What should Africa’s response be to George Floyd’s murder case? We have seen statements from American businesses such as the NFL and Apple. What they are doing is performative solidarity that doesn’t change anything. Before issuing a statement of solidarity, Roger Gooddell can start by bringing Kaepernick back to the league.
My take is that the African Union should take the unprecedented step of imposing sanctions on the US. The US needs Africa more than it would publicly acknowledge. Africa has the resources the West needs, it should use those resources as leverage to assert its power.
Human rights are global rights, and everyone is entitled to them irrespective of their own country. No country has the right to violate these rights. Historically, the US has consistently violated human rights without any consequences. The violence our country was built on, the slavery that led to its economic prosperity, the Jim Crow, and the New Jim Crow laws and practices, are all a part of the historical exploitation and dehumanization of Black and Brown bodies.
America cannot continue to bomb and sanction other parts of the world under the disguise that it is spreading liberty and freedom. In his speech before the invasion of Iraq, President Georgetown Bush said, “Freedom is not America’s gift to the world but God’s gift to humanity.” The idea was that America was doing God’s work invading Iraq. A new mission civilisatrice! How can America offer the world what it doesn’t give its Black and Brown citizens? How long can we as Black bodies continue to live and accept this trauma that we call America?
The police are supposed to protect us, but each time I see them, I cringe. Each time I see a police car behind me or beside me, I have panic attacks. I’ve had my fair share of traumatic experiences with American cops: a cop has pulled a gun on me; I’ve had cops pulled me over and yelled through loudspeakers that I should put my hands on the dash; my car has been subjected to illegal searches by cops; Cops have questioned me if I am carrying drugs in my car; this past January, I had a police officer interrogate me on why I was flying out of Newark airport and not an airport closer to my home as if I do not have the right to fly from whatever airport I want. These incidents happened in Blue states, Purple states, and Red states.
The starting point is for us to acknowledge that America is a racist state – its institutions are racist. The George Floyd case isn’t one bad cop misbehaving, it is a revelation that the whole American system is structured to perpetuate the genocide of Black and Brown bodies. When we accept this fact, we can treat America as a rogue nation that needs to be sanctioned.