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On Baltimore and Sri Lanka

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 People protesting the death of Freddie Gray and demanding police accountability move into the streets in the Sandtown neighborhood where Gray was arrested on April 30, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland People protesting the death of Freddie Gray and demanding police accountability move into the streets in the Sandtown neighborhood where Gray was arrested on April 30, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland (AFP)

Open letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and the Ambassador to USA in Sri Lanka

The USA, the key mover of the UNHCR Resolution seeking investigation into the crimes said to have committed during the last phase of the war 2009 –based on speculative and questionable reports- is sending a high level representative to Sri Lanka for discussions on foreign relations and of course Sri Lanka’s domestic issues such as good governance etcat a time when the US city, Baltimore is gripped by riots in response to the death of Freddie  Grayan Afro-American young man of 25 years old ‘while in the Police custody ‘ From the Cincinati riots in 1829 to date there had been more than 100 incidents of racial violence in the USA cities on account of entrenched racism and discrimination towards mainly the Afro-Americans.

From 2009 when the police officer Johnnes Mahserie shot a black transit passenger, Oscar Grant in Oakland, California and was found to be guilty of involuntary manslaughter there were at least 5 serious racially motivated riots culminating in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in Aug 2014 again leading to race-based mass violence.

In fact, President, Obama admitted the seriousness of the prevailing lop sided situation when discussing the Baltimore incidents he said,  “America needs to some soul searching to break the cycle of the clashes between police and the communities they serve” . He added ‘America needs to get serious about lifting up the impoverished communities, to help alleviate the tension that simmers under the surface and breaks through during confrontation with the law enforcement. He said that the deeper problem is a lack of education opportunities for many kids and a criminal justice system that is a pipeline from schools to prisons” The Senate

Minority Leader, Harry Reid called his congressional colleagues to help lift the communities stuck in poverty. He said, “We should not let the violence perpetrated by a few to become an excuse and ignore the underlying problems: that millions of Americans feel powerless in the face of a system that is rigged against them”

The statements glaringly exposes the under belly of the USA, the wealthiest nation which often attempts to market democratic ideals to the world either through soft and crafty diplomacy or by armed intervention.

In Baltimore, after three days of rioting, it is reported that there were 144 fires involving 144 vehicles and 15 structures. The Police had arrested 235 people including 34 juveniles. At least 20 police officers were injured. The riots and civil disobedience are spreading to more US cities as a mark of protesting against the discriminatory acts on the part of law enforcing authorities.

The following issues are identified by social scientists regarding racial riots in the USA.

US society is built on the oppression of people of dark skinned communities, creation of an under-class among the vast majority of Afro-Americans, incarceration rates, law enforcement repressions facing Afro-Americans,. The situation is made worse by the big number of military veterans in the police department. At an interview with Maryland’s Democratic , Elijah Cummings on CNN. He said, “We’ve really got to look at our police department.These people have to live in the communities ..or there’s a lack of emotional involvement.

We love our veterans but, some of them are coming back from war, they don’t know the communities, and they are ready to do battle.’ Further. The corrupt police officers especially ones with links to drug trade have been found to be unsuitable for upholding law and order.

According to a widely published report in 2014 by Pro-Publica concluded that young black males are 21 times likely to get gated by the Police than their white counterparts. 1217 deadly police shootings captured in Federal records show that blacks aged 15-19 were killed at a rate of 31.17%  per million while just 1.47% per million white males killed. The high prisoner population in the USA is another feature which indicates that the criminal justice system is not serving its purpose. Even though USA is having only 5% of the world’s population, it has little over 20% of the world’s prisoner population with nearly 65% being the blacks.

The US system is dehumanizing its own people according to a pastor who is working with the people in Baltimore to win the confidence of the Afro-Americans.

While treating the unenviable domestic oppression with benign neglect, the USA is carrying on aerial bombardment in Iraq to protect civilians and their democratic rights, as they claimed
when they directly and indirectly engaged in war in Afghanistan, Sudan. Syria, Libya , Somalia and others.

Mr Kerry and the Ambassador for USA in Sri Lanka, YOU CANNOT BE THE FIREMEN TO PROTECT DEMOCRACY IN SRI LANKA WHILE SIMALTANOUSLY BE PYROMANICS AT HOME IGNORING THE ARMED RACIAL VIOLENCE IN THE USA.
RANJITH SOYSA

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