Saturday, August 7, 2021

In the kangaroo court

J'accuse! How Derek Chauvin became America's Dreyfus

"How flimsy it is!" wrote Emile Zola in his public letter to French president Félix Faure.  "The fact that someone could have been convicted on this charge is the ultimate iniquity.  I defy decent men to read it without a stir of indignation in their hearts and a cry of revulsion, at the thought of the undeserved punishment being meted out."

The year was 1898.  The man convicted of espionage was Alfred Dreyfus, a French Army General Staff officer who was then rotting away on Devil's Island to which he had been sentenced for life.  The evidence of Dreyfus's guilt mattered less to the French military establishment than did the need to feed the anti-Semitic mania then sweeping the country.

Upon Derek Chauvin's conviction for the murder of George Floyd, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris unwittingly laid bare the equally racist mania sweeping America.

"America has a long history of systemic racism.  Black Americans — and Black men, in particular — have been treated, throughout the course of our history, as less than human," said Harris in her formal statement on Chauvin's conviction.  "We are all a part of George Floyd's legacy, and our job now is to honor it and to honor him."

"It was a murder in the full light of day," echoed Biden, "and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism the vice president just referred to — the systemic racism that is a stain our nation's soul; the knee on the neck of justice for Black Americans; the profound fear and trauma, the pain, the exhaustion that Black and brown Americans experience every single day."


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