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US protests over George Floyd’s death: Racism, Propaganda, Elections & Chinese influence

Ranabir Bhattacharyya

It has been more than 10 days since the death of George Floyd, a 46 year old man in Minneapolis and Donald Trump’s US is witnessing violent protests all over the country. Racism has been a reality in almost all countries and the journey of America has been on rough terrain right from Abraham Lincoln to Donald Trump in this regard. George Floyd was a ‘black’ man who died after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes, while George was lying handcuffed in the street. Call it death or homicide, the killing of George Floyd is a grim reminder of the abysmal societal scar on black lives in the richest country of the world. Amidst increasing concerns on the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the US which is already topping the list on death toll is going through the worst phase in Donald Trump’s tenure as the President of the USA.

Not just black, but all lives, irrespective of all differences, matter. The US is facing violent protests against the discrimination based on complexion but organised loots and other illegal activities are undermining the efforts of the rights activists. These are adding multiple dimensions to the whole turn of events after the death or alleged killing of George Floyd. Many people have pointed out George Floyd’s violent criminal history. It is true that George Floyd was sentenced to 5 years in prison in 2009 for an assault and robbery committed earlier, in fact he was also convicted after pleading guilty to entering a pregnant woman’s home while searching for money and drugs on gunpoint. But that doesn’t dilute the fact that there was gross human rights violation in George Floyd’s killing in broad daylight.

Call it lack of Police accountability, police racism and use of excessive force by the police – the fact remains that the anarchy and lawlessness indicate organised forces behind the whole episode. After all, there are people who are diverting the non-violent protests to a violent one. The incident of desecration of the Mahatma Gandhi statue outside the Indian Embassy in Washington during the protests indicate a gradual motivated diversion. The popularity of Donald Trump has reached its nadir and the Democrats are the ones who are clearly benefiting from the protests. As the country is proceeding towards Elections next year, the protests following George Floyd’s death can be decisive in shifting popular opinion among the masses. It is too early to predict that Joe Biden’s contest in the Election is to defeat Donald Trump. However, this case of Police racism has exposed the fragilities of the USA society.

Throughout the COVID-19 phase, US President Donald Trump has criticised China for its role in concealing facts regarding the deadly coronavirus. Not only that, he questioned the role of WHO, where the US is not going to continue the yearly funding as well. Many countries around the world have echoed concerns on the role of China and whether coronavirus is ‘Made in China’ or not. As the Trump administration is stuck in a deadlock with the protests and the President had to take refuge in a bunker, the situation is favouring China in minimizing the negative branding of the Communist state.

Social distancing has gone for a toss amidst the protests. There is definitely a sense of urgency to normalise the situation, though it doesn’t indicate normalisation of the crisis generated by racism. Frankly speaking, eradication of this social stigma is much needed in today’s USA. No doubt, in the geopolitical map, the internal situation of the US has a major role to play and the coming six months will be extremely crucial in deciding the fate of the world against the deadly coronavirus.

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