Trying to get some sort of post together, regarding the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, I've been somewhat hampered by time-zone differences and by the rapid nature of what's happened. Several attempts to write something have been scuppered by finding that a zillion other people, on Twitter, Facebook, and many, many blogs, have already said what I'm trying to say. Which wouldn't really matter if I were a US citizen, but a little-known blogger from the wrong side of the pond can't really make much of a difference, so merely repeating what those zillions say would be pretty damn pointless.
On the other hand, I do want to say something, even if all it amounts to is a bit of a fist-bump, as I put it elsewhere, of solidarity. Or maybe as one of hopefully many voices, speaking to racist authoritarians, "This is twenty-fourteen, not nineteen-fourteen. Shit you used to be able to hide from the occasional reporter with his Box Brownie camera, you can't hide from the camera-phones, the Twitter-feeds and the YouTube viewers. The world is watching you now, live and in real-time, whether you ban the official press or not. And we don't like the view."
But I'm still left with the problem of what to write, so I'm going to go with a simple point, brought to mind by the one of the first images (and I do literally mean an image) which popped into my head, after the watching first video I saw of what looked more like an over-equipped, badly trained, badly led army than a police force, terrorising the citizens of Ferguson.
Because there was another time, a time learned of by schoolkids the world over, and by every US schoolchild, when another bunch of people were turned on and attacked by an armed force who'd been sent there, at least allegedly, to protect them.
I trust you don't need me to tell you what was sparked off, at least in part, by the event depicted. You fought a war to rid yourself of us British oppressors. You fought another, and much bloodier one in order to—supposedly—free black people in your own country. Do you really want to reverse both of those historic victories in one fell swoop; to have Stars-and-Stripes bedecked redcoats with a them-or-us mentality, forcing coloured people into subjugation?
You just returned, for a few days, to seventeen-seventy and gunpoint-rule. The question is, which side of that Boston street do you want to be remembered as having stood on?
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