Political Tidbits is the prestigious column of Belinda Olivares-Cunanan that ran for 25 continuous years in the op-ed page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the newspaper that she helped put up with its multi-awarded founder, the legendary Eugenia Duran-Apostol, in December 1985, just two months before the EDSA Revolution.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Violence erupts across the US as an African-American with heart condition dies from asphyxiation at hands of white police. Violent protests erupt across US, with more whites joining colored folks to protest police brutality. The battle for equal rights regardless of skin color is being fiercely fought in the streets all over America---and hopefully would be won. Hooray!

The black victim of police torture in Minneapolis---George Floyd. 

Violence erupts in Minneapolis, Minnesotta, in the form of burning of vehicles and looting, after death of police victim.

America has been seething with anger and violence for two days now,  after a tall, massive African-American named George Floyd was killed by a white policeman in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the US. I caught that episode over CNN and I was truly appalled at it. The black guy was apparently arrested for a small malfeasance. 

Tragically, however, as Floyd sprawled on a street corner, a white police officer continued to nail him to the ground with his knee on the accused's throat---even as the latter kept pleading that "I can't breathe, I can't breathe." 

The police officer refused to lift his knee from the prostrated guy's throat for a good 9 minutes. Soon Floyd's heart, which was said to suffer from some ailment, gave in to the heavy pressure from the policeman's knee and he died. His autopsy confirmed Floyd's heart problem.


This horrible episode involving Floyd was mercilessly caught on film and played again and again on TV, particularly over CNN. It was like an atomic bomb dropped on the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul in the upper state of Minnesota. Before anyone knew it, violence was exploding all over the twin cities, with protesters---whites, blacks, latinos, asians, etc.---burning the police station and other buildings. The streets began to fill up with angry crowds as evening descended and violence quickly erupted.  

 With the violence came various forms of malfeasance and criminality---e.g., fires, wanton looting of stores, pillbox explosions, screams and other forms of protests. 


The twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul exploded all night and the past three days with violence---with people burning down buildings and attacking police headquarters. Protesters even attacked the CNN HQ in Atlanta. Ultimately, what happened---and this was most interesting--- was that it was no longer a case of whites vs. blacks, for the angry crowds exhibited mixed races. White Americans were outraged by the police brutality as much as the blacks and other ethnic groups. 

Moreover, over the next several days, violent riotings and destruction have spread to various other cities of America, as folks flocked to the streets for various reasons of their own---in addition to commiserating with the late George Floyd . The country is now in flames. 


The psychology of the American people was ripe for violence. Restricted for weeks and even months from socializing because of threats of the Covid 19 pandemic, the people's emotions turned into violent anger over the death of George Floyd and their hatred for his torturers became uncontrollable for the police. 

Thus, President Trump, who, as a re-electionist, would naturally abhor the fast-escalating violence and rampage, was forced to call the National Guard to give succor to Minneapolis and soon to various other US cities all around the country. It's obvious that the local police could no longer cope with the massive destruction of various establishments and the burnings and lootings all night long.


It was something completely unpredictable to anyone who had been following the various issues seriously plaguing the US now, such as the Covid19 pandemic that began to peak once again after lock-downs had eased up with the summer in various states. The US mortality rate now is well above 100,000, the highest in the world. 

This latest conflict---the violence that erupted over the murder of George Floyd---proved to be an eye-opener in the long history of the relationship between white and black Americans.

To be sure, the protesters had the right motivation---to avenge the helpless African American whose heart gave way while undergoing police torture.  But to my mind, this pitiable death of an ethnic guy at the hands of brutal police demonstrate many truths about America---some of them fairly recent and new. 


For one thing, all the mass demonstrations from LA to New York show that prejudice toward the ethnic races in America is far from over.  From time to time, it will rear its ugly head and provoke violence, as what the white policeman did to Floyd. 

Yet, on the other hand, it also shows that in many cases, ethnic lines are already blurring. For the recent mass demonstrations, still hot all across America, show folks of various colors and creeds massing TOGETHER, wrongly ready to create violence in defense of freedoms they value---the color of their skin notwithstanding.  


To be sure, the land of the free and the home of the brave has come a long way from the years when minority Americans----such as Rosa Parks, the African American civil rights activist who refused to yield her seat on a public bus to a white man in the mid-60s, and the great Martin Luther King who led the march on Washington where he delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech"----- had to battle for even the puniest of human rights. 

 But from time to time---though the occasions have gotten fewer---indeed, racism in America still manages to rear its ugly head as what that white cop showed Floyd. Then pandemonium reigns, as what has been happening in Minneapolis and other parts of the US since.    

The plus side of this development is that, as in the case of 
George Floyd, many Americans now appear to be coming together for justice and other human values---regardless of color of skin. Even without the resolution of justice on George Floyd's side, he has already won. 

The battle for equal rights just has to continue and strengthen---hopefully with the least chaos to life and property. .                                              


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