The latest round of civil unrest has manifested itself in protests throughout the country, including Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Minn., and Birmingham, Ala., and is once again causing concern among world leaders and human rights groups. Noting the high rate of extrajudicial killings by state forces, a United Nations official said, “We call on the American government to respect international human rights law,” and urged the American government to “rein in state security agents who engage in unsanctioned executions and questionable detentions of American citizens, particularly of ethnic minorities.”
Protests broke out last week after viral videos emerged of two members of America’s ethnic black minority being shot by police within 48 hours. Alton Sterling was tackled and killed by a white police officer outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge. Philando Castile was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Minnesota, and his girlfriend live-streamed the aftermath of the shooting. In recent days, demonstrators in Minneapolis have shut down major highways on successive days; police responded Saturday night with tear gas and smoke; protesters responded to the tear gas by singing along to the song “Purple Rain,” by a black artist who was well-known in that community and who recently died.
Local media outlets in America report that fatal shootings by state security forces have gone in up in the past two years. This year alone, more than 550 Americans have been killed by police. Despite being just 13 percent of the population, ethnic American blacks, in proportion to their numbers are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by state agents than members of the white majority.
Political analysts around the world warn of continuing unrest in a nation with a history of racial oppression: “We have been monitoring the social media activity of black Americans over the last several days, and the tone is one of increasing anger, hopelessness and despair,” said a Johannesburg-based security expert. “Many black Americans don’t trust their local justice institutions to hold state agents accountable for abuses of power.”
Tensions escalated even higher in the country after a gunman in Dallas, Tex., killed five police officers. The gunman, who was black, reportedly expressed a desire to kill white officers, prompting international analysts to warn that rising fear among American state security forces — that they themselves are increasingly the targets of violence — will only increase civil unrest. “Troubling conflict drivers are emerging in America, and the world cannot turn its eyes away,” said a U.N. official in New York. “It’s no longer acceptable to dismiss the problems in America as unsolvable because of ancient ethnic hatreds in country. The International Community™ has a responsibility to act and bring America back from revisiting its history of brutal violence over race.”
America’s unrest may begin to affect its tourism industry as well, as some countries issued travel advisories for those wishing to travel to the troubled nation. The Bahamas, a majority-black Caribbean nation, instructed its citizens to avoid demonstrations in the troubled nation, and that young men in particular “should exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police. . . . Do not be confrontational and cooperate.” [Editors Note: No, seriously. This actually happened.]
The European Union remains divided over how to respond to the burgeoning crisis, with some member states calling for sanctions as well as suspension of aid to security agents of the American regime, and others calling for increased aid to the former colony. Several European officials expressed concern about the prospect of a wave of black American refugees. Overwhelmed by the global refugee and migrant crisis, Europe is offering African countries cash and other aid to help Europe keep black migrants and refugees out, and is reportedly considering the same approach to the United States. “We are reading the writing on the wall in America,” said a German diplomat. “We are certainly positioned to aid Americans in retraining local police. But we simply don’t have the capacity to absorb the many black Americans who may be seeking shelter.”
The African Union did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the plight of black minorities in America or on accepting black American refugees.
“The Americans are quite proud, their reputation in the eyes of the International Community ™ is really important,” a diplomat in New York said. “The American state security apparatus prefers to characterize these killings as rogue officers, or bad apples. But this is a systemic pattern of extrajudicial killings and impunity, like what we are seeing right now in Kenya, or Brazil.” Citizens in Kenya, another former British colony, have been protesting this month in Nairobi and Mombasa after Willie Kimani, a prominent human rights lawyer, his client Josephat Mwenda and his driver were believed to have been abducted, tortured and killed by Kenyan police after launching a complaint about police abuse. Kenyans, who have been organizing under the hashtag #StopExtrajudicialKillings, expressed solidarity with Americans protesting. “Extrajudicial killings and a culture of impunity for security forces undermine democracy,” said a protester in Nairobi. “Like our American friends who are protesting against extrajudicial killings, we don’t hate our security officers. All we ask is that they protect and serve us, not abuse and kill us. Surely that’s a basic element of any true democracy, right?”