Last night, I was texting back and forth with a good friend of mine who now resides in Barcelona, Spain. He said that there were protests going on in the streets near his house. When I asked him why, he said, “because of what’s happening in the United States.”
I can honestly say I was dumbfounded. The violent riots in the United States have now spread to create protests in other countries around the world. My question is why do other countries care? The situation with George Floyd, presumably what the protests and riots are about, happened in America. Why is this an international concern? Also, as I have previously written, the debate about police brutality is a flawed one built on a base of emotion, not statistics…but that’s a discussion for another time.
The foreign press had a field day with the race riots in the US. They were apoplectic over the events happening in our country, and many took the opportunity to issue condemnations of the American system. The Guardian reported the following:
“The EU’s top diplomat has described the death of George Floyd as an ‘abuse of power’, adding his voice to growing international unease over the US killing as well as Washington’s subsequent violent crackdown against protesters.
‘We here in Europe, like the people of the US, we are shocked and appalled by the death of George Floyd and I think that also societies must remain vigilant against the excess of use of force,’ said Josep Borrell, the European body’s foreign policy chief.
‘This is an abuse of power and this has to be denounced as we combat [it] in the States and everywhere. We support the right to peaceful protest and also we condemn violence and racism of any kind and, for sure, we call for a de-escalation of tensions,’ said Borrell, who was previously Spain’s foreign minister.
Borrell’s remarks in Brussels were some of the most forthright so far to come out of the 27-country bloc. However, they came the same day as the UK said people should be ‘allowed to protest peacefully,’ while Germany and Australia announced they were looking into police attacks on the media at US demonstrations…
Demonstrations in the US during the past week have resonated around the world, with solidarity protests held in other countries.
The leading United Nations human rights official said on Tuesday the US protests underscored police violence at a time when the coronavirus was already having a ‘devastating impact’ on ethnic minorities worldwide.
‘This virus is exposing endemic inequalities that have too long been ignored. In the United States, protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd are highlighting not only police violence against people of colour, but also inequalities in health, education, employment and endemic racial discrimination,’ Michelle Bachelet said…
Governments also expressed concern over the heavy-handed police response to protests. In Washington DC on Tuesday, officers, including members of the military police used teargas, rubber bullets and flash-bangs to chase away peaceful demonstrators as Donald Trump addressed the press outside the White House.
When asked for his opinion of Trump’s call for military action against protesters, Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, paused for 21 seconds before saying: ‘We all watch in horror and consternation at what is going on the United States. It is time to pull people together…
Meanwhile, Germany’s government warned that journalists in the US should be protected and able to do their jobs. The statement came after a correspondent for the country’s public broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, said he was shot at live on air while reporting in Minneapolis, the city in which Floyd was killed.
Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, said his government would question US authorities on that specific case “to find out the exact circumstances”.
‘Democratic countries must apply the highest standards in protecting press freedom. In this context, all violence must not only be criticized by also prosecuted and clarified so that journalists can be effectively protected while carrying out their work,’ Maas told reporters.”
Not a word—not one single word—in the Guardian’s piece mentioned the violent actions of the rioters and how they are endangering journalists. It isn’t Donald Trump looting cities and setting fire to historic churches and police precincts, it is the hooligans that are masquerading as citizens concerned about the death of George Floyd.
The rest of the world shouldn’t lecture us on human rights. Rather, they ought to look in the mirror to find threats to liberty closer to home. Our country has helped restore human rights to millions of people around the world. A little thanks would be nice every now and then.
In the meantime, they should just worry about problems in their own countries. We don’t need their virtue-signaling protests.