The similarities are eery.
In Ferguson, Missouri, a young black man got into some sort of hassle with a cop. He started to walk away but the cop got out of the car and opened fire. When the young man stopped and turned around, the cop continued firing. Whether he was killed immediately we will never know, since his body was left lying in the street for four hours, presumably while the police figured out what story to cook up.
Three months later, in the Israeli village of Kafr Kanna, 22 year old Kheir a-Din Hamdan confronted some Israeli police sitting in a police car. They had just arrested his cousin and he was angry. He pounded on the window of the car with some object. The police claim it was a knife, but whatever it was, he then turned and walked away. As he was walking away, the cops got out of the car and unleashed a volley of shots. Kafr fell to the ground – possibly dead on the spot, possibly not. The police grabbed his body and threw him in the car like a sack of potatoes. He bled to death.
(Note: Just a few days before this murder, the Israeli Minister of Security had publicly stated that no “terrorist” should be left alive. For an excellent article on that situation, read Uri Avnery here.)
There was one key difference: In the case of Kafr Kanna, there was actually a security video camera that – unknown to the cops – recorded the entire affair. Their claim that he attacked them with a knife and that they shot him in self defense was proven to be a lie.
But one thing to note: Since the murder of Kafr Kanna, Israel and the West Bank has been awash in protests – strikes, protests… And while protests have been common among the Palestinians of the West Bank, this isn’t so much true in Israel itself. Now that has changed.
And Ferguson? After the Mike Brown assassination, it seemed like the entire black community – especially the youth – turned out day after day, night after night. There were some protests around the country, but nothing too disruptive. Now the decision to exonerate Darren Wilson – the murderous cop – is coming. The police are getting ready. It seems virtually certain that mass protests will be met with mass repression. What will happen in the rest of the country? Will the similarity with Israel continue to the next step?
Will this be the people’s answer to the recent electoral triumph of the more reactionary wing of the US politicians?