If there was a time humanity has experienced a clear articulation of inequality and discrimination in the last century, it would be now. The world is faltering amid a global pandemic; a time when more black bodies and communities the world over are sick, dying or adversely affected by COVID-19. The ‘sicknesses’ however did not start and will not end with the pandemic and the response. There have been hundreds of years of deep-rooted social and economic disparities and inaction that we need to uproot as part of our healing and transformative agenda.
Over the years, the constant attack and harm on black bodies and communities has been normalised and thus this is not a new phenomenon. The core foundation upon which police structures were built was to enforce the domination and exploitation in the pursuit of Empire. It is therefore not surprising that policing across the globe is equal to brutality, because that is what it was meant to do.
In Africa and indeed in the global planes, policing and brutality are intrinsically linked and predominantly meted out on black bodies. In countries where the police as an institution was originated to establish, maintain and sustain colonial State and imperialism, and on the upholding of the Apartheid system, the entrenchment of Slavery and Post slavery Jim Crow, it is no surprise that policing has continued with its mandate of brutality on black bodies.
This is what policing in these contexts was meant to do to. The single intent was and has always been that of gaining control, subduing and dominating black bodies. This process of dehumanising black bodies and communities has been a long one.
And in such regimes, brutality is the currency of policing. It is not by accident but by design. For as long as these systems are not dismantled, we will see the likes of …
João Pedro Matos Pinto
…our lists grow longer but we must find ways to keep memorialising, remembering and saying their names until justice is served and until our institutions seek to serve and protect their people.
The current global unrest, manifesting through protests and civil disobedience, is an opportune political moment for saying, ‘Enough is enough-Get off our necks!’ Black and people of colour communities are rising up all over the world to resist white supremacy, anti-blackness hatred, neo-liberalism, corporate greed that prioritises the rich and white over all others, that prioritises profits over black people and the planet, that dehumanises and demeans the dignity and sanctity of black people’s lives, that mocks and disregards the fact that Black Lives Matter!
The only way a girl at a bus stop in a bustling city who lost her life at the hands of a trigger happy police officer enforcing lockdowns, or the homeless man who died at the hands of police as he sought shelter on the cold streets of an informal settlement, or an aspiring nurse is shot in her bed due to a police ambush on the wrong house, or the deadly assault of a man by soldiers in the privacy of his home…All these have one thing in common, they are in the extreme a reflection of how deep and structural inequalities negatively affect black bodies and communities.
We must change and dismantle those systems of control over black bodies and communities in Africa and beyond.
At the Feminist Republik, we emphasize that now more than ever there is a need to take a stand and acknowledge the harm and social wounds that plague us. There is need for justice and a making for amendments for this harm and suffering. There is need to restore our bodies and communities to heal from the anguishes of racialised and police brutality and trauma. Pushing for justice is part of our healing as is taking care of our deep woundedness. Tending to our hurts, anger, pain in ways that are nurturing and sustained in community is critical and necessary as a tool for resilience and transformation.
At the Feminist Republik, we are constantly finding ways to offerings for room to explore the freedom to heal even as we work with a determination of dismantling oppressive power and control that subjugates us.
We remain committed to the healing of ourselves and our communities.
We remain at your service and in deep solidarit.