Nearly two weeks ago, the United States was engulfed by large-scale protests in some areas, which were permeated by violence, looting of shops, and burning of police stations. Can the killing of a black man in America ignite such protests? This has happened a lot in the past few years and there have been no such protests! Are there any ramifications for these American protests on America’s foreign policy?
In order to get clear answers to the above questions, we review the following:
1- The American police killed a man of African origins, George Floyd, in Minneapolis, in the American state of Minnesota, on 25/5/2020, and it was a heinous crime, during which the policeman applied the training he received in the police force; by standing on and pressing the carotid artery in the neck. The crime lasted nine minutes, during which Floyd was screaming “I can’t breathe” until he died. This horrific crime was witnessed by all Americans, and they saw with their own eyes the brutality of the American police against blacks. Demonstrations erupted in the city the next day, to condemn this degree of brutality in dealing with human beings. Then the demonstrations spread to other American cities, with the widespread circulation of the painful suffocation video, via social media sites, until the demonstrations spread to more than 80 American cities in multiple states …
Then the authorities announced a curfew to prevent the demonstrations that, many of them, were accompanied by acts of violence, killing, looting, and burning of shops and police stations. The American police resorted to ruthless means with the demonstrators and arrested more than 4000 people in various cities, announced the killing of a few people, the National Guard was called to enforce security and control of the street, and even the American army was called in a precedent that had not happened before in America to impose security in the capital Washington. President Trump was smuggled into a safe underground hideout for fear of the protesters storming the White House.
2- The scenes of the American protests ravaged the image of the internal stability that the successive American governments were boasting about, as fires broke out, stores were looted, and police stations were destroyed in significant numbers, warning the Americans of the hell that their governments had long practiced in other countries. And threatening them of the oppression and destruction that America uses in dealing with the world will be the way it deals with the American people themselves. There were shocking scenes by all standards: a president who warns and threatens peaceful demonstrators with rabid dogs around the White House, and with the most lethal weapons in the world if they dare to storm the walls of the White House, that was surrounded by wire barriers and concrete walls. The President called on state governors to respond ruthlessly to demonstrators in their states, and to impose security by force, and he offered them the use of the National Guard, and put the US military on high alert to intervene within 4 hours where necessary if the police and guards fail to enforce security, and the army was actually deployed in the capital Washington DC before this step be reversed, after widespread criticism of the President against the backdrop of introducing the American Army against the people. On the other hand, angry crowds, a part of which is peaceful, that were not stopped by the police, guards, or the dangers of the Coronavirus, protesting to demand civil rights, holding the killers accountable, and reforming the police, and a second section of the protestors intends to attack government centers, especially the police, and to burn and destroy them. President Trump announced later that it is the ultra-left anti-capitalist Antifa movement! And a third section of the protestors are looting, robbing, and carrying out destructive acts…
3- The reality of the American police, whose main element is the white element, is used to insult the black population, and many of them were killed by policemen. Some of these incidents were documented and illustrated, as in the recent Floyd killing, and these incidents were not rare, but rather they were repeated. Discrimination racism in the United States is a remarkable, perceived phenomenon in their societies…
But there are reasons why the murder of Floyd on 25/5/2020 in the city of Minneapolis widened the scope of popular anger against the policy of racial discrimination pursued by state apparatus in America against blacks in particular for these reasons, some are old and some are new, these reasons are:
a- The failure of the assimilation process in American society: the current American society was distinctly established on racism. The English immigrants in particular, and the Europeans in general, colonized America on the corpses of millions of the Native Americans, the original inhabitants. And because of the need for new colonies for work, slaves were brought from Africa, so Americans of African origin are viewed as slaves. This was official for centuries, during which these Africans are subject to racial segregation, forced labour in white farms and their industries. The Naturalization Law of 1790 granted American citizenship to whites only, while refusing to recognize blacks as citizens, despite the attainment of Africans of some rights, such as voting in the 1860s. However, racial discrimination remained an official policy which operated in America even after the end of the civil war, and after the mid-twentieth century a large movement called the civil rights movement broke out and Martin Luther King Jr became its famous leader of blacks in America, resulting in formal recognition of their full rights as American citizens…
Hence, these Africans thought that they had obtained the civil rights that their parents and grandparents had been deprived but that did not change much of the mentality of white Americans, whose inferior view of these Africans remained, and racist practices against them continued. In spite of the ranting of American leaders that racism has ended, yet various reports discuss the entrenched racist view in America against people of African descent … and from the manifestations of racism against black people in America are a clear rise in the number of black prisoners compared to white Americans, and the high rate of unemployment among them, and the large and clear difference in the average income between African American families compared to white Americans, as well as the sharp decrease in health services, and other services, between areas that are predominantly inhabited by black citizens and called black neighborhoods. Areas that are often considered high-end, have decent health services, the house prices that white Americans live in are high.
b- The arrival of the racist Trump Administration and its embracing of the advocates of the White Race supremacy: The groups that support President Trump believe in the superiority of the White Race over others, they are groups that have been exalted after Trump’s arrival to the White House, and these people have found in Trump a national leader for them; they are mixed with evangelical Christians who add a religious flair to this superiority. President Trump’s candor against Muslims, and prevented some of them from obtaining visas to enter America, his anti-Mexican statements, and his plans, part of which was to build a wall on the borders of Mexico, and his trade war against China, and calling Coronavirus the Chinese virus, and the emergence of a wave of hostility to the Chinese in America, his tolerance of the 2017 New Nazi demonstrations in Virginia, his insulting language against the minorities, as well as his comments on black Floyd’s killing and the need to suppress the protest movement in support of blacks rights in America … and as a result of all this, President Trump has become one of the biggest instigators of racial discrimination in America, so the number of hostilities against blacks, Muslims, Mexicans, and Chinese in America has increased during his presidency. They are seen more than before as intruders who came to rob Americans of their job opportunities and plunder America’s wealth, and racial discrimination became prominent in many sectors of American society…
c- The implications of the Coronavirus within American society: One of the reasons that increased the flames of the protests against the killing of Floyd in America, was that it coincided with the spread of the Coronavirus, and the quarantine measures that followed, which caused hardships to the Americans on the one hand, and on the other hand, it created unemployment on a large scale. It increased the anxiety of the Americans about their future, and thirdly, the Americans saw a catastrophic failure of their government to deal with the spread of the epidemic in America, where the great shortage of medical supplies and devices, and the failure to prepare for the virus, despite the fact that America was struck by the wave of the virus after Europe and China, which provided it with a good opportunity to prepare for it, but this was not exploited. As well as the American administration’s failure in dealing with the epidemic and the resulting consequence of the division in the American political community regarding the way the Trump administration dealt with the epidemic crisis …
One of the deep and important internal issues is that the American society’s sentiments has grown regarding how abysmal the capitalist system is. The process of distributing wealth in America is exacerbated with frightening acceleration, in favour of a very small group of Capitalists, who have lobbying powers that influence politics, a policy that moves towards more tax exemption for them, at a time when people of the middle and lower income incur the most fatal taxes. These American protests have highlighted the rising power of the anti-capitalist movement in America, Antifa, which President Trump has demanded to classify as terrorist, a movement that called for the occupation of stock markets on Wall Street as a great symbol of Capitalism after the 2008 financial crisis, this movement increases its followers and is taking root more in American society, and calls for violence against Capitalism, and it is accused today of directing demonstrators to burn and destroy government facilities such as police stations.
4- All of this has had repercussions on America’s foreign policy, which had impact for the following reasons:
a- The state of division in America: The Trump administration has shown since 2017 that America is not united, and the policies that Americans are divided over are many, such as wars, and international assistance provided by America to its agents around the world, such as tax policy, dealing with minorities, immigration, and many other policies. But with the advent of President Trump, he himself has become one of the most prominent causes of division in America, and his personality has helped with his excessive arrogance, clinging to power, love of over-appearance, lack of wisdom, tendency to fight internal conflicts, and showing euphoria by breaking foes. All of this has made America really divided about President Trump, they are either with him or against him. Job terminations and resignations in his administration have increased, in a way that has never happened with any former American president of this size, and the Coronavirus crisis, and the altercations between the president and the governors of some states, have shown the increase in the severity of the American division. This division strikes the American political and financial centers, and is reflected on the society as a whole. And the way the president and his administration dealt with the crisis of the popular protests, too, has become a strong cause that fuels the division.
Trump opposes the protest movement after Floyd was killed, and he wants to establish security by force, he is opposed in that by the Democratic Party and state governors, and even his defense secretary, who apologized for participating in the President’s visit to a church adjacent to the White House, after the security forces drove the protesters away from its vicinity, it was considered political propaganda for Trump. Among the latest examples and intensity of these conflicts (“former US defense ministers and dozens of military officials accused – in a joint message – President Trump of betraying the oath and constitution, for his consideration of deploying the army to confront protesters; among the signatories was former Defense Secretary James Mattis.” (Al-Jazeera.net 7/6/2020). The issue was not confined to the former defense secretaries, but rather included the current and with strong responses, according to the previous source itself:
(CNN quoted a Pentagon official as saying that President Donald Trump requested the deployment of ten thousand soldiers in the capital, Washington DC, and other US cities, to counter last week’s protests, and that Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, rejected this request, in light of mass demonstrations in Washington and other American and European cities against racism and police brutality. The New Yorker Magazine had reported that it had learned, from White House sources, that a verbal argument had occurred between President Trump and General Mark Milley. In the magazine report it mentioned that General Milley raised his voice in the face of the President in protest against his request to take the army to the streets of American cities to end the protests, as Milley believes that the army’s deployment in the street is against the law.)
b- The presidential election period: intensified the matter. These protests erupted in conjunction with the election campaigns of both Democratic candidates Joe Biden and Republican Trump. President Trump is very concerned about his future as President, and wants to be re-elected in November this year, rather this issue is his number one priority, but his main concern is the implications of the Coronavirus, its impact on the American economy, the loss of millions of Americans of their job opportunities, and what is said about his mishandling of the virus crisis. He fears that this will be a factor that his Democrat opponent exploits against him in the election campaigns. Then comes the wave of recent protests in which President Trump wanted to highlight his personality as a strong man who is able to control security, maintain property, which increases his electoral opportunities… But his opponent, Joe Biden (Democratic Party) and other forces are working to portray this as contrary, so they portray him as a man working to consolidate the division in America, and is unable to heal the wounds that American society suffered after Floyd’s murder and the demonstrations, and they hold him responsible for the nature of the violence and riot in the demonstrations, because of his fiery statements against the demonstrators.
c- The state’s repression of the protests: The countries of the world witnessed the painful and brutal way in which the American government deals with the popular protests, the president’s talks about imposing security by force, rabid dogs and the most lethal weapons. And watched thousands of detainees, batons, and tear gas in America, after they were immune to such scenes for decades. All of this make America lose its argument it used for long against its opponents around the world under the titles of human rights, the right to express opinion, support for the opposition, etc. This has a direct impact, that make the American foreign policy lose one of its most famous international justifications … This is confirmed by what Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, (“As of late May and early June 2020 the United States has lost any right to direct any observations to anyone on the globe on human rights issues.” Zakharova added, commenting on the US authorities’ handling of the demonstrators, who participated in the protests against racism and police brutality in the United States: “It is finished! Starting from this moment, they do not have this right.” (Al-Yowm As-Sabi’, 2/6/2020)).
5- Thus, racial discrimination is rooted in the United States, it may be quiet for a bit but it is active more often. It is an intellectual disease in the origins of the emergence of the American capitalist system, but it is not absent from any man-made low, because it is subject to the whims and desires of humans that determine the superiority of white over brown, and red over yellow … even if this distinction caused all the harm to others, but even to themselves later on!
It is only Islam that has eliminated, and eliminates, this racial discrimination, so there is no differentiation between people on the basis of colour, high-standing or wealth. Rather, they are all equal, and are only distinguished by Taqwa (piety). Allah (swt) says: يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوباً وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِير “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted” [Al-Hujurat: 13]
The Prophet ﷺ said in what is reported by Al-Bayhaqi (384-458 AH) on the authority of Abu Nadhrah from Jabir Ibn Abdullah, he said, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said during the middle of the days of Tashreeq (of Hajj) in the last pilgrimage speech: «يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ، إِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ وَاحِدٌ، وَإِنَّ أَبَاكُمْ وَاحِدٌ، أَلا لا فَضْلَ لِعَرَبِيٍّ عَلَى عَجَمِيٍّ، وَلا لِعَجَمِيٍّ عَلَى عَرَبِيٍّ، وَلا لأَحْمَرَ عَلَى أَسْوَدَ، وَلا أَسْوَدَ عَلَى أَحْمَرَ، إِلا بِالتَّقْوَى، إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ، أَلا هَلْ بَلَّغْتُ؟»، قَالُوا: بَلَى يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ، قَالَ: «فَلْيُبَلِّغِ الشَّاهِدُ الْغَائِبَ» “O people, your Lord is one and your father Adam is one. There is no favor of an Arab over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab over an Arab, and neither white skin over black skin, nor black skin over white skin, except by Taqwa (piety). Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous (have Taqwa) of you. Have I not delivered the message?” They said, “The Messenger of Allah has delivered the message.” He said: “It is incumbent upon those who are present to convey this information to those who are absent.”
The same is reported by Al-Busairi (762-840 AH), and the same is narrated At-Tabarani (260-360 AH), he said in his narration: «وَلَا لِأَسْوَدَ عَلَى أَبْيَضَ وَلَا لِأَبْيَضَ عَلَى أَسْوَدَ» “neither black skin over white skin, nor white skin over black skin.”
Only Islam ends racial discrimination, it is revealed by the Lord of the Worlds, guides to the truth and spread the good around the world.
أَفَمَنْ يَهْدِي إِلَى الْحَقِّ أَحَقُّ أَنْ يُتَّبَعَ أَمَّنْ لا يَهِدِّي إِلا أَنْ يُهْدَى فَمَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ
“So is He who guides to the truth more worthy to be followed or he who guides not unless he is guided? Then what is [wrong] with you – how do you judge?” [Yunus: 35]
20 Shawwal 1441 AH