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Cross Continent Protesting

Sachin Krishnamurthy

Let’s not make this another trite #BlackLivesMatter post, but rather a journey into trying to understand the nature of protests themselves. The United States has for long, strong-held the glorious story of the American Civil War, the great victory of the free states over the slave holding states, the victory of the rightful union over the Confederate, the victory of liberty over slavery and this glorious history of theirs is etched so deeply in global culture that it’s a natural paradigm for any socio-political campaign and it is made to believe that the state in power follows this pious paradigm as scrupulously as their predecessors and the offices in power pretend to do so, but all we know is – that isn’t the whole picture.

You know, it’s in human nature that the way we understand our world is because of the voices we listen to, but we often forget it is also because of the voices we don’t listen to. While this state sponsored triumph of liberty over slavery is reiterated more often than not, what we don’t hear so often is the survival of the Ku Klux Klan, the Superstrate dominance of differentiation and the Red Summer of 1919. In the summer of 1919, various socio-economic factors led to an influx of black migrants into the USA who worked as labourers in factories where an unprecedented duel between a black man and what was supposedly a white policeman abusing his office led to a domino effect of a number of black lives lost due to the brutality of racism throughout the year making it one of the darkest years of racism in American History which led Claude Mckay to pen down, “If we must die, let it not be like hogs, Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot, While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, Making their mock at our accursèd lot… Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack, Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!” as a resistance to the terror of the summer of 1919, which surprisingly happened under the presence and silence of the much celebrated President Woodrow Wilson. For a fact there are far less memorials, let alone enough reiteration of that red summertime of 1919 and now it’s just another brick in the forgotten wall of history while they still commemorate the American Civil War which happened decades before the red summer letting it slide and making the mass believe that the state stands for the empowerment of the blacks while that isn’t the actual case letting a lot of injustice and inequality slide.

Well, by now you might be reading it with a sigh of ‘Alright Lad, that’s a good American History Lesson, but I’m an Indian, what do I gotta do with that?’ I mean yes, you’re right but let me ask you why there’s so much hype after all? Are we aware of the incident? Yes. Do we acknowledge the wrong being done? Yes. But why do we have a sense of activism for something that’s happening far beyond us? That trickles us down to the social media led western imperialism which makes us consume more of western stories that make us oblivious of what’s happening in our own country. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a conservative who’s gonna shun the western media, nor am I a liberal who is gonna hyperbolically talk about riots and lynchings. All I’m gonna say is, I was born in the year of 2001 and year later something happened in our country and 18 years since, the same alleged people are running our country, arguably better than the alternatives we have, but we have forgotten to address that Red Year, we haven’t scrutinised that broken brick. At least, let’s not make it another brick in the forgotten wall of our Indian History, for nothing in our present must make us hesitate to address our past.


Sachin Krishnamurthy is an undergrad student, who has his interests varying from Anthropocene to Law, Finance and Behavioural Studies. He writes to take a break from reality and delve into the realms of magic and metaphors and features his pieces (more often than not) on his Instagram art handle @thefalseashokatree. He loves debates, deliberations and mind boggling situations abd epiphanies which he believes to have shaped his social outlook. He’s a Bengaluru huduga who loves Cubbon Park, the Beatles and the Vlogbrothers.