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Is George Floyd the Mohamed Bouazizi of an American spring?

Jun 02,2020 - Last updated at Jun 02,2020

The killing of a black man, George Floyd, at the hands of a white policeman in Minneapolis Minnesota, has stirred outrage in 35 cities in the US, where peaceful demonstrations turned violent and led to the killing, vandalism and looting in some cities, compelling many public officials and community leaders to call for calmness and peace and give the due process of the law a chance. For people in the Arab world, this is a reminder of Mohamed Bouazizi incident, which instigated the Arab spring movement, forcing a change of the governing bodies in many countries in the region.

Although both incidents have certain similarities at the local level, they differ in structure of governing, where the US democratic political system is multifaceted system that was setup by the founding fathers to distribute political powers at three levels in order to eliminate monopoly of power, (the local level, the state level and the federal level), each with its own jurisdiction stipulated by the constitution, each level has its own elected officials with the tools needed to govern, including security forces, and people have the right to make a change through elections if they are not satisfied with any public official at any of the 3 levels.

Therefore, are we seeing the beginning of an American spring? The answer determined by how American officials, mayors, state governors and US President Donald Trump, handle the situation to decrease tensions and gain control of the hot cities suffering from violence brought by historical social injustice against minorities, specially African-Americans, who sulfured from many incidents of police brutality, racism and bigotry resulting in the death of black individuals unjustly, instigating street demonstrations, creating Black Lives Matter movement originating in the African American community, that campaigns against violence toward black people, responding to a suspiciously large number of blacks killed by police due to the miscarried criminal justice system.

The current demonstrations root causes has been boiling for sometimes, for the following reasons: Firstly, the social, legal, economic and political unjust to African-Americans. Secondly, the official mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to disproportionately more black deaths. Thirdly, 40 million American people lost their jobs in the last 10 weeks due to the bad governing of the Covied-19, mostly in manufacturing and services sectors, causing more African-Americans to become unemployed, exacerbating their unemployment problem even more. Fourthly, President Trump's (right-wing republican) antagonistic messaging regarding the demonstrations and demanding local leaders to use force to stop the demonstrations, which could lead to even more violence and destruction.  

George Floyd is not the first black man to be killed by police brutality in the US, nonetheless the country succeeded in overcoming shortly because of its pragmatic democratic structure, but then again the root causes of social injustice and biased criminal justice have deepened anxieties and grievances to deepen this chronic problem. The US must work to eradicate biases and bigotry, clearly, cultural, legal and structural changes are needed to be able to move forward as a world superpower and a beacon of democracy.


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