Friday, October 24, 2014

My Thoughts on Ferguson

   The further down I browsed on my timeline, the more startling the images became: military tanks. Officers pointing guns at protesters. People choking from tear gas.
   I just knew these scenes were being carried out in Syria. Or Ukraine. Possibly Iraq. Afghanistan?
   Not Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, and certainly not in America, a country quick to mind the business of other nations with conflict.
   It has pained me that nearly two months later, America is still on fire over the killing of 18-year old Mike Brown, a young black man due to go to college shortly before his death.
   What rocked me to my core has been the ill treatment of this case by authorities: the unnecessary smear campaign against Brown by police authorities and the militarization of the police towards peaceful protesters.
   Forget what Mike Brown did moments before he lost his life. That’s irrelevant. He did not deserve to be shot at least six times by Officer Darren Wilson as he surrendered with his hands up in plain view of other people. And he did not deserve to have his body splayed out in the street, uncovered and in full view of the public after his killing. 
   Sure, people rioted. Looted. Anger and frustration manifest themselves in many ways to different people.       
   Perhaps, if Brown’s family and Ferguson citizens had gotten faster, concrete answers about the killing earlier on, things wouldn’t have spiraled out of control so quickly.
   The activism seen on social media and in the streets is encouraging, though. America’s ugly racial history is being recycled, and recorded. This modern-day revolution has been tweeted, Facebooked, Skyped and Vimeoed, despite the attempts of the police to shut out people’s voices.
   I’ve read many of these accounts from my tiny hut atop a mountain thousands of miles away in the bush of Africa. I’ve discussed this tragedy with my host family and some of my Basotho friends.
   There’s not much I can say or do, except to ask for peace and justice for Mike Brown’s family and the Ferguson community. The world is praying. The world certainly is watching.

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