Halak and Floyd… Two tragedies

Two tragic murders by two policemen in two different parts of the world… igniting racial hate and national fury.

In the United States of America where blacks have been mistreated and murdered for centuries by white racists, the recent murder of George Floyd has become America’s newest plague..a pandemic which has spread across the country.

A 46 year old black man, George Floyd, in the city of Minneapolis, state of Minnesota, was murdered by a white police officer.

He threw Floyd to the ground and for nine minutes he kept his knee pressing down on Floyd’s throat while Floyd kept screaming that he could not breathe. His cries only caused the policeman to press harder until Floyd was dead. Cause of death at autopsy indicated asphyxiation by manual force.

The policeman was arrested and convicted of the crime of third degree murder. His wife is divorcing him. But the tragic death of an innocent black man has resulted in a war of the people of America seeking justice for George Floyd’s murder.

In cities across America from north to south, from east to west, more than ten thousand protesters have marched. And as they march from one city to another, from one state to another, the numbers of marchers are growing and the flames of protests are blazing without stop.

Large cities like Los Angeles, California and New York City have endured the suffering caused by the looters among the protesters, Thousands of shops have been broken into and the items therein stolen.

Stores have been boarded up and police control the areas. Not there are many more rioters than there are policemen.

Fires have been set to public buildings and to police headquarters in many parts of the USA. The police are unable, so far, to stop the lootings and burnings.

Because of it, president Trump has threatened to call out the military forces, the National Guard, and to deploy them in all the areas in all states where rampant lootings and burnings and destruction of property have taken place.

Americans are furious. Their anger is burning within them at the cruelty of the police in Minneapolis but has now grown to incite action against the police everywhere.

It is a very frightening situation. America has not experienced such large protest marches in decades.

There is only one bitter word to describe America’s situation. And that word is ANARCHY! God save them.

But the vox populii, the voice of the people, is being heard loud and clear across all of the fifty states of America. Citizens of other countries, Britain and France for example, are astounded by police cruelty and are supporting the tens of thousands of Americans marching in protest.

Across the ocean in Israel we too are experiencing the sad and very cruel and tragic murder by police of a young thirty-two year old Palestinian Arab in East Jerusalem.

Iyad Halak, an autistic young and handsome man, was walking in the Old City on his way to an institution which provides education and care to persons suffering from autism.

As he passed the gate and continued walking the police at the scene shouted at him to stop but he did not because he could not. He could not hear nor understand their shouts.

His caretaker informed the police that Iyad was disabled from autism and could not hear what the police were shouting and why they were shouting at him.

But the police paid no attention to the information and began their chase of the innocent Iyad.

Seeing police in pursuit of him and not knowing why, Iyad began to flee. His flight only enraged the police who began shooting at him. They had a suspicion that he was a terrorist based on what they thought was a gun in his hand.

It was, in fact, only his cellphone which his father requested him to call when he arrived safely at the school.

As the police ran after him he ran further away from them into a garbage room. The police found him and shot seven times killing him. An innocent autistic disabled man on his way to his special school!

But unlike the American tragedy, the murder by Israel police of an Israeli citizen did not bring out the thousands of people to march in protest nor to provide comfort and condolences to Iyad’s grieving parents.

Minneapolis and Jerusalem are oceans, seas and mountain apart. But the two recent tragedies in both cities have stirred the consciences of decent human beings around the world.

How many unnecessary police murders must we have? When will racial and ethnic hatred end?

We are cautioned by the words of the prophet Jeremiah… shalom, shalom, v’ain shalom.

Peace! Peace! But there is no peace.

Will there ever be? V’im lo achshav aimatai? And if not now…when ?

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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