What They Did To Ahmaud Arbery Was A Modern Day Lynching

25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was chased, shot and killed by two white men while jogging in Southern Georgia in late February.

What They Did To Ahmaud Arbery Was A Modern Day Lynching

25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was chased, shot and killed by two white men while jogging in Southern Georgia in late February.

By

Haider Syed
Art - @broobs.psd / Instagram

“But they can’t just do that.”

We often hear this when we’re confronted by things we can’t explain. Our societies are structured and engineered in a way where we expect to see people behave in a certain way. We bank on it. Because when they don’t, it shatters our realities.

If you happened to watch a particularly shocking video as it went viral over the past few days, you’d have seen two armed white men chased down (hunted) Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, in broad daylight out on a scenic Brunswick, Georgia street. One man struggles with Ahmaud while the other brandishes his shotgun – and shoots him dead. The surrounding atmosphere could not be more subtle as such a shocking incident unfolds.

“They can’t just do that, right?”

Yet, they did.

This happened on February 23rd, over two months ago, yet the video only went viral this past week. The outrage which has ensued has only taken place now, which adds to the efforts of family in the few weeks since the incident. 

According to the police report, Greg McMichael, a former Brunswick District Attorney Investigator and his son Travis McMichael followed Arbery as he was jogging, blocked his path with their truck, and shot him dead.

The video is a wake-up call. In this single instance we see so much of the systemic and actual racial violence that extends from the carceral state to imperial wars waged overseas to housing, education, food security and so many other aspects of American public life – so diligently interwoven into the fabric of this society, ingrained into the nation’s historical and collective psyche – realized. 

In a single instance. 

This wasn’t just a murder, it was a lynching. And the circumstances around the death of Ahmaud Arbery personify America and what it stands for. What it has always stood for.

America is a place where a Black man cannot simply just go out on a jog in the streets of his own town, cannot merely wander through any neighbourhood without being questioned for it. A place where a white man can and will pull a gun on you, and murder you if he wants. And he can and will get away with it. It has happened before and will probably happen again. 

A place where it took two months for this incidence of lynching to even come to the wider public’s attention. And why?

Because this is a place where whiteness is sanctified and deemed untouchable; where the violence it produces can always be justified somehow. Where the color of your skin entitles you to the privilege of sanctioning life and death itself, where you can play God with another being’s life. Where people will want to see a video before they decide if they can or cannot believe something like this could have actually happened. Where an apparatus of legal, militaristic and capitalist power combines to establish and administer a monopoly on Black and Brown bodies every single day. Where the majority are locked up in prisons or impoverished. 

Where it allows for such horrifying white supremacist terrorism to occur in the first place, where it gives that sort of a mindset permission to express itself freely without the fear of backlash and then enables it every step of the way. A place where a man doesn’t fear the retribution of the law when he allows for his hatred to overcome him. Knowing full well the law will stand by him. A nation where Blackness is perceived a threat by default. Where whiteness can never be seen or associated with the violence it produces, but racialized people are never afforded that same privilege. Never dignified, just enough.

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing once reminded us that “the system” in America is not broken but working exactly how it was designed to be. Notions of democracy, equality and justice are thrown around yet such instances of intense disregard for life and the most despicable violence takes place again and again. 

We’re told these instances are exceptions and imperfections. Yet when they happen again and again it’s clearly a pattern, and it would not be wrong to deduce that this cyclical repetition of violence is not an attribute of a flaw – but the system working exactly as it was meant to be. 

Welsing attributed this to the fact that America persists under a system of white supremacism which functions on intentionally murdering and vilifying Black life.

And so we watch as the mainstream media and society is now up in arms and in shock that this could have happened in America. But, come on. This is the very same media that drags the bodies of dead Black children through the dirt in order to deflect the blame from those who murdered them. This is the same America where the very slave patrols that chased after and policed Black lives have morphed into the same institutional force that now claims to serve and protect its citizenry. This is the same country that guns down a child like Mike Brown or chokes the life out of an Eric Garner.  

Only in America. A nation endowed by aristocrats on the land their forefathers seized through genocide and pillaging – yet we can’t imagine them doing so to protect their own interests. A nation whose very foundation is embedded with the necessity of maintaining, protecting and upholding white supremacy. So how can we really be shocked that Ahmaud Arbery’s life was taken? Because in America, they can just do that.

Here Are Prayers For When You’re Feeling Low On Faith

Spiritual journeys are not linear. For some, Ramadan can make them feel low in faith.

Here Are Prayers For When You’re Feeling Low On Faith

Spiritual journeys are not linear. For some, Ramadan can make them feel low in faith.

By

Amirah Ahmed
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

Feeling spiritually low can be difficult to overcome. Sometimes life gets busy, a thousand responsibilities are pulling your attention every which way, and it can seem like your faith is being put on the back burner. This can be tough to handle, but referring back to the wide plethora of duaas available in the Quran and the Hadith can help you when navigating faith. 

 

Here are 4 duaas especially valuable for when you’re feeling low on faith.

 

 

فَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ وَمَن تَابَ مَعَكَ وَلَا تَطْغَوْا إِنَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ         .1

“So remain on a right course as you have been commanded, [you] and those who have turned back with you [to Allah ], and do not transgress. Indeed, He is Seeing of what you do.” (11:112) Surah Hud

 

This verse from Surah Hud reminds us that God sees our best efforts. When it becomes hard to maintain a strong relationship with your faith, this duaa can provide guidance for those that are struggling. Even when our spiritual path is not completely clear, it’s reassuring that Islam and its guidance and teachings will always welcome us back with open arms.

 

 

يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِي عَلَى دِينِكَ           .2

“Oh turner of hearts, keep my heart firm upon Your religion.” Saying from Prophet Muhammad (SAW)

 

According to a companion of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), he used to say this duaa abundantly. It’s a simple phrase that can be used to keep you focused on maintaining and boosting faith during those particularly trying instants. When things are perhaps not going as planned, and you need a little spiritual reinforcement, this duaa is perfect to turn to. 

 

 

 إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا       .3

“Indeed, with hardship there will be ease.” (94:6) Ash-Sharh 

 

This verse from Surah Ash-Sharh is very well-known as it resonates with many Muslims. It’s a powerful testament from the Quran that guarantees that whatever struggle we’re going through will not last forever. Even when your deen is not at its strongest, this duaa is a reminder that this moment of uncertainty will eventually pass with ease. 

 

 

 اللّهُمَّ قَنِّعْنِيْ بِمَا رَزَقْتَنِيْ ، وَبَارِكْ لِيْ فِيْهِ ، وَاخْلُفْ عَلَى كُلِّ غَائِبَةٍ بِخَيْرٍ   .4

“O Allah, make me content with what you have provided me, send blessings for me therein, and replace for me every absent thing with something better.” 

Bukhari

 

Faith can become tricky to maintain when it seems like everything in your life is going wrong. It isn’t uncommon to have a bad week, month, or even year and find yourself discontent and questioning your spiritual beliefs. When you aren’t content with a situation, this dua can provide guidance for finding peace through hard times and realizing that all good things will come with time and patience.

 

Aside from personal circumstances, several factors can affect our levels of faith. With the advancement of technological availability, we all have access to everything that is happening in the world, both good and bad – which can take a heavy toll on our mental health and spirituality. 

A constant flow of negative news can make us feel overwhelmed and helpless which can contribute to feeling low in faith. It’s important to stay informed and educated on current events, but even more important to prioritize your mental and spiritual well-being. 

If that means taking a break from your phone, social media, or even just news outlets for a while, that’s okay! Take some time to check in with yourself and read some of these duaas to help you realign with your faith.