History bears witness to the fact that wars are caused because one culture tries to dominate the other. This fact becomes more pronounced during the war, as events and human behaviour are controlled by cultured forces of either side. The more the cultural divergence between the two antagonists, the more fierce the fighting, and longer the suffering and misery of the people. Now that the population explosion is forcing cultures to seek/create greater resources, the differences of sociobiological factors are becoming more accentuated, the results during hostilities could be: increased tendencies towards genocide and atrocity.

The sheer brutality of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a viciously violent cop symbolises not only the unadulterated racism of a culture that looks away in the face of police violence against Black people but also a society in which a form of radicalised domestic terrorism has become normalised. Floyd’s murder has to be understood as part of wider systemic politics indebted to the long legacy of a culture of racist terror that extends from slavery to the scourge of racial mass incarceration and a politics of disposability. How else to explain the senseless murders of Botham Jean, Trayvon Martin, and more recently Ahmad Aubrey and Breonna Taylor? Aubrey was killed by white vigilantes while out running. Taylor was shot in her bed by the police who broke into her house with no previous warning. The punishing apparatuses of the state have become more barbaric as power is concentrated more and more in the hands of the ultra-rich, white nationalists and white supremacists.

Charles Pearce, writing in Esquire, states: “Where there is hatred, he sows anger. Where there is injury, resentment. Where there is doubt, uncertainty. Where there is despair, poison. Where there is darkness, destruction. And where there is sadness, desperation. There’s something that feeds his soul in feeding the soul of the country to the flames. He has nothing else. He can’t conceive of another way to live.” Put differently, Trump’s administration has become an engine of social misery, a punitive machine that accelerates the death of those considered excess, valueless, and unwanted. Trump’s regime of wealth extraction, ecological violence, economic shock doctrines, ideological fundamentalism, anti-intellectualism, and government of hypocrisy has turned politics, and language into a racist weapon, and state-sanctioned violence against black people a signpost for rationalising a fascist politics.

We see it in its more obvious toxic forms as when he states in the aftermath of the mass protests, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The media focuses less on the historical context for such killings and more on the alleged outside radical leftists/anarchists/ running through the streets committing the alleged real violence. People running into stores taking TVs are labelled looters when in fact, as James Baldwin once said, captive populations don’t loot, hedge fund managers, bankers, pharmaceutical executives, big corporations, and the rest of the ultra-rich are the real looters. People who have been robbed of everything, including their very lives don’t loot, they strike back because their very lives depend upon some form of action that will be noticed. The fires burning in cities are unfortunate, but the real fires go unnoticed. These are the fires burning the spirits of those who suffer daily traumas, fears, police violence, and policy-driven hardships are what need to be noticed, addressed, and rouse mass anger.

The rage and outbursts we are witnessing throughout the United States is an act of mass street resistance against a society that believes it can kill people of colour with impunity; it is an act of resistance that refuses a future defined by racial violence, massive inequality, and the descent into authoritarianism. It is everybody’s fight because it is a struggle for equality, justice, and radical democracy. The lethal force of systemic racism is now front and centre in American society, visible in the visible, needless death of black people, in the smouldering enclaves of poverty in so many cities, in the images of black men and women terrorised by police who embrace the logic of a militarised society. Trump is the endpoint of capitalism on steroids. He revels in the intensification of racist violence and the ethos of a fascist politics. In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, the ascent of democracy in today’s world proves right Hegel’s theory that history is moving towards absolute freedom, and, in this age, the denial of human rights to people is unthinkable. A misunderstanding of these historical principles by the governments is understandable. Let alone ordinary politicians and army brass, even historians fathom them but rarely. Cruelty and valour cannot coexist. Dehumanisation on the basis of colour, caste or religion by so-called governments and armed forces in the entire world turns these men into cowards.

Shahrukh Mehboob

The writer is a legal practitioner and columnist. He tweets

@legal_bias and can be reached at shahrukh