بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
News Right Now: A Power Keg
Welcome to today's episode: A Powder Keg...
Since the killing of George Floyd the US has seen protests spread to every one of its fifty states in the course of a week - and solidarity with the many interconnected issues around his death and the black lives matter movement in general, has taken root all over the world - seeing huge protests in Europe, South America, Canada, Australia and the Middle East. The Trump administration has not only failed at containing the national anger, but has fueled it by way of his increasingly incendiary remarks. When the protests began Trump Tweeted the infamous words of the openly racist 1960’s Miami police Chief Walter Headly, “when the looting starts the shooting starts”, calling the protestors ‘thugs”...
Since then Trump’s insults have indicated his growing distress and agitation at the increasingly violent turn the protests have taken. In an audio recording of a call taken by CNN in the situation room of the White House to state governors, he said, "You have to dominate or you'll look like a bunch of jerks, you have to arrest and try people," Also insisting the leaders “must seek retribution for violent acts in their states, and not act too gingerly, and that “you don't have to be too careful”.
Insisting it's the job of state governors to clampdown heavily on the protestors, not his... he said “it's a movement, if you don't put it down it’ll get worse and worse”, the only time it's successful is when you're weak and most of you are weak”. Comments like these only fan the flames of racism and further divide the nation, fracturing communities and laying blame on the protests - taking away from the genuine grievance. And when he goes further by framing the protestors as “domestic terrorists” and deploying the national guard and the troops, Trump’s stance is hypocritical - effectively criminalizing his own citizens simply for practicing their first amendment right to protest.
In the absence of a strong and sympathetic leadership, some of the anger has intensified, allowing for the peaceful protests to be hijacked by outside agitators, who want to diminish the message the protestors are trying to convey. Philadelphia is one city where hundreds of Caucasian men, thought to be white nationalists by witnesses - were caught instigating looting and promoting anarchy... hiding behind placards of peace, whilst wearing body armor and carrying handguns.. and throwing rocks and bottles containing cayenne pepper at police.
Trump has faced widespread criticism for his handling of the protests. In the UK the Spectator Magazine, the Financial Times and Breakfast TV shows among others, have regularly lambasted Trump and his supporters such as ex NY city mayor Rudy Gulaini... describing Trump as a “destroyer of Democracy” and calling for Twitter to curb his online ranting... and in Jordan it was said that after years of the US’s interference in Arab politics - now Trump himself is initiating an “American Spring”!
Trump cannot begin to control what the world is witnessing... the stark reality of these protests, which mean far more to the protestors than a call to convict the four police officers responsible for George Floyds murder. The national and global anger and protest has transcended the Black Lives Matter call for civil liberties, to one of permanent and systemic change... to rid all secular liberal societies of the scourge of endemic and institutionalized racism. As activists across the spectrum analyse the causes of racism towards African Americans and blacks in the west more deeply... those with true awareness are able to see the intrinsic link between the modern nation state, Capitalism as its defining ideology, and the civil institutions that result from it as being intrinsically tied and inseparable from alternative hierarchies, values and principles about the organization of human societies.
Only a complete change of system, which reshapes the outlook of societies and redresses its many paradigms, such as ‘them and us’, how we view, ‘wealth and poverty’, ‘distribution and accumulation’, etc, etc... will enable the systemic or institutionalized change that so many Muslims and non Muslims in particular are speaking of.
The alternative is Islam, given its opposition to almost all of the hierarchies and binaries that western statehood and Capitalism are built on. The Islamic system cannot harbour notions of racism because it bonds people either in brotherhood or humanity - entrenching rights, duties and particular views towards all people... none of which permit any form of colorism, racism or nationalism - or even any justification for looking down on another, let alone outright oppression or injustice.
(... وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا ...)
“If anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole humanity.” (Surah Al Maidah verse 32)
May Allah (swt) remove us from the darkness of flawed systems to the light of His own divine system.
Jazak Allahu Khayran for joining us!!
Ummah Voice Podcast