The non-indictment verdict in the case of white officer Darren Wilson and the subsequent uprising of African American freedom fighters in Ferguson and the entire country this week ,has put America’s long history of systematic racism against Melanoid people back in the international spotlight. Headlines are coming in from news sources around the world that give commentary on the situations surrounding Ferguson.
The international press is pointing out the hypocrisy of the U.S when it comes to race relations, and many commentators have taken the opportunity to question America’s credentials as a human rights leader.
The death of Michael Brown, whose killing sparked the unrest, is “a stark reminder for Uncle Sam that there are a lot of human rights violations on its own soil,” says China’s official news agency Xinhua.
“It should first fix its own problems before criticizing other countries.”
Xinhua adds that few other countries are “as self-righteous and complacent as the United States when it comes to human rights issues, but the Ferguson tragedy is apparently a slap in the face”.
Iran’s Press TV dedicated all of its morning programmes to the Ferguson clashes, showing what appeared to be “live” video from the protests.
Press TV reported that attorneys for Mr Brown’s family had said that the “grand jury process was rigged to clear the white officer” who shot him.
Iran’s State TV said the grand jury decision “indicates the existence of racial discrimination in the USA”.
The protests in Ferguson are also one of the top stories in the Iranian press.
The conservative newspaper Kayhan carried a collage of pictures from Ferguson, including a US flag being set on fire. Its headline said: “A rebellion in 90 American cities as a result of the non-indictment of the murderer policeman.”
Javan, another hardline daily, carried a report headlined, “Non-indictment of a white policeman; anger engulfs 90 American cities”.
The story also features on the front pages of several Arab dailies.
Al-Wafd sums up the widely-expressed view in the headline “An uprising against racism in the USA”.
Al-Watan says US cities have been denouncing “lethal racism”, and Syria’s official Al-Thawrah newspaper notes that protests against police violence and racism are on the increase.
On social media, some Arabic-language posts have been mocking the US government and even gloating over its mishandling of the case. The Twitter hashtag #USAprotests in Arabic has been used more than 4,000 times since Tuesday.
The #Ferguson hashtag is also among the top 10 Twitter trends in Russia, and press articles have drawn parallels between Ferguson and the Maidan protests in Ukraine.
Ren TV plays on the racial aspect of the Ferguson protests and also brings in the Ukrainian crisis, describing the demonstrations as a “colour revolution” and “an attempt to start a civil war in the US”.
The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung argued that the underlying reasons for the violence in Ferguson are deep in American society. “The fact that racism exists in America is indisputable — but this racism is not only directed in one direction”,the paper wrote.
“Potentially the Grand Jury has indeed examined all evidence comprehensively and impartially. But the fact that so many people between New York and Los Angeles are convinced that justice has not been administered is another tragedy,” the paper wrote. “Gestures of respect and reconciliation will be indispensable to bridge the gap between the police and America’s black population. But even that will not be enough.”
Frankfurter Rundschau, made a similar argument: “The Grand Jury’s decision has not surprised anyone — which explains the full cynicism of this system.” The newspaper blamed the grand jury for having looked at the evidence with a white worldview. “Secret hearings do by far not meet serious interpretations of the rule of law.”
Liberation newspaper says: “Ferguson is a long way from being the post-racial America dreamed of by Barack Obama.” “A predominantly white jury chooses not to pursue another white, accused of murdering a black in a predominantly black city,” the newspaper wrote, concluding that Ferguson raises yet again the question of racism and police brutality in the United States.
Pere Vilanova writes in El Periodico that “perhaps the symbolic value of the election of a black man as president in 2008 has been overestimated and inter-communal wounds will never be healed”.
La Stampa’s New York correspondent Paolo Mastrolilli says the discussion has become one about the race problem “connected to inequality and economic disparity”. He notes that some of the white demonstrators in New York and Los Angeles wanted to broaden the debate in that direction.
In India a reporter for NDTV, the cable news channel, said that “the case epitomized race crimes in America” and that the photos of protesters evoking the images from Tiananmen Square were a “symbol of the challenge the greatest nation on Earth faces today.”
The North Korean government issued a statement following the Ferguson verdict: ” US is kingpin of human rights abuses”.
Writing in South Africa’s Daily Maverick, Richard Poplak finds that images of officers facing off against enraged citizens show “an American city aping South African archival footage”.
“It’s a reminder that in divided countries, with histories of institutionalized racism, reconciliation without actually reconciling… justice is not just impossible, but a massive cover-up, a ruse used by power.”