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A Publication
on The Status of
Adivasi Populations
of India




Ferguson, An International Dateline, A Yearning For Life, A Call To Resist Injustice

By Farooque Chowdhury

25 November, 2014

Ferguson is now an international dateline. The name now symbolizes sectarian divide; the name now demystifies democracy in a bourgeois democracy; the name now shows stunned justice; the name now produces protests; and the name now expresses yearning for life and love.

Photographs now Ferguson is generating from its razing streets show a denial of injustice. The photographs are rare. These are rare not only in the US, the land much propagated as the land of opportunity, but also in the lands the World Empire advises on ways to ensure justice, democracy, accountability. Ferguson now shows the shameless face, the standing without any morality of the Empire as it will not cease advising other people in other lands on justice and democracy. Ferguson now shows the shameless face of the Empire’s cohorts and lieutenants as the cohorts and lieutenants will not stop marketing the democracy-advices the Empire has ordered them to carry on. Ferguson now shows the limits of bourgeois political science as the political scientists from the camp had no time to look into the face of Ferguson, into the heart of Ferguson, into the stomach of Ferguson. Ferguson now shows the urgency and the grave situation as at the White House, the US president Obama made an unusual late-night appearance to appeal for peaceful protest and “care and restraint” from law enforcement. How many times how many US presidents appeared late-night to make an appeal? How many times this happened in the Third and Fourth World countries? Doesn’t the incident show the intensity of public anger and rage against a system that appears failing?

From city to city, from coast to coast in the US, protests flared up. In New York, in Los Angeles, in Washington DC, in Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis and Oakland, in other large and small cities and towns, thousands of citizens participated in marches with their right to protest, a democratic right. At the heart of the protests is Mike Brown, an unarmed 18-year black boy killed in Ferguson. But who can console Mike Brown’s mother, the lady, who lost her 18-year son. Only mothers the world over know the pain of losing a son.

What’s the rallying cry of the citizens protesting the killing and the jury decision? It’s not only the refrain “hands up, don’t shoot” and “black lives matter”, it’s not only against police brutality and killings across the US; it’s also for a safe life, for a dignified life, for a life with equal rights and opportunities, for a society with love for life.

Ethan Jury, a protester in Philadelphia said, as an AP report quoted, “Mike Brown is an emblem. This country is at its boiling point. How many people need to die? How many black people need to die?” The statement expresses the pain and the yearning in unequivocal term. It’s an old yearning, an old dream, a dream for centuries, a dream that kept MLK awake.

Police cars, buildings and stores were vandalized and set on fire in Ferguson. Police fired smoke canisters and tear gas made cloud over the Ferguson streets. In Seattle, protesting citizens sat down in city intersections. They blocked traffic. In California, protesters flooded the lanes of freeways. In Oakland, protesters blocked traffic on an Interstate. In St. Louis, protesters shut down another Interstate. In Los Angeles, protesters shut down lanes of an Interstate. Outside the White House, citizens chanted: “Justice for Michael Brown”. Doesn’t the sound reach the White House? But justice requires socioeconomic conditions, justice requires political conditions.

A news report quoted a teacher: Mike Arnold: “There’s clearly a license for violence against minorities, specifically blacks. It happens all the time. Something’s got to be done about it. Hopefully this will be a turning point.” A New York Times report quoted a Ferguson lady: “The system failed us again”. Brien Redmon, another citizen, said: “This is not about vandalizing. This is about fighting a police organization that doesn’t care about the lives they serve.” Thomas Perry, another citizen, said: “I support my people who are out there doing it. For years they’ve been taking from us. We don’t care.” Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, cried: “They wrong! Y’all know y’all wrong!’” The reality gets exposed with the statements: “A license for violence”, “y’all wrong”, and “I support my people”.

Now, there is Eric Garner, a Staten Island man killed by a police chokehold earlier this year. Now, there is a homeless Denver street preacher, who died as a result of use of excessive force. Now, there is Rodney King, a Los Angeles citizen beaten by police. Now, there is Tamir Rice, a 12-year old victim of a fatal shooting at Cleveland. Now, there are many citizens including a professor, all victims of brutality. They are all there in the protests, in the protesting hearts.

A chaotic situation saw bottles and rocks thrown at officers, smashed windows of stores, burned out police cars, buildings, about a dozen, a meat market and a storage facility set on fire. Shops were looted and burned. Gun shots were heard. This was a snap from the streets of Ferguson. According to media reports, St. Louis County police officers reported heavy automatic gunfire. Flights to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport were not permitted to land. There is report of deployment of National Guard to Ferguson to provide security for the police headquarters. There were smoke bombs, tear gas, thrown rocks and random gunshots.

What would have been the advice by the emissaries from the Empire to another peripheral country had there been similar situation? The reality is shameless. Power is shameless. Shameless is audacity.

But the questions move on: What’s the source of the rage and anger? Why there is failure to address the source? Is it indifference? Is it audacity that gets out from the seemingly limitless power? Is it a failure of a socio-economic system, of a political system? Answers to the questions depend on the person looking for, on his world view, on his view to questions related to socio-economy. MLK’s dream lives on, his dream lives on to listen the ringing from bell of freedom from all the valleys, from all the towns, from all the mountains whatever the answers, whoever searches the answers.

Farooque Chowdhury is Dhaka-based freelancer.






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