Charles Elias Chartouni/Minneapolis, the Anatomy of Civil Unrest/شارل الياس الشرتوني: مينيابوليس… تشريح الاضطرابات المدنية

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Minneapolis, the Anatomy of Civil Unrest
Charles Elias Chartouni/June 02/2020
شارل الياس الشرتوني: مينيابوليس… تشريح الاضطرابات المدنية

The tragic death of George Floyd is a timely warning on the deepening crises of civility tearing at the seams of a divided national community. The ongoing effects of a rumbling pandemic, its unleashed anxieties and overall deleterious effects are running across the political and social landscapes, and rekindling tensions of all kind: political, racial, ethnic, religious and social. The violence we have witnessed in Minneapolis and throughout the Nation are quite reminiscent of previous troubles caused by police disproportionate use of violence which turned awry and elicited major civil riots ( Los Angeles 1992, Ferguson 2014, Baltimore 2015, New York 2019, Minneapolis, 2020 ), and the rise of a new breed of radical politics structured around systemic cleavages in the US ( Black lives Matter, 2013 ).

Whatever legal, political and operational measures have been enacted at both Federal and State levels, they have not come up with the awaited results, and the unabated course of systemic marginality and delinquency, violence, unrestrained security measures, and ideological extremism, continued their erratic digression.

The “ Boogaloo movement “ (Variants of radical Right Wing libertarians) and the radical fringes of the Democratic Party and their acolytes on the anarchist hems ( the Antifa) are forging ahead with their radicalism and fueling extremism all across the political spectrum.

The reforms of policing regimes ( community policing, codification of restraining orders, Civic Boards and Committees … ) have been quite operational addressing security issues, defusing racial, ethnic, religious and social tensions, but still have not been able to eradicate the recurrent pattern of violence.

Therefore, we are inevitably left with the structural problems of inter-generational poverty among African-Americans ( 17.7 / 100, 2020 ), the destructive effects of unregulated globalization on middle classes ( ie. WASP and rural America ), by and large, inegalitarian dynamics and skewed power configurations based on transnational financial elitism, and the equivocations elicited by large scale migration, politicized ethnicity and Islamist terrorism which created the congenial terrain for radicalization and conflictive identity politics.The pandemic configuration might be the opportunity to address the manifold challenges spawned by this new era, and deal with the hidden injuries of a monumental transition which has been questioning our intellectual, moral and political certainties in the last three decades.

The actual ideological framing which prevails over the political dynamics is what accounts for the current volatility and its incidence on civility, security and overall political stability. I recall a discussion between two homeless boarding a bus in Northern Miami ( one is white and one is black) in the aftermath of the OJ. Simpson trial (the assassination of his wife Nicole Brown, 1995 ), on how skewed was the jury’s verdict which acquitted him. The black guy answering his white partner said plainly, “ it wasn’t about making justice, it was about beating the system ”, since the majority of the jury was black. Justice must be served in the repeated tragedy of George Floyd, but what matters most is how to tackle the overdue polarization that prevails over national politics and keeps us under the spell of its extreme ends.

The Nation is definitely in need of an iconic figure and a stature which likens the one of Abraham Lincoln, “ I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true, I am not bound to succeed but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.“

City officials on Friday were urging calm the day after protests turned violent and a police precinct went up in flames.