By Atlanta Mahanta
Black Lives Matter (#BlackLivesMatter), is an activist campaign that started as a hashtag after the death of unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin, who was killed in Florida in July 2013, acquitting George Zimmerman. Since two major murders of unarmed Afro-American men (Eric Garner on Staten Island, NY and Michael Brown on Ferguson, MO) in 2014, the campaign has become more prevalent and popular. None have been convicted (i.e. formally charged with a crime) of the Police officers involved in the deaths.
African-American men and boys who had been killed by the police, many of whom, including George Floyd, were unarmed, had a deeper historical background. Since 2014, other high profile deaths have occurred including Tamir Rice (2014), Laquan McDonald (2014), John Crawford (2014) Freddie Gray (2015), Walter Scott (2015), Alton Sterling (2016). Black women and girls are still victims of police brutality, a fact that has sparked the campaign ‘Say Her Name’ to point out how abuse still goes unnoticed. Sandra Bland (2015), Deborah Danner (2016), Atatiana Jefferson (2019) and Breonna Taylor (2020) are the women who were killed as a result of police encounters.
The Black Lives Matter campaign has brought widespread visibility and debate through simultaneous local and national marches and other acts – mostly triggered by the deaths of other African American unarmed citizens. Black Lives activists have released the ‘Campaign Zero’ which includes ten policies developed with campaigners, protestors and researchers across the country that integrate community demand, research organizations’ inputs and the 21st Century Police President’s Task Force.
Ethnic pygmies experience racial discrimination against Bantu communities in Central Africa. Physically and genetically, pygmies and bantus differ as long-term developmental isolation persists before they return to near contact with the growth of Bantu. The Bantu peoples, which have persisted into modern times, have targeted Pygmies for slavery. In 2001, racial tribal violence and religious bigotry surged on the Ivory Coast.
In 2004, in Abidjan the Young Patriots of Abidjan, an organization which had a powerful nationalist influence, mobilized by state media, robbed foreign people. Then followed abuse and beatings of European and Lebanese descendants. There have been no deaths confirmed. Despite abolishing it from 1980, slavery continues in Mauritania, and primarily affects the descendants of Black Africans taken into slavery who now live like “black Moors” or haratin in Mauritania and still partly serve as slaves the “White Moors” or bidhan.
The people of Herero, led by Samuel Maharero, were rebellious against colonial rule by Germany on 12 January 1904. In 1985, the UN Whitaker Report categorised the aftermath as one of the earliest attempts to exterminate the peoples of Herero and Nama in South-West Africa during the 20th century. Niger announced in October 2006 that it would expel the “Diffa Arabs,” Arab residents of Diffa in eastern Niger, to Chad in October 2006.
In South Africa, racists are still prevalent. Nevertheless, South Africa’s racism precedes and includes far more than the institutionalized racism of apartheid, as it may have abolished the legal structure that allows institutionalized racism. During the Second Sudanese Civil War, people were taken into slavery; estimates of abductions range from 14,000 to 200,000. In the 1970s, the region was affected by colonial policies in Uganda and other eastern African countries. The British in the 19th century colonized Zimbabwe and placed on their land a colonial economic and social organisation.
In Capital, Marx writes: The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the indigenous population of the continent, the beginnings of the conquest and plunder of India, and the conversion of Africa into a preserve for the commercial hunting of black skins are all things that characterize the dawn of the era of capitalist production.
It’s a common conversation these days: One person says, “Black lives matter.” Then another responds, “No, all lives matter.” It’s also a complete misunderstanding of what the phrase “black lives matter” means. The person on the receiving end interprets the phrase as “black lives matter more than any other lives.” But the point of Black Lives Matter isn’t to suggest that black lives should be or are more important than all other lives. Instead, it’s simply pointing out that black people’s lives are relatively undervalued in the US. – By German Lopez in Vox.