This Week’s Top 5 Picks in International History and Diplomacy

(Image: Eric Bouvet / VII / Redux)

George Floyd Moves the World

Mary L. Dudziak

Foreign Affairs

The killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer has thrust the United States into an uncomfortable light, as people around the world have taken to the streets to decry American racism. In Milan, protesters sat with hands around their necks in front of “I can’t breathe” signs, quoting Floyd’s dying words. The phrase was spelled out in candles in Australia. In Dublin, a large crowd, fists in the air, chanted, “No justice, no peace.” Syrians painted a mural of Floyd amid the rubble in Idlib. Black people across the world, said Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, were “shocked and distraught” by Floyd’s killing.

In many places, crowds turned their attention to practices by their own countries. In New Zealand, indigenous people stressed their vulnerability to racial profiling. (Read more)

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This Week’s Top 5 Picks in International History and Diplomacy

We can’t breathe

Gary Younge

New Statesman

I had been spending a fair amount of time reporting from the Caribbean when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in August 2005. Making my way to the Crescent City from Kingston, Jamaica, I arrived to see US troops stationed outside the Harrah’s casino, as mostly black people were plucked from trees and roofs, and bodies floated down main streets and started decomposing in houses.

It wasn’t just the levees that had been breached but the facade of a First World nation: one of the United States’ most celebrated cities appeared like Port-au-Prince, only with skyscrapers.

The hurricane had not created the inequalities of race and class so evident in the aftermath; it had simply laid them bare. When Katrina struck more than 44 per cent of New Orleans residents were functionally illiterate; close to one in three African Americans in Louisiana lived in poverty; rates of black infant mortality in the state were worse than infant mortality in Sri Lanka, and black male life expectancy was the same as that for men in Kyrgyzstan. African Americans were less likely to leave town before the storm came because they were less likely to have cars or cash. As thousands of people, most of them black, flocked to the convention centre, in search of shelter and sustenance, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Michael Brown, said, “We’re seeing people that we didn’t know exist.” (Read more)

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