By Morak Babajide-Alabi
“We are all damaged. We have all been hurt. We have all had to learn painful lessons. We are all recovering from some mistake, loss, betrayal, abuse, injustice or misfortune. All of life is a process of recovery that never ends,” Bryant McGill.
In a world full of contradictions, the pretence to love in the midst of so much hate, injustice and inhumanity are therefore commonplace. In a world where we say “this” and mean “that”, the two words, injustice and inhumanity are most times “misdefined.”
We confuse these two words because the dictionary meanings are quite different from what we see in the larger society. We rarely bother to cross-check the definitions with what we see or hear. What we do is jump on the bandwagon, talk about injustices and inhumanity, so we can fit in.
Most of us talk about these words as often as we can. Some of us have made careers out of injustice and inhumanity. If you doubt me, watch our politicians speak about injustice and inhumanity on the soapboxes.
You will be swept away by the orations, and instantly dream of a better world where injustice and inhumanity to mankind is history. As followers, we shout “end injustice and inhumanity.” We all pretend to seek the same goal – eradication. But we know deep inside that the leaders are as inspired as we the followers. It is a drama of going round in circles.
This is a cruel and dangerous world, full of evil and conscienceless individuals. Some of them occupy the highest positions in the world, while others are at the lower rung of society. No matter the level of power, these individuals attain (or do not attain,) their thoughts and behavioural patterns are the same. They care less about justice, or how good humanity can be. They present a facade to the world that they really care, but in their closets, they are monsters with no atom of human compassion in them.
John Hartung wrote: “There is a difference between what is wrong and what is evil. Evil is committed when clarity is taken away from what is clearly wrong, allowing wrong to be seen as less wrong, excusable, right, or an obligatory commandment of the Lord God Almighty. Evil is badly sold as good, wrong sold as right, injustice sold as justice. Like the coat of a virus, a thin veil of right can disguise enormous wrong and confer an ability to infect others.” This is an apt description of the world we live in.
If not, how do we explain the killing of the 25-year old African-American Ahmaud Armery in Georgia, United States of America (USA) on February 23? No matter what tale father and son Gregory McMichael (64) and Travis McMichael (34) may spin, there is no justification for the killing. We have, however, learnt that evil can be generational or relational. If these two could conspire to kill an innocent man out on a jogging exercise, we should accept that the society is breeding clusters of evil families.
The killing of Ahmaud is another milestone in the delicate race relationship in the US. But let us not get this wrong thinking this only applies to the US. No! In every society defined by the colours — white and black — it is just a matter of time before the hate brewing underground boils over.
It is, nevertheless, disheartening that the most powerful nation in the world has failed in every aspect of race relations. The level of racism in the country is disturbing. The emergence of the Alt-Right movement following the election of President Donald Trump has dangerously fired this unacceptable “nationalism.”
There is no race in as much risk of unprovoked attacks or injustice as blacks. In this age, the black skin colour enrages some individuals. The “unspoken” violence against blacks on the streets of the UK, Russia, China, Estonia, etc. is unusual in comparison with other races. It is unfathomable why there is so much hate against a race that is impoverished by the actions of the forefathers of the racists.
The white supremacists need a lesson in history to understand how injustices were done to the black race. Why are they angry with a race that they forced to slavery? Why the hate towards a race brought to its knees, with guns to the heads of their great-great-great-grandfathers and shipped to sugar plantations? These crimes were committed by whites against blacks. Tell me why hate is the other way round?
My heart goes out to the family and friends, especially the mother, of Ahmaud. It is sad enough to lose a life, but worst to know a close person had been murdered intentionally, not for anything but the colour of his/her skin. The pain of the mother is unimaginable coupled with the injustice she suffered. The double jeopardy inflicted on her is enough to kill any mother, especially one who had done everything right, endured much racial profiling and discrimination to raise a good Ahmaud.
Losing a child is a pain, but to know that the killers would walk away without justice is torture. This is inhumanity, at its best. This was the pain of this woman in the weeks following the murder of her son. The two heartless individuals were almost let off by the system. Not for anything but the fact that they are whites and had “merely wasted” a “worthless” black man.
This is the pain of society. The operators of the system have their rules, depending on the colour of the victims or perpetrators. They are privileged to switch the rules at their own time and pace without any recriminations. Ahmaud practically became a victim of the system.
The killers claimed self-defence for the killing of a defenceless individual, whom a neighbour had called the police on for a burglary on a construction site in the area. A review of the closed-circuit television clip showed an individual that resembled Ahmaud had stopped by at the site, looked around and continued on his run.
The CCTV images showed Ahmaud had no stick or stone or knife on him, yet these animals claimed they were defending themselves. The operators of the system, paid to deliver justice, supported the claims and said there was no justification for the arrest of the McMichaels.
They concluded the killers had acted within the provisions of the State of Georgia’s citizen arrest statute. Please note that the senior McMichael was a retired investigator in the same police department. This may explain why the police or the District Attorneys were not in a hurry to bring him and his son to justice.
But Ahmaud’s god was not asleep. From nowhere the video recording of his killing surfaced. It was graphic with no holds barred. It is not clear yet if the “undercover” cameraman was a part of the “hunting” group. He could have been recording for the viewing enjoyment of the group. His recording position was too vintage to be coincidental. Let us, however, leave this to the prosecutor to think about. But we know for certain that his recording started the process to reverse the injustice to Ahmaud.
There was no hiding place for the operators of the system. The video clip went viral and even the blind could see the inhumanity of the father and son. The killing of Ahmaud might have been planned in the front porch of their home, but the execution was public. The world witnessed how this defenceless young man fell to shots from racists, inflamed by anger at the sight of a black man.
Ahmaud must not suffer injustice. This is the sole way this young man’s death can be avenged. It will be a massive fight, but it must be fought with all that is there. The McMichaels must not be let off lightly. The system is associated with injustice.
If you doubt, watch the new docuseries on Netflix, Trial By Media. Reference Bernard Goetz who shot four black teenagers on a New York City subway in 1984. He was acquitted on the back of self-defence. Injustice is a new humanity.