As the whole world is thunderstruck by the unfolding scenes of massive anger-fuelled protests in the United States of America (US) over the barbaric and savage killing of an unarmed Black man – George Floyd – by four White police officers, one can not help being engulfed by a similar sense of repulsion and outrage at this seemingly never-ending pattern of the vile contempt of the sanctity of human life by the police force – not just in the US, but throughout the world.
Furthermore, in the US, this is not merely about police brutality, but the apparent racist nature of this senseless violence – in which, according to recent statistics, far much more Black men are likely to be killed at the hands of White police officers per 100,000, than White men. Thus, the fury being vented on the streets of most major cities in that country – most notably, in Minneapolis where this villainous act occured – is perfectly understandable.
In fact, the US has had an uneviable long dark history of racially-inspired brutality – spanning back to the days of slavery, culminating in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, with the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks – yet, has never been completely and satisfactory purged out of the nation’s system.
However, what some of us on the other side of the globe – Africa in general, and Zimbabwe in particular – have found especially disturbing is the police brutality aspect of the whole scenario, as we can easily identify with the Americans, for we have endured such untold heartlessness and barbarity for as long as anyone of us can dare remember.
Similar to our US comrades, we also have been subjected to police brutality, notably not only as a form of state repression, but also irrational cruelty on the part of an apparently poorly trained institution.
Disconcerting scenes of police officers discharging unparalleled ferociousness on an unarmed and defenceless people, are not uncommon – especially, when dealing with anti-government activities and protests – with the cold-hearted beating up of the elderly, and women not even taboo for these officers.
Moreover, lately, in the wake of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown, this menace has witnessed a worrying upsurge, as law enforcement agents have excitably doled out instant justice on supposed ‘law breakers’, with ferocious zealousness – leading to the death of some victims, whilst the ‘fortunate’ ones (for lack of a better word), have been left heart-rendingly severely bruised, and obviously, psychologically traumatized for the rest of their lives.
Nonetheless, what has pushed me to write this article is not necessary the issue of police brutality per se – as disturbing as it is – but, the seemingly lopsided and double-standard global approach to these cases.
Whilst, it is completely justifiable for the world to be utterly disgusted and outraged over the recent and recurring incidents in the US, of White on Black police brutality – there is, however, an uncanny and unsettling deafening global silence when it pertains to Black on Black police brutality, which is largely experienced this side of the planet.
Could there be some underlying and unexplained reason for this? Because, quite frankly, most of us are failing to put our heads around this.
If I am not mistaken, the last time any real and significant united global outpouring of rage over police brutality that had taken place in countries such as Zimbabwe, and even South Africa, were during the colonial and apartheid days – when the violence was largely, though not limited, perpetrated at the hands of White officers, and sanctioned by a White regime, against a predominantly defenceless Black population.
Similar, to what is transpiring in the US today.
Needless to say, ever since we attained our so-called ‘independence’ from colonial and apartheid rule, despite the fact that the police brutality continues largely unabated, the world suddenly appeared not to see it anymore.
It was as if, just because it had morphed into Black on Black police brutality, it had instantly become camouflaged – and blended into itself, such that it had become invisible.
Where as, such police brutality, carried out during the colonial and apartheid era, would attract non-stop global media headlines – ostensibly, galvanizing everyone’s repulsion and contempt, irrespective of colour, creed, nationality, and ethnicity – these days, in ‘independent’ Zimbabwe and South Africa, similar barbarousness would hardly catch even a neighbouring country’s attention, let alone the global audience.
After the latest US incident of White on Black police violence, we witnessed multinational institutions, such as the United Nations (UN), and our very own African Union (AU), rushing to issue statements expressing their grave condemnation – yet, correct me if I am wrong, not even so much as a murmur has ever been uttered by these organizations, especially our kin and kith at AU, when our Black regimes have descended heavily on fellow Black citizens, with disproportionate force and murderousness.
Why? Is it somehow alright for Blacks to violate, and even massacre, other Blacks, but unequivocally unacceptable for Whites to do the same on Blacks?
I would just want to imagine if what happened in Zimbabwe on 1 August 2018, and mid-January 2019 – when the country’s security forces heinously and cold-bloodedly shot down scores of unarmed protestors in the capital Harare – had been carried out in New Orleans, US, at the hands of White officers against Black demonstrators…under exactly the same circumstances.
Would the UN have kept quiet? Would even the AU and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) kept quiet? Would we not had witnessed analyst after analyst describe in the utmost gravest detail how evil this act had been, and told the satanic nature of racism?
So, it is suddenly no longer satanic and evil when Black police, and Black regimes maliciously attack their Black citizenry?
Please let us not normalize what is not normal, and can never be normal. Can we not already see the mayhem on the African continent?
When the Zimbabwe regime gruesomely and brazenly butchered over 20,000 innocent men, women, and children (including unborn babies, gouged from their pregnant mothers’ wombs with military bayonets) of a fellow Black tribe? What did the international community say? NOTHING!
When the same Zimbabwe regime hacked to death hundreds of supposed opposition supporters, or forced their family members to eat limbs severed from them, whilst others were burnt alive in their homes, after the ruling ZANU PF party lost the presidential elections, was the global community shocked? NO.
When opposition and labor activists are repeatedly allegedly abducted, beaten up, and even heartlessly sexually abused, does the world stand up? NOT AT ALL!
Is that why not much is being done by the global community to resolve these conflicts, because these are merely Blacks terrorising and killing other Blacks?
Is that, in itself, not a form of racism?
It is about time that the world also regarded the genocide, brutality, and atrocities being committed by tyrannical Black regimes against their Black populations, with the same outrage and condemnation as what we are correctly witnessing today against the White police brutality on a Black man George Floyd.
There is no difference between these cases, and there should be no difference. We are all equal human beings, and the more we continue segregating the two forms of subjugation, the more we are entrenching and normalizing racism.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, speaker, and speaker. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Calls: +263733399640 / +263715667700, or Calls Only: +263782283975 / +263788897936, or email: email@example.com.