whose fundamental principles oppose it, are guilty of creating such an atmosphere. Although the international community has come a long way, they still have a long way to go.