A few hours before George Floyd’s burial in Houston, there was an unprecedented wave of mobilization that we have witnessed the past week and weekend. From Minneapolis to Los Angeles, from London to Sydney, Paris, and Tokyo, tens of thousands of citizens demonstrated against racism, police brutality, and to pay tribute to George Floyd, an African-American asphyxiated by a white policeman in Minneapolis, the United States.
In Africa, anti-racist rallies have been organized in certain capitals like Dakar, Johannesburg, and Nairobi despite the pandemic and restrictions to denounce racism, acts of violence targeting the African-American community as well as impunity for within the American police forces. George Floyd’s death sparked outrage on the continent and revived a sense of solidarity with the worldwide black community.
For the past two weeks, we have witnessed a global outrage and mobilisations triggered by the death of George Floyd which quickly spread to the entire planet, calling for respect for life, the lives of the black people in particular. Ordinary citizens, as well as African personalities and leaders, reacted to this drama. Particularly noteworthy is that of the Ghanaian president, who so aptly recalled that “the fate of all black people, wherever they are in the world, is linked to Africa. As long as Africa is not respected, black people will not be respected. “
Beyond the rage over the murder of George Floyd, thousands of Africans who took to the streets last weekend wanted to call for respect for an oppressed minority community. Any member of a minority community who has already experienced abuse and oppression, whether because of their ethnicity, race or religious or political affiliation cannot be indifferent to the current anti-racism wave.
This wave of mobilisation is part of a broader context and struggle for social justice in which African citizens must engage not only the United States but also their own leaders and their respective governments who work in complicity with the extractive industry to loot its resources, destroy and systematically violate the fundamental rights of communities.
Today more than ever, the links between the climate crisis and the racism that is hitting black communities and indigenous peoples around the world are coming to light, although they have been existing and are maintained by the same systems of oppression, exploitation and exclusion at the origin of slavery and colonisation.
Respect for black people is also respect for Africa, the cradle of humanity. It’s the respect of its culture, lifestyles, natural and mineral resources. The fight for climate justice can only be effective by centering the questions of sovereignty, equity and dignity of all peoples at the heart of debates and strategies.