” Being Comfortable with Black History in America ” – July 4, 2020.

          All the lights of the most pleasing and beautifully decorated White House went out on May 31. The place was drowned in darkness.

          President, Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and son Barron safely took shelter in the bunker in the basement. Military personnel around the White House gathered to ensure protection. 

           Just opposite were protesters in masses who were being driven away by tear gas and rubber bullets. The crowd could not be dispersed. Noise and roar continued deafeningly. Not just Americans but the whole world stood in astonishment that this should happen to the US  President.

           About  43/44  Presidents  have lived in the White House so far. About 19 years back in 2001 (September 9) on that fateful day of the attack on the twin towers in New York, then President and family were safely guided to the bunkers. It was to protect the President from terrorists/extremists then. It is to protect the President from People Protest now.

          The reason for this is not difficult to seek. The cruel killing of 46 years old black man in the hands of police on May 25 affords it. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck for almost 8 minutes. He was handcuffed, begging for life, muttering that ”he can’t breathe”. His cry was only greeted with fierce glare, looks, and actions. Derek Chauvin ignored not just his plea but that of the onlookers too.  “White men’s ears do not probably hear the cry of black men”.  George Floyd embraced death lovingly.

          George Floyd’s death caused public outrage from both whites and blacks. People took to streets in almost all of the 50 States. Not to dismiss the possibilities of outrage spreading to other countries. The storm of protests still continues. America has virtually become a battlefield because of this incident.

          The most powerful nation in the world, America, is facing a tumultuous period now. Uncontrolled COVID-19 cases on one side ; and domestic riots due to racial discrimination on the other. No outsider is responsible for this. The leader’s approach and policy constitute the main reasons – is possibly the general perception. 

           Whites in America make about 60% of the population. By the year 2045 it will become a white minority nation, according to one study. Sensing the danger, Donald Trump fought the election in 2016 on his  “America First”  slogan and won with praise, popular acclaim, earning respect in the process.

          Under President Donald Trump’s Leadership, in America, however, attacks on blacks and minorities seem to have increased 17%.  It includes blacks, muslims, sikhs, and  hindus too probably. The whites there are mostly people migrated from Europe. Another survey says that not a single day passes without an incident of this nature somewhere.

          According to Census 2018, there are 26.5 lakh Indians in America. About 16 Indians are members of the Senate. It is a matter of pride for the Indians. Senator, Kamala Harris,  CA,  a prominent member of this group had called for, “adequate security and protection to the minorities against such attacks”. Her suggestion to the President also calls for constructive measures to safeguard the interests of minorities in America.

           If religion and caste are the curses we fear in India, it is seen in the form of apartheid in America. These have the potential to change the directions of elections in both countries. What is needed is change in the period of time in the history of the nation for these. A new resolution to break the barriers to peace and harmony.

          Lyndon B Johnson in 1965 cancelled the proposed visits of both the then Indian PM, Lal Bahadur Shastri,  and the then Pakistan President, Ayub Khan,  due to the strong feeling that the visits of  these two supposedly black men will make him lose the election.

          Racial discrimination began in America in 1619 itself. American Supreme Court in 1896 had enshrined in the country’s laws that,  “American eyes can distinguish between divisions among people, a trait that is inherent as spelt in the Constitution.” Change has been effected.

          In February (2020) in the midst of a running training, a black man, Mr Arbery, was shot dead (in Glynn County, Georgia) because he knocked a white man.

          Three policemen shot an African American medical worker, 26 year old Breonna Taylor in her apartment (in Louisville, Kentucky) itself without any reason. (March 13).

          In the recent Minneapolis protests, a white man on a bike plowed through the protesters in rage. Many died in this incident. The white man was, however, released. (June 28).

          There is growing anguish and attacks on blacks. Whites feel that blacks are responsible for their plight. This is not America. People with character, compassion, and justice exist in all groups in abundance.

          Chief of Police Department, Art Acevedo, of Houston, while tackling a protest marched with the protesters, went before them, embraced them,  and even fell at their feet with words to the effect : ” President, Donald Trump, please do good to these people ;  be silent “. The people were overwhelmed and he drew national praise. (June 1).

          New York city Police Chief during the prayer meeting of George Floyd in Times square went down on his knees to pay his last respects to the black man. Another senior Police Officer commenced a peace procession holding the placard, : ” Let us live with shared aims”. These were the scenes in Florida, California, and many other cities.

          Former President, George Bush,  expressed his opinion that,  “African Americans to get attacked in their own land is to be condemned”.

          A poll survey expresses 55% dissatisfaction with the approach adopted to national security problems which can impact the President’s re-election as seen at this juncture. Still 124 days left and who knows what will happen ?

          Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in front of the Embassy in Washington DC has been vandalised (June 2). It is a matter of pain and discomfort to Indians, specially. It is restored yesterday (Thursday) though.

          It is important that we recall Mahatma Gandhi’s own saying : ” My statues can be damaged ;  but not my principles. Religious, Caste, and  Apartheid  differences should be abolished. What is needed is truth and purity of mind. Think for a while and work together as brothers.”

          Albert Einstein held Mahatma Gandhi as his idol. Abraham Lincoln and John F Kennedy, two of America’s great Presidents had their lasting effect with their Political ideals and Experience in America. They also revered Mahatma Gandhi.

          President Donald Trump visited Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, India, (February 24) attesting to his Greatness. He wrote in the Visitors book : ” The American people stand strongly with a sovereign and wonderful India – The Vision of Mahatma Gandhi. This is tremendous.” As regards the desecration and pulling down of monuments and statues he said strongly : ” You play with our monuments and statues ; and you go to jail for 10 years “. Comes from the bottom of his heart.

           Martin Luther King Jr. held Mahatma Gandhi as his Political Guru. In his speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial (August 28, 1963) here’s :  ” I have a dream that one day little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. That they will not be judged by the Color of their skin but by the Content of their character.”

          People yearn for Peace ;  with a strong and emotional desire to make this a reality.

 

   ” Dieu avec nous”

   Saturday,  July 4, 2020 –  11.09 a.m. (IST)

   Tidbit : ”  If you can’t fly, then run ; if you can’t run, then walk ;  if you can’t walk, then crawl ;  but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward ”  –  Martin Luther King Jr.

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