Following the shooting of an unarmed black teenager in August this year, riots and violent protests broke out across Ferguson, Missouri, drawing attention once again to the very tense atmosphere lurking in the cradle of democracy, the USA. Neither the heart-felt appeal from President Obama nor the personal apology from the Ferguson police chief seem to be calming down the angry masses that grow further agitated by the day. As the unrest continues, an off-duty police officer was shot at in his car, from which he escaped with minor injuries. And most recently, a female police officer was shot in the arm as she was chasing two burglarly suspects. This wave of hatred and anger that seems to be running disturbingly deep needs a clear and methodical solution if USA wishes to prevent things from getting worse in the future. To do that, we have to look at the background of these incidents and find the ominous signs that could have foretold the events known as the ‘Ferguson Riots’.
Ferguson is an area with a largely black population. African Americans make up two thirds of the 22,000 population yet the Mayor and five out of six people on the City Council are white. The senior ranks of the administration are nearly entirely white, and there are just a few black police officers. There is a vast gulf between the public and the police for just that reason, and this was recently referred to as by President Obama as the ‘gulf of mistrust’.
The region is known as the poorest part of the St. Louis metropolitan area and commercial growth in recent years has only increased the inequality of income in favor of the white population. The black population continued to grow even poorer as investments and companies worked largely for whites. As expected, people employed by those companies again mostly consist of whites. The increasingly impoverished black community has therefore also become unemployed.
The death of Michael Brown was simply a spark that ignited the events in Ferguson. The scourge of racism had long been boiling underneath the surface, ready to spill out at the first opportunity.
All the scourges in the world are the product of mindsets. Radicals misinterpret religion, communists regard terror as legitimate in the name of “equality,” and racists believe that other races are scientifically inferior to them. Africa itself still suffers serious problems due to the mentality of racism. Neither they nor the exploiters who regard them as “inferior” have ever been told that they are entirely equal as the children of the Prophet Adam or of the scientific invalidity of the concept of so-called “superior” or “inferior” races.
This lack of education is also clearly a problem in America, the cradle of democracy. It is no surprise that similar problems should manifest themselves in different ways on different continents. Unless education to correct a false mindset is provided, then some white people who regard it as a scientific fact that they are superior will inevitably impose that twisted perception on black people. That is exactly what is happening in the USA now.
When some American academicians and writers urged violence in the Middle East and said that the region's problems could only be solved by war, I warned them against the dangers of such an attitude. I reminded them that violence could return to haunt them in an unexpected form. Now, the events in Ferguson may be regarded as a confirmation of that warning. And they show something very important: Prejudice is no respecter of distance, geographical differences or civilization. When a perverse mentality flourishes in one place, it can easily put down roots somewhere else. We need to look at this threat in the context of radicalism, too; radicalism is, after all, a mindset and it is not essential for America to be a neighbor in the Middle East for this mentality to run deep.
I hope that the USA, a fine and important country, will soon overcome these conflicts and I hope that the scourge of racism and radicalism will not become a major problem for the USA. That is my prayer. But the lessons that need to be drawn from these unfolding events must also not be ignored. The Obama administration is known not to have favored violence right from the outset. However, mindsets that encourage - in the name of security - greater division in the Middle East and outlandish projects such as Great Kurdistan, and thus the violence and civil conflict that will follow, are a problem for the USA. So long as they encourage these ideas, the door to a policy of violence and rage that extends to the USA itself will regrettably remain open. It is no secret that the USA is also paying a price at this time when peaceful protests have become a thing of the past and when people can so easily be turned to anger and hatred.
Every country in the world has a unique value with its own unique attributes. In that context, every country has positive attributes that can be made use of. In the case of the United States, these qualities are democracy and liberty and it is not too much to say that democracy and liberty are urgently needed in the world today. Therefore, a superpower such as America must of course be involved in global problems. However, to do that, the USA should start by changing its own mindset. It must believe that it is not violence, but education alone that can solve violence and other societal scourges such as racism and radicalism.
When this happens, the conflicts in the regions where violence is widespread like the Middle East and Africa will surely be resolved in a short time. The USA is perfectly positioned to accomplish this. The USA can lead the way in saying no to violence, and can do so by putting sufficient emphasis on proper education.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Weekly Blitz: