by Ismail Warsame
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Ismail Warsame of Corvallis shares a story about how he was profiled while trying to return an item that his wife had purchased at an Albany retail store - Mark Ylen Mid-Valley Media
As the world battles the COVID 19 pandemic, there is arguably a much deadlier and more persistent pandemic. That’s the oppression pandemic. But unlike coronavirus, there is no prospect of a vaccine in the horizon. You can’t combat oppression with social distancing either, and certainly no amount of N95 masks and/or hand sanitizers will help. George Floyd has beaten corona. His body was able to withstand the viral infection and continued to function properly. According to medical reports, he was asymptomatic at the time of his tragic death. But his oxygen supply was blocked by the knee of a cold-blooded and quite dangerous police officer. His lungs were deprived of oxygen by deliberate and cruel actions of an officer who was supposed to protect the public safety.
People around the world were appalled to see these episodes. Many of us still have nightmares about what we saw. Unfortunately, this was not all that surprising though. Oppression is neither new nor exclusively an American invention per se. Yes American history is littered with sophisticated and systematized oppression. From the transatlantic slaver trade, to Jim Crow laws in America, to redlining and house discrimination gerrymandering, disproportionate incarceration & voter suppression tactics, oppression never left Black folks in America.
However, what the Belgians did in Congo (DRC) continues to haunt the entire continent of Africa as well. The story of King Leopold’s Ghost was scarier than any of Stephen King’s horror stories—The tales of Congolese people being maimed, exploited and terrorized under Belgian colonialism. Palestinians in Gaza & the occupied west-bank witness George Floyd-like scenarios in the hands of US funded & supported Israeli Defense Forces, frequently. Australian Aborigines & indigenous tribes in the Americas both have suffered similar fate in the hands of the European settler colonialists for a very long time. ISIS, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and many other militant outfits all feed off the historical western oppressions and use them as a tool to recruit, justify and radicalize young people in the Muslim world. Something political scientists consider a “blowback” reaction.
On the other hand, white supremacist terrorism fuels the flames of hatred, globally. From New Zealand to South Africa, Norway to the “Deep South” in USA and everywhere in between. In East Asia, China and Myanmar both oppress their Muslim minority citizens. Hindu nationalists often persecute other religious minorities in India. In Iran and Syria, religious, ethnic and socio-political minorities continue to suffer. Oppression remains a global issue. It is time for people of goodwill from around the world to stand up together in solidarity and declare oppression a global pandemic worthy of eradication in the same way COVID 19 is being fought!
Ismail Warsame, M. Ed.
Higher Education Professional in USA
Ismail can be reached at: [email protected]