George Floyd's killing: Commit more to end racism - Okudzeto Ablakwa charges

Okudzeto Ablakwa Aker Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP, North Tongu

Fri, 12 Jun 2020 Source: GNA

Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu has reminded humanity to commit more to end the war against racism.

Mr Ablakwa, who is also Ranking Member on the Committee of Foreign Affairs of Parliament, in an emotional statement, condemned the dastardly killing of George, which has resulted in protests in response to both Floyd's death and more broadly to police violence against black people, which quickly spread across the United States and internationally.

George Floyd, born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States would have turned 47 on October 14, this year.

“On the 25th of May 2020, a day we on this continent observed as Africa Day – a fellow unarmed African American known as George Floyd was pinned to the ground by police officer Derek Chauvin who pressed his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds until he became unconscious and died.

”The gruesome and extremely painful murder which was carried out in broad daylight was captured on camera. The horrific video which will rank amongst the most despicable footage the world has ever seen came with the last words of “I can’t breathe” from a dying Mr. Floyd. Those distressing and extremely agonizing circumstances are forever etched in memory.”

Mr Ablakwa said the awful and depressing killing of Mr Floyd must be condemned in the strongest possible terms and with all the force Parliament could muster, explaining, “this traumatic episode serves as a chilling reminder that the war against racism has not been won.”

He said: “it is remarkable to observe that despite grappling with a highly contagious COVID-19 pandemic which demands physical distancing to minimize the risk of infection, many have defied the pandemic and poured out in their thousands in countries.”

The countries which include Germany, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, France, Liberia, Brazil, Iran, Canada, Denmark, Kenya, Netherlands, South Africa and Mexico to register their revulsion and outrage at what happened in Minneapolis.

In Ghana, there have been vigils and a memorial ceremony by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, and Ministry of Tourism and Creative Arts.

Also, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his predecessors, former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Dramani Mahama have been united in condemnation and leading calls for justice.

Mr Ablakwa observed that the Floyd incident has brought back memories of Amadou Diallo, the Guinean immigrant, who was wrongly killed and shot 41 times by New York police officers on February 4, 1999; Laquan McDonald shot 16 times, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Jamar Clark, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Stephon Clark, Botham Jean, Breonna Taylor and many others.

According to the MP, data collected by the Washington Post reveals that though Blacks make up 12% of the US population. However, from 2015 – 2019 they accounted for 26.4% of those killed by police under all circumstances.

The world is grieving as Pope Francis condemned Floyd’s killing, prayed for those suffering from the “sin of racism” and cautioned: “My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned racism and called for efforts to end inequality and discrimination: “Racism is an abhorrence that we must all reject,” he said; the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat issued a strong condemnation and urged “authorities in the United States of America to intensify their efforts to ensure the total elimination of all forms of discrimination based on race or ethnic origin.”

Other world leaders including Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the killing of the unarmed African-American man by police as he told MPs in Parliament that: “I think what happened in the United States was appalling and inexcusable,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also called the anti-racism protests “understandable and more than legitimate.”

Mr Ablakwa identified racial injustice is a global issue and recalled that fellow Africans in China, including Ghanaian citizens in Guangzhou, China on mere suspicion of having contracted the novel Coronavirus, were subjected to some of the worse forms of stigmatization.

“Mr. Speaker, a clear message must go forth that the black race has had enough. From slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism, economic exploitation to structural and institutional racism, we have simply had enough. Black lives matter! We must force all those knees off our necks!” Mr Ablakwa said.

The Ranking Member hopeful that the US authorities would ensure justice was manifestly done, reminded the House that “back home, it is important to also remember that justice must be done in the cases of late and former colleague J.B. Danquah Adu; Captain Maxwell Adam Mahama, the three Takoradi missing girls and slain journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale.

“May the tumultuous happenings of the past few days bring an end to all forms of discrimination in the world and may we build for ourselves a fair and just society,” Mr Ablakwa implored.

`Contributions by members, including Majority Leader Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, his counterpart Haruna Iddrisu and Ras Mubarak questioned the rationale for the barbaric act, noting the perpetuation of racial injustice and discrimination against minority groups in the USA and some parts of Europe.

They stressed on the need for institutional reforms both in Ghana, the USA, and elsewhere in addressing racial injustice in all its forms.

Source: GNA