What Russia, China, Egypt Say About Ferguson And Killing Of Michael Brown
Et tu Putin?
Ferguson, Missouri is a flashpoint.
The racial tensions, the over-militarized response of the police force, and the tangible sense of disenfranchisement long experienced by its citizens could happen anywhere in America.
What’s happening in Missouri right now could easily happen in Georgia.
What’s happening in St. Louis County could easily happen in Thomas County.
Under the wrong circumstances at just the wrong time, Thomasville could be Ferguson. I know that. You know that, too. If you believe otherwise, you’re either in denial or you’re not paying attention. Other nations are paying attention, however. Much to our chagrin.
Russia is paying attention. Under Russia’s communist regimes, freedom of the press was non-existent. Any reporter who dared to speak out against communism’s practices and protocols would have disappeared – along with his or her family.
Mother Russia did not allow the right of assembly. Anyone who defied that legal directive would have been assigned to the Gulag – the old Soviet Union agency in charge of Russia’s massive network of forced labor camps. Once there, an individual would be either worked to death, starved to death, or frozen to death.
That nation has a long and sordid history of denying its citizens their rights. In spite of all these conditions, Russia is condemning what’s happening in Ferguson, MO.
According to published media reports, Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner – Konstantin Dolgov – said this in an interview with news channel Rossiya 24: “We think U.S. authorities should pay closer attention to burning internal problems, including those related to ethnicity and race that still exist in the United States," Dolgov said, "and solve them via legal constitutional practices rather than unjustified and inadequate violence.”
A Russian official lecturing the U.S. on human rights? Sad. A Russian official who correctly cites the events in Ferguson as proof of America’s growing racial divide? Embarrassing.
China is paying attention. China’s blatant disregard for human rights is legendary. No freedom of the press is possible there because China nationalized all media outlets long ago.
No net neutrality exists in China because the communist government is in full control of internet accessibility to its citizens, where they get their news, and even which entertainment options are available to them.
Be ever mindful that China long ago established laws which mandate how many children its families can have. To protest anything in China – for any reason – is to actively court imprisonment, financial ruin, and even death.
Yet, China is also condemning what’s happening in Ferguson. Xinhua Op-Ed Columnist Li Li said this Monday in his piece: “In his landmark speech, ‘I Have a Dream,’ civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. voiced his strong aspiration for equal rights of the black people in U.S. society. Fifty years later, such a dream has been partially realized. Notably, the country is having its first African-American president in history. However, despite the progress, racial divide still remains a deeply-rooted chronic disease that keeps tearing U.S. society apart, just as manifested by the latest racial riot in Missouri. Some might argue that racial differences and conflicts are unavoidable in a melting pot like the United States. However, it is undeniable that racial discrimination against African Americans or other ethnic minorities still persists in every aspect of U.S. social lives, including employment, housing, education, and particularly, justice… such racial inequalities could only jeopardize social peace and security. It is highly advisable for the country to make extra efforts to effectively uproot racism in all fields so as to prevent tragedies from recurring.”
A Chinese columnist lecturing the United States on our sad state of race relations? Cringe worthy. A Chinese columnist loudly – and justifiably – reminding us to walk the walk and to talk the talk here before demanding other countries do the same? Humiliating.
Egypt is paying attention. To call Egypt’s human rights record abysmal would be an understatement. In Egypt, people are routinely detained for indefinite periods of time without being charged and without being given a fair trial. In Egypt, public assembly is forbidden without expressed consent from the government in advance. Those who violate this law are subject to death. Yet, Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs just released a statement in Arabic calls for “restraint and respect for the right of assembly and peaceful expression of opinion” towards the residents of Ferguson. Infuriating? Yes, but also true.
All men and women are created equal. Every American should be afforded the full rights and protections as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. This should not be political or racial or economic. It should just be.
We Americans still need to talk. We still need to come together. Until we do, what happened in Ferguson, Missouri will continue happening over and over again. Only the names of the cities and the victims will change.
Such tragedies will continuously be to our detriment – and to our chagrin.