About that question mark on the letterboard in George Floyd Square

by Rashmee

Posted on April 23, 2021


/ LANGUAGE After the conviction of the white former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of unarmed black man George Floyd, the clearest, most obvious reaction was linguistic restraint. So, in George Floyd square, the renamed area where he died in Minneapolis, activists cheered as soon as the verdict was read. But they … Continue reading “About that question mark on the letterboard in George Floyd Square”

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Bystander trauma: A tale of two countries, America and India

by Rashmee

Posted on April 20, 2021


/ POLITICS & AMERICA The closing of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial is a good moment to consider bystander trauma and what it says about a people, as well as their country’s likely trajectory. Until the closing arguments on Monday, April 19,  the trial had gone on three weeks. One week into it, witnesses … Continue reading “Bystander trauma: A tale of two countries, America and India”

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The race for justice: will we see meaningful change after Black Lives Matter protests?

by Rashmee

Posted on June 21, 2020 / The Focus


All the activity — and angst — over racial injustice needs to be put in context. Nearly a month after the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of a white police officer, protest marches are starting to peter out. But calls for broad structural change are growing louder, in the United States, … Continue reading “The race for justice: will we see meaningful change after Black Lives Matter protests?”

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We need to talk about empire: Britain is being forced to confront its ‘original sin’

by Rashmee

Posted on June 15, 2020 / The Focus


It all started with the death in Minneapolis on 25 May of an unarmed black man named George Floyd. Nearly three weeks later, with anti-racism protests spreading across the Atlantic, Britain is engaged in an animated, agonising and admittedly divisive discussion about racial justice, colonialism and national memory. It’s part of a tableau that’s playing … Continue reading “We need to talk about empire: Britain is being forced to confront its ‘original sin’”

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‘Defund the police’ is not the whole story

by Rashmee

Posted on June 10, 2020 / The Focus


“Defund the police” is a powerful slogan but its implications aren’t black and white. There are many shades of grey underlying the rallying cry of anti-racism protesters in many parts of the United States. Even the city council of Minneapolis, which voted, on 8 June, to dismantle the city’s police force, doesn’t seem entirely sure … Continue reading “‘Defund the police’ is not the whole story”

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Pain, prescience and peace: Rap and rehabilitation in a pandemic

by Rashmee

Posted on June 9, 2020 / The Focus


A 45-year-old black rapper with a bloodcurdling name is increasingly being seen as a prophet of peace for our times. How and why? Well, Killer Mike, one half of the politically engaged Run the Jewels (RTJ) group, made a speech about George Floyd’s death that went viral worldwide. He counselled peaceful protest and ballot box activism … Continue reading “Pain, prescience and peace: Rap and rehabilitation in a pandemic”

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America is being ‘Africanised’, says Africa

by Rashmee

Posted on June 8, 2020 / The Focus


It was The Elephant, a four-year-old African website, that made the connection between George Floyd and Mohamed Bouazizi. “The Tunisian hawker who set himself on fire in an act of protest against police corruption and ill-treatment” ignited the 2010 Arab Spring, wrote Kenyan journalist Rasna Warah. Floyd’s death at the hands of a white police … Continue reading “America is being ‘Africanised’, says Africa”

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The world takes a knee

by Rashmee

Posted on June 7, 2020 / The Focus


On 5 June, Donald Trump tweeted that it was disrespectful to the American flag for National Football League (NFL) players to kneel during the national anthem. The NFL offered a robust response. Its commissioner, Roger Goodell, said the league supported peaceful protest by its players. In an 81-second video released by the NFL, Goodell admitted … Continue reading “The world takes a knee”

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Lafayette Square is not Tiananmen Square

by Rashmee

Posted on June 5, 2020 / The Focus


Exactly 31 years ago today, a powerful military stamped out a peaceful protest by idealistic young people. It became known as the Tiananmen Square massacre, a categorisation to which China objects and which it has tried to scrub from its peoples’ memory. But this year’s anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown has been overtaken by … Continue reading “Lafayette Square is not Tiananmen Square”

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The world watches America aflame and stands together under a common cause

by Rashmee

Posted on June 1, 2020 / The Focus


In Germany, a Bundesliga football player “took the knee” to show solidarity with George Floyd, the unarmed black man who died on 25 May in Minneapolis at the hands of a white police officer. Protests in solidarity with anti-racism demonstrators in the US broke out in cities around the world. They were in disparate locations — central … Continue reading “The world watches America aflame and stands together under a common cause”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK