We Shouldn’t Rely On Trigger Videos To Care About Black Lives

Video after video we see Black individuals being thrown to the ground, shot at, choked, and beaten to death.

We Shouldn’t Rely On Trigger Videos To Care About Black Lives

Video after video we see Black individuals being thrown to the ground, shot at, choked, and beaten to death.

By

Lamia Rashid

Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

Disclaimer: every article expressed in our opinions section is that of the writer.

My thumbs are tired of tapping through graphic videos of Black Americans dying. Yours should be too. 

Most recently, the chilling video of George Floyd being mercilessly suffocated to death by officer Derek Chauvin set Instagram ablaze; in February, it was the haunting video of Ahmaud Arbery’s final moments before being shot to death by Gregory and Travis McMichael. 

Video after video we see Black individuals being thrown to the ground, shot at, choked, and beaten bloody. Post after post, we are reminded of the broken justice system which continues to fail Black Americans repeatedly.

Some believe that these videos serve as proof that the US has become “more racist.” But in a recent taping of the Late Show Stephen Colbert, actor Will Smith weighed in on this debate, disagreeing with those who claim racism is getting worse. “Racism is not getting worse,” stated Smith, “it’s getting filmed.”

In a study conducted by Pew Research Center, it was reported found that, on average, #BlackLivesMatter is used 17,002 times a day, and since 2017, has been reported to be one of the top ten most popular hashtags. 

But despite the ever-trending hashtags, the protests, and the pleads for justice, Black Americans are still being videotaped gasping for their lives and begging not to be killed. Despite the activism and passionate Instagram posts, Black Americans are being killed by the people who are supposed to protect them. 

This problem is seen in corrupt officers like Chauvin: a department veteran of 19 years, who, despite being the subject of numerous complaints throughout the years, had yet to face any disciplinary consequences until his knee pinned defenseless “gentle giant” George Floyd to the ground in cold blood.  

According to 2019 statistics from Mapping Police Violence, Black people accounted for 24% of the deaths as a result of police brutality despite only comprising 13% of the population; additionally, Black people are 3x more likely to be killed by the police than Caucasians. 

In an article published in the Los Angeles Times, it was reported that 1 in 1000 Black men and boys will die at the hands of the police, which is 2.5x more than their Caucasian counterparts. 

The problem is seen again in the dangerous rhetoric used by the President when discussing Black Americans. In a now flagged tweet posted to his account early Friday morning, Trump suggested that the National Guard may shoot looters and protestors enraged over the tragic death of Floyd, a stark contrast to Trump’s reaction to disgruntled Caucasian (and armed) COVID-19 protesters in Michigan earlier this month.

In his tweet he states:

Spot the grotesque injustice? While Trump encourages officers to “see” and “make deals” with Caucasians waving guns in protest for haircuts, Black men and women are disgraceful “thugs” for rioting in pain at the immoral murder of Floyd. 

Tomorrow, another Black person will be senselessly murdered at the hands of police and there will be no hashtags or an alarming video for the world to see. But this shouldn’t make their lives any less valuable. “Liberty and justice for all” never changed, and it shouldn’t take triggering videos circulating social media for us to remember to stand up against blatant injustice. 

Many celebrities and corporations have expressed solidarity with the Black community on social media; recently, Nike posted a video to their Instagram with the caption “let’s all be part of the change. #UntilWeAllWin,” reminding us that we all have the power to make an impact.

If you’re looking for ways to support the Black community, numerous organizations are in dire need of your donations. 

Official George Floyd Memorial Fund on gofundme.com

Organized by his brother Philonise Floyd, the fund was created to “cover funeral and burial expenses, mental and grief counseling, lodging and travel for all court proceedings and to assist the family in the days to come as they “continue to seek justice for George.”

Black Lives Matter

An organization with the mission statement of bringing justice, freedom, and healing to black people across the globe.

The Minnesota Freedom Fund

An organization that helps pay jail bonds for those who cannot afford to fight discriminatory and coercive jailing.

If you are unable to donate, you can support George Floyd’s cause by signing this petition calling for the arrest and charge of the officers involved in the heinous attack, calling County Attorney Mike Freeman at 612-348-5550 to demand a murder charge, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison at 651-296-3353, and Gov. Walz at 651-201-3400.

Hashtags will not combat years of embedded systematic racism in this country nor bring back Black Americans killed in vain; It only signifies an ongoing battle that must be fought. 

I am tired of tapping through graphic videos of Black Americans dying at the hands of police. You should be too. I am tired of flinching at the sight of my Black brothers and sisters being beaten, harassed, and suffocated flooding my timeline. You should be too.

READ MORE: George Floyd: Murder Of Unarmed Black Man Sparks Ongoing Protests In Minneapolis

OP-ED: Another ‘Honor Killing’ In A Family

A young girl died yesterday at the hands of – again – her own father for the perceived insult to his family’s honor. When will we learn?

OP-ED: Another ‘Honor Killing’ In A Family

A young girl died yesterday at the hands of – again – her own father for the perceived insult to his family’s honor. When will we learn?

By

Saleha Bakht
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

Disclaimer: every article expressed in our opinions section is that of the writer, and doesn’t represent the view of our publication.

Again, a young girl died yesterday at the hands of – again – her own father for the perceived insult to his family’s honor. When will we learn?

Romina Ashrafi, a teenager from the small town of Talesh, Northern Iran, was allegedly murdered by her father Reza Ashrafi to “protect his family’s honor.” 

Beyond the rehashed topics of gender and honor-based violence, beyond talking about discrimination in culture or religion again, or what the definition of honor is, let’s talk for a minute about our children.

This 14-year-old girl in question eloped with a man at least twice her age, and after being caught by Iranian police officers, was sent home to her father who murdered her that same night.  

We’ve said it a million times: there is no world in which this is okay. We need to end child marriages, child abuse we need to end domestic violence, misogyny, sexism, pedophilia.

We need to check ourselves and the people around us to be sure that we are not the predator in some future situation. We need to check that we are not the family pushing our vulnerable members into the arms of strangers.  

There’s a quote from the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) that reads, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart…”

And this is a reality check that is up to us, that only we can do for ourselves. It takes a village to raise a child. So let’s be better for the children in our lives.

With our hands, let’s show our neighborhood children that hands should only be used to build and do constructive things. Let’s help our own families and set an example for how families should treat each other. At least they’ll know the future can be good.

With our mouths, let’s communicate effectively. Let’s resolve conflict in front of our children. Show them that mouths aren’t just used to yell at other people and that yelling on its own is no good. Let’s show them what peaceful resolution looks like and what they should look for in respectful relationships and what they need to be looking for with their own partners.  

With our hearts, lets pray and hope and find the motivation within ourselves to set the example for a better future that isn’t generations away. This is a change we can make within our own lifetimes. This is an example that we can start making in small steps as soon as we finish reading this article.

To be sure, some people will ask why should I care about a girl that died across an ocean? Why should I start caring about kids that aren’t mine?

Romina Ashrafi isn’t just another girl. The same way Aqsa Pervez isn’t just another girl in Mississauga. Nesreen Irsan isn’t just another girl murdered in Texas. Banaz Mahmod isn’t just another dead girl in London. These are all girls murdered by family. Some of these girls even told the police that they worried they would be murdered by family and the police sent them home anyway.

These aren’t just other girls. They’re our girls. They needed our care and our attention. They reached out and didn’t get the help they needed and that’s on us as the living. We can say it until we’re blue in the face; “If you’re being bullied at home or at school, tell an adult.” But are we even adults that listen?

Do we say, “I hear you, dear, but it can’t be that bad, go home”? Do we shoo them away with our hands? In our hearts and in our minds, do we think, “Please don’t bother me with this. What can I say to get you to leave me alone right now?”

Only to turn around the next day over the news of a dead kid and say in a plaintive manner, “I would have never have let them go home if I had just known.”

If we can’t hear when the children of our world try to tell us something, we need to work on opening our ears. We need to actively remind our hearts every moment to think of the people around us; to think of the tiny eyes that may be watching; the impressionable brains that are learning before they can even crawl. We need to remind ourselves again and again to be responsible with our words and our gestures all the time, especially when we’re tired.

How soon until we are the ones that our neighborhood’s children turn to to say something is wrong? And, when that happens, what will we do? Or are we the adults who will – again – just say, “go home”?

READ MORE: ‘Honor Killing’ Of 14-Year-Old Romina Ashrafi Sparks Outrage Across Iran

Hindu Man Attacked By Police In India Because ‘He Looked Muslim

A lawyer in Madhya Pradesh State of India was allegedly beaten up by police because they mistook him for a Muslim.

Hindu Man Attacked By Police In India Because ‘He Looked Muslim

A lawyer in Madhya Pradesh State of India was allegedly beaten up by police because they mistook him for a Muslim.

By

Mirza Fardeen

 

May 30, 2020 – On March 23, two days before the nationwide lockdown was imposed in India, Deepak Bandele, was going to the hospital for treatment when he was stopped by on-duty patrolling policemen. Bandele tried to explain that he has a history of high blood-pressure and diabetes and was required to visit the hospital for regular treatment, but police officials thrashed him ruthlessly without listening to what he had to say.

The next morning, Bandele complained to the district Superintendent of Police and the state Director General of Police. He then subsequently also wrote to the chief minister, the state’s human rights commission, the bar council and other top government officials. He also filed a Right To Information enquiry to retrieve the CCTV footage of the day. 

Two months after the incident, neither has he been given access to the CCTV footage nor has his police complaint been acknowledged. Instead, Bandele says he is constantly being pressured to withdraw the complaint.

Following the brutal attack, two police officials who contacted Bandele’s residence in order to record his statement revealed the “real reason” he was thrashed. Bandele has since shared call recordings in which police officials can be heard saying:

“All those people are ashamed that they did something like this to a Hindu brother without knowing his identity.

“We do not have any enmity against you. Whenever there is a Hindu-Muslim riot, police always supports the Hindus; even Muslims know this. But whatever happened with you was because of ignorance. For that, I have no words,” he said. 

When Bandele clarified about no riots taking place that day, the police officials replied, “Yes, exactly. You had a long beard. The man (who assaulted you) is a staunch Hindu… In Hindu-Muslim riots whenever a Muslim is arrested, he beats them up brutally, always.”

Since the incident, the state police has suspended the Sub-Inspector, although officials are complaining about the lack of supporting evidence and the inquiry into the incident has hardly made any progress.

Islamophobia in India has exploded ever since the enactment of the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act in December 2019, introduced by the ruling nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, paving the way for such shameful incidents where individuals are attacked just for sporting a beard, a feature that is mostly characteristic of Muslims.

 

READ MORE: What A Joe Biden Presidency Means For Muslims