US ‘fires’ leave the world astonished

Sunday Mail Reporter

Scenes of gratuitous and unrelenting violence, looting and arson, including the arrest of a journalist covering the riots live on television in the United States of America, shocked the world last week, as the actions were contrary to the values that are routinely preached by Washington around the world.

The demonstrations, which subsequently turned violent, were sparked by the death of a black man, George Floyd, in custody.

The disturbing murder was captured by concerned bystanders.

It is believed that the Trump’s administration’s threat to deploy the army and shoot rioters, who were labelled by the US president as “thugs”, further stoked emotions and inflamed the situation.


Violence is reportedly flaring up in 30 major US cities. Political scientists and commentators say the unprecedented developments in the US, which is already in the throes of the deadly coronavirus pandemic that had claimed 104 000 American lives by yesterday, are the manifestation of deep-seated grievances that have been endured by minority communities, especially blacks, for a long time.

“The public murder of George Floyd and the outrage and mayhem it has triggered is a clear indication that the ‘log’ of human rights abuse is in the eye of Washington,” said the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association  (ZNLWVA) chairperson, Ambassador Chris Mustvangwa yesterday.

“This is even as it blows the trumpet about the ‘straw’ in the eye of Harare . . .

“As ZNLWVA, we are appalled by the callous, deliberate and intentional killing of George Floyd by law enforcement officers in full public glare in Minneapolis.

“This heinous murder is typical of the deep-rooted racism of an American society that still struggles to shirk off the vestiges of the slavery of the African Diaspora.

“Having spent the flower of our youth militarily confronting settler minority racism, ZNLWVA easily finds itself in easy and natural empathy with this plight of the Afro-American community and other peoples of colour in USA.”

Floyd’s murder follows death of Ahmaud Arbery who was shot dead in February by two white men while jogging through a neighbourhood just outside Brunswick, Georgia.

The shooters were only arrested this month after a video of the public execution surfaced.

But authorities in Georgia had apparently tried to sweep the crime under the carpet.


New York State governor Andrew Cuomo said the coronavirus crisis, which is also disproportionately exposing inequalities in health care in the US, and the protests were all connected.

“One looks like a public health system issue — Covid-19, but it’s getting at the inequality in health care also on a deeper level. Then the George Floyd situation, which gets at the inequality and discrimination in the criminal justice system. They are connected,” he said at his daily news briefing yesterday.

Police brutality in the US has always been riling minority communities, who feel there are always targeted.

“The racist subjugation, segregation and abuse of black people is commonplace in America,” said political analyst Mr Godwine Mureriwa.

“President Trump himself has said the military will be deployed to shoot protestors on the streets; had this been Zimbabwe, this would have been World news and we would have been condemned by all, including America.

“But this mistreatment of black people has to be condemned and eradicated.”

Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat has led the continent in condemning discrimination against people of colour in the US.

In a statement on microblogging site Twitter yesterday, Mr Mahamat called on US authorities to facilitate the elimination of racial discrimination.

“I strongly condemn the murder of George Floyd that occurred in the United States of America at the hands of law enforcement officers, and wishes to extend my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones,” said Mr Mahamat.

“Recalling the historic OAU Resolution on Racial Discrimination in the USA made by African Heads of State at the OAU’s first Assembly in Cairo, Egypt from July 17-24, 1964, I reaffirm and reiterate the AU’s rejection of continuing discriminatory practices against Black citizens of the USA.


“I further urge the authorities in the United States of America to intensify their efforts to ensure the total elimination of all forms of discrimination based on race or ethnic origin.”

US embassies in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Congo and Kenya have released statements condemning the killing of Floyd.

Mr Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on May 25 after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on his neck for eight minutes.

But, as the US was burning, the US Embassy in Zimbabwe was ironically tweeting in solidarity with the three MDC-Alliance members — Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova — who have been hauled before the courts for participating in an unauthorised demonstration.