The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Monday, 11 July 2016

Power To The People

What's any of it got to do with you?

London, the scene of so many demonstrations and protests from the dawn of time, has begun a series for Black Lives Matter. London protesters have been called all sorts. Stupid. Time wasters. Ridiculous. Oh and asked about knife crime in the city and why weren't they protesting that. They missed those protests and those charitable events because they didn't care about knife crime then or now. They take place regularly because we live in a country where the right to protest is protected and exercised. 

It hasn't occurred to those people to be on the right side of justice - ie silence is acceptance even approval of human rights violations. It hasn't occurred to them that black Londoners look at pictures of the late Alton Sterling or Eric Garner and see their own fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, sons. It hasn't occurred to them that the same injustices happen in the UK but "they don't see colour" so how would they know?

It's such a luxury. To not see colour. To not have people clutch their bags tighter when you walk past, even though their bags were in the discount bin in Primark. To not have people say to your face "you sound white". To not be stopped in a car that's "too expensive for you". It's a luxury to know if your family member is arrested, they'll be alive in the morning. The U.K. has done its share of racist policing. Ask Stephen Lawrence's family. Read the MacPherson report. Ask any person of colour who lived in London during the 60s and 70s. Ask any black man now. Ask any black boy now. People who put a uniform on for Britain who were told they were as wanted as dogs. Those things do not disappear. It hasn't disappeared. They do not divide when you talk about them, they are a release. Why should we have to protect the ignorance of others for fear of "causing division". We are already divided. There is a disparity between how you are treated as a person of colour and how you are treated if you are white. And in an age where people talk incessantly about what they have for dinner, shouldn't we talk about what is going on in the world? Shouldn't we cry out when we see injustice? Shouldn't we tell our leaders to intervene like we do with other countries with a quickness that should have our heads spinning? Look how quickly Facebook wants us to mourn with Western Countries that suffer terrorist attacks? Change your profile! Show your support! When police officers kill with impunity that is a simple breach of human rights of the citizen killed. What is keeping us silent?

London sees. We know. We understand. And stand aside from those who would prefer us to be quiet. Those same people will bellow for a gorilla. Become a lion and proudly tweet #jesuitCecile but the death of a black man; the mysterious death of a black woman; the unconscionable murder of a black child? We should mind our own business. "Martin Luther King Jr said..."

Nah. Nope. No. Not today Satan. Martin Luther King was assassinated. He was arrested more times than I have years. He marched. He blocked. He was civilly disobedient. Don't try to shame us with Martin Luther King Jr. Don't with Ghandi either. Or Rosa Parks. Or Nelson Mandela (he violently protested - read about him, don't trot him out like an old horse. He wasn't just a sweet old man with a sweet voice. HE FOUGHT!) So again, no. 

We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter because those lives matter just as much as any other life and that needs to be reflected in the way black lives are treated. Those are our cousins our brothers our sisters. Family. Those magical black friends you have. Have you spoken to them about why they should be quiet? Didn't think so. Would you dare? So why do it from your phone or laptop or keyboard? 

When South Africa faced reparations for the apartheid, there were people like David Cameron, who called for Nelson Mandela's hanging. We know because the one thing this country does without fail, is record. We know what side of history our Prime Minister was on when one of the worst racial abuses in the world took place. When they write the history books, and they list the tweets and Facebook posts of people who all wanted protesters to shut up and let things be, they will be judged. Being a decent human being takes very little effort. Pointing out a wrong is everyone's business. Standing up for the rights of citizens in a first world country is your duty. If your grandfather or great grandfather put on a uniform, it's because they saw wrong and wanted to do what they could to make it right. 

Speaking out against state assisted murder is the right thing to do. Don't silence us because we are an ocean away. Let our voices join until the governments are shaken into action. Let not one more person lose their life from your silence. 

Speak. Stand. March. Protest. It is your right.