George Floyd, RIP

NOBEL LAUREATES, 15 Jun 2020

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate – TRANSCEND Media Service

Like millions of others, both in United States and around the World, I was deeply shocked by the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer on 25 May 2020. The brutal action of the police officer, who kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck in spite of his anguished cry, ‘I can’t breathe’, and calling for his mother right before he died. The video of this murder by a white policeman helped by his three colleagues was zoomed around the world in minutes and horrified all by its barbarity and inhumanity.  How did this police officer, who was supposed to save and protect George Floyd, ended up murdering him?

I would like to add my sympathy and condolences to George Floyd’s family and the families of black victims and others killed by racists be they in USA, United Kingdom, Asia, no matter where they live. It was inspiring to see millions of people respond to the call of the movement ‘Black Lives Matter’ and take to the streets to pray act and protest police brutality, institutional violence, racism and discrimination, and to call for transparency, accountability and real change.

Anti-black racism permeates the criminal justice system and the social fabric of the USA, UK and many other countries.

During my many visits to the USA, I was deeply shocked by the extreme poverty, particularly in black-American communities.  I visited Los Angeles after the 1992 riots and witnessed   the poverty in which many blacks lived, which left me in admiration at the courage of so many working to help their devastated communities with little or no resources and help.

The USA is a very rich country but sadly much of their wealth goes to the elite l% with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The military budget (largest in the world) is spent on arms, nuclear weapons and war. Large numbers of black Americans join the military as there are few jobs for them. The ‘Black Lives Matter’ Movement, the peace movement calling for ending wars, the anti- nuclear movement, women’s’ movement, and the environment movement increasingly led by youth, are calling for new policies from the US and world governments, to put their citizens and their need for health and education first refusing to kill each other but solving our problems through dialogue, cooperation and harmony.

During my visit to LA I visited a black church and took hope from the hundreds of black Americans who after the riots committed themselves to rebuild their City of Angels with justice, equality and peace. Their service ended with a great AMEN.  As a tribute and in respect to the memory of George Floyd we join our black American brothers and sisters and commit to the search for justice, equality and peace amongst the human family.

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Mairead Corrigan Maguire, co-founder of Peace People, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. She won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book The Vision of Peace (edited by John Dear, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama) is available from www.wipfandstock.com. She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. See: www.peacepeople.com.


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 15 Jun 2020.

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