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“Black lives matter”, “I can’t breathe”, “Don’t shoot”.

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Those were some of the themes this past weekend as tens of thousands of people staged massive protests in the big American cities of New York and Washington.{{more}}

Hold on a minute! Protests over the indiscriminate killing of young black males by police and security officers? This is not 1954 or 1964, we are in the 21st century and those civil rights battles in the times of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr are supposed to have been won.

Moreover, the USA now has its first black President, elected just over six years ago. Remember the emotions, the hopes, the expectations both when Barrack Obama won the Presidency and when he was sworn in two months afterwards? How come in 2014 unarmed black men are not only being shot by police but in spite of clear evidence, no charges are being brought against the killers?

Whether it is 17-year old Trayvon Martin, shot dead by a security officer in Florida in 2012, 12-year old Tamir Rice, gunned down in Cleveland on November 22 for the crime of being “armed with a toy pistol”, Michael Brown, 18, whose fatal shooting by police in Fergusson, Missouri have fuelled widespread protests and riots, or Eric Garner, the “I can’t breathe victim”, choked to death by New York police in July, all the cases have a similar outcome, the murderers are free.

It is as if the dark days of the Klu Klux Klan and slavery have returned to the shores of our big northern neighbour. Even the American President, Head of State and Commander-in-Chief, is often treated with scant respect by his right-wing and racist opponents.

Is this the equality and democracy which Black people have sacrificed so much to achieve? Is this the country upheld by many of us as a model?

These dangerous developments and the heinous racist practices spill over into anti-black and anti-immigrant policies. They must be fought fiercely not only by blacks and freedom-lovers in the USA, we too in the Caribbean must lend our voices.

PS: It is with shock that I have just heard of the death of farmer leader Winston “Solo” Butler, also a veteran fighter for the working people from Diamond Village. My condolences to his wife and family. A big loss for the farming community and his village community. More on Friday.

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