Gen Y to the fore to decry police excesses

By Vijay Badhwar



Range is in the air at Town Hall in Sydney. The vibes are so strong that the sensations go through the whole body.

There are thousands of protesters, mostly young, who overlay several blocks of adjacent streets around the Sydney landmark. Absent are most from the Indian community – law abiding (!), Coronavirus afraid (understandable), indifferent/can’t be bothered (inexcusable).

There is an earlier Supreme Court injunction against the protest meeting. But it is overturned by the NSW Court of Appeal only a few minutes before the meeting is scheduled. It is indeed strategic to discourage the attendance and then to accept the inevitable and placate the disenchanted.

The anguished plea – ”˜I can’t breathe’ – of George Floyd from faraway Minnesota, catalysed by a felled 17-year-old indigenous youngster by a white policeman in Redfern using an absolutely disproportionate tackle is too much to bear in a civilised society. And the justification that the policeman just had a bad day! While most in the police force are exemplary in their dealings with the community, a few among them may have systemic hatred, violence, racism, power abuse camouflaged under their uniforms.

Raised above the protesters’ heads are placards and clenched fists in solidarity that enough is enough. The mostly unintelligible speeches from the Town Hall steps by the families and elders only form a background of a powerful message that it’s time for action: 432 deaths in custody since 1991 are investigated and to implement recommendations of the Royal Commission which are gathering dust. David Dungay who died in Long Bay Prison subject to an alleged assault by uniformed persons to stop him from eating biscuits is decried by all speakers. No one involved in the alleged abuse has ever been convicted.

For once, social media, despite its bane of fake news and polarisation it can propagate, has to be complimented that it has catapulted to the forefront a just social issue, an abuse of power by the mighty for centuries, exposing the underlying racism and inequality that still manifests, albeit silently, among a large majority.

Unsurprisingly, as quoted in an opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald by Waleed Aly, 58 percent of Americans support Trump’s call to supplement police by US military as George Floyd related protests gather pace, unrepentant that a gross wrong had been committed against a hapless victim pleading for life. The President’s voice was partisan and further divided the community on a brink with such tweet, ”˜when looting starts, shooting starts’. Divisive, irresponsible, you may say, but alas, you protesters are in a minority.

If the powerful alone continue to have their say, we will still remain in dark ages. Colonialism, slavery, racial divide has always secured them in an advantageous position. The superior genes, as they postulated in the 1920s, culminated in mass elimination of Jews during the Second World War and an all round outcry. Otherwise, geneticists like Sir Francis Galton in the 1880s were all out to control marriages, immigration, forced sterilisations based on inferior genes.

Thankfully, we are in a different era. And we are able to voice our opinions, even loudly through the social media. The indigenous community in Australia is disadvantaged for centuries of atrocities done to them – massacres, forcibly taking their children away, forced labour.

We tend to our emergency workers, police for slightest post-traumatic stress disorders. Do not we realise that our indigenous brethren who have been traumatised and should be tenderly looked after for some of their alleged disfunctionalities.

Certainly, a leg tackle to fell someone face down on a concrete footpath, is not a caring therapy.

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