COVID-19 DIARY – ALL LIVES MATTER

 

 

20200606_150919
Copyright Lloyd Marken.

 

June 06

Saturday.

In 1944 this was the day allied forces landed in Normandy and began the liberation of Europe.

In 2020 this was the day in Australian capital cities across the country protests were held for Black Lives Matter. They were held for American George Floyd, for 432 Aboriginal deaths in custody and for what some call systemic racism.

The crowds were full of hippies and hipsters.

Young people who had the look of Humanities students more than Law and Commerce ones.

A few even clearly budding media students trying to capture this historic event.

Aboriginal people who have been marching all their lives for their rights suddenly joined by crowds they had never experienced.

People of all races and backgrounds, not necessarily all of the exact same opinion but all united in opposition to inequality.

There were 30,000 in Brisbane at a time when public gatherings in Queensland could be no more than 20.

No fines were handed out as police closed down the streets for the march.

There were no riots although across the country there were examples of minor vandalism and exchanges of pepper spray and arrests.

It appeared almost everybody was wearing a mask and hand sanitisers were on hand as well but given the large numbers – social distancing simply¬† could not have been maintained at all times no matter how much people tried to respect each other’s space.

Following the weekend Queensland MP Nick Dametto of the Katter Australia Party called on the government to revoke all social distancing fines.

By not getting out there and fining some people gives a very dark message: you’re allowed to break the rules if you have enough people breaking the rules at the same time.” he said.

 

 

He had a point of course, but then again the fines he was talking about had mostly been handed out during a higher proportion of active cases in Queensland to people who wanted to muck around in the park not protest the unjust murder of black people.

I suspect Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk will be holding on tight in the coming two weeks to see if there is a spike in cases before making a final decision on lowering border restrictions amongst others.

I for one think the authorities made the right call in not choosing to escalate the situation, I’m relieved the protests were not hijacked by troublemakers.

I regret that the protesters felt this was the only way their voices could be heard and went against the health advice of the time.

I really regret that.

The protests were held to address racism, their most immediate impact maybe the hurried lowering of restrictions and the undermining of a possible return to them should the need arise.

The protests will remain a divisive topic, one can only hope race one day will not.

On the 6th of June there were four known active COVID-19 cases in Queensland.

The World Health Organisation reported there had been 7,251 confirmed cases in Australia with a daily increase of 11. There had been 102 deaths.

Very different numbers to other countries that had seen protests too.

-Lloyd Marken

 

COVID-19 DIARY – WHEN THE MAN COMES AROUND

May 29

It was Friday.

That was the day.

The World Health Organisation reported in America there were 1,694,864 with a daily increase of 19,606.

There 100,304 DEATHS with a daily increase of 1,415.

Former Vice President Joe Biden who has experienced real loss in his life posted a message of consolation on Twitter.

 

In Minneapolis protests were escalating. on the 28th of May Australian journalist Tim Arvier for Channel Nine News was reporting from the scene. The footage was surreal and riveting, a black man had been stabbed by a white man in a crowd of protestors.

The police had taken all morning to come down in force, the white man was arrested and the black man was picked up and retreated down the street.

A fellow blogger who lives there later advised me that there were white supremacists in the area to incite violence. This situation could possibly have been an example of this, then again maybe not.

During the incident bricks and water bottles were thrown at police and police fired tear gas at the crowd. Tim Arvier’s courage under pressure along with his cameraman was something to behold.

 

 

I watched with sadness and despair, knowing that night the city would burn.

And burn it did.

 

 

I hadn’t watched the footage of George Floyd yet, I just felt very sad. The country had sufferred so much from COVID-19 and now it was going to tear itself apart and I just felt so disappointed.

There’s a part of me that believes protesting just isn’t possible during a pandemic certainly given the number of cases currently but for many Americans enough was enough.

It almost felt like the murder of George Floyd may have been the trigger but there was something sadly inevitable about all of this.

That if there were so many people out of work, struggling to get food, without welfare, unable to get health care that sooner or later they would take to the streets to have their voices heard.

Or maybe people were fed up with being on the wrong side of a racial divide. As an outsider it is not for me to say but as person who loves America and Americans.

I shook my head. I was so sad.

-Lloyd Marken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COVID-19 DIARY – I CAN’T BREATHE

George Floyd honoured at first memorial service in Minneapolis ...

 

25 May

On the 25th of May a 46 year old in Minneapolis paid for goods at a local convenience store with a counterfeit 20 dollar bill.

Parked in a car, the local store staff came and confronted him about it.

They then left and called the police.

A squad car arrived and the two police pulled the man from his car and handcuffed him.

The man was tall and big, strong and heavy but he was compliant for the most part if anxious and unsteady on his feet.

When taken to be placed in the squad car the man fell to the ground and cited claustrophobia.

Another squad car arrived.

Two further police officers came to aid in the arrest.

One of them knelt on the handcuffed man’s neck as a group of people observed and started to protest what was happening.

The man called out for his mother and said he could not breathe. He passed out.

The people nearby urged the police officer on his neck to take his knee off the man’s neck.

When they moved towards him he pulled out his mace to scare them back.

This was the only real action and vocal engagement the officer with his knee on the man’s neck did with the group.

He sat with his knee on the neck for the most part with his hands in his pockets.

Aware he was being filmed he appeared calm, like he had done this before, like this was no big deal.

Paramedics arrived and as the EMT went to work checking the man’s pulse his knee remained on the neck for another two minutes.

When the man was finally loaded on a stretcher he lifted his knee.

That knee had been on that neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. 

The man George Floyd died.

He was a father. He was a husband. He was a truck driver and bouncer by trade.

He was also a convicted criminal who had in 2007 invaded a home and held a gun to a pregnant’ woman’s belly to steal.

He served five years in prison and became reformed upon release.

This murder in Minneapolis involving a small group of people kicked off by a counterfeit $20 dollar bill would have far ranging impacts in the days ahead around the world.

Particularly in the United States of America at a time when the nation was suffering greatly already.

-Lloyd Marken