Black America – decent America – is hurting. The contemptuous and contemptible killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis was just the latest in a long, long series of police attacks on black people. Before George Floyd the US police attacked and killed black people like Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Malice Green, – the list goes on. In 2015 alone, US police killed 104 unarmed black people.
On 13 July 1969, sixty-seven-year-old Francie McCloskey went into Dungiven to have a pint and a chat. After an RUC baton attack, he was found lying unconscious in a doorway. He died the next day in hospital. Two days later, forty-two-year-old Sammy Devenney died. He was from the Bogside, and a few months earlier, the RUC had broken down his door and attacked the family, including a five-year-old boy. Sammy was severely beaten on the head and body and taken to hospital. He was ill from that day until his death in July.
Nationalists and fair-minded people of every political hue in Ireland know the kind of ‘domination’ Trump’s word) which was forced on them by the state and its armed forces down the decades. The sense of contempt (think Apprentice Boys hurling pennies from Derry’s walls into the Bogside), of inner rage now being felt by US blacks is something that northern nationalists know all too well. And of course they know the particular pain when a loved one has been beaten or killed by state forces, and those patently guilty are not even prosecuted.
We have one other experience that might be of value to American black people and those who support them in their struggle for equality. Bad though the local police force may be, when militia from outside are brought in to dominate and subjugate those already oppressed, the door is being opened to an explosion of violence that can last for decades.
Some Americans are lamenting the violence and looting done by young black people. Follow Donald Trump’s heavy hint and bring in the US militia, an outside force totally unsuitable for domestic policing, and you have pressed the button for violent conflict that could last for decades.