SEATTLE, Washington — The number of unprecedented events in 2020 has affected countries worldwide in unique ways; however, some of these events have brought nations together. The Black Lives Matter movement has made its mark in American history, affecting communities both nationally and internationally.
Although the Black Lives Matter movement has been ongoing in America in the past few years, it caught a second wind following the tragic death of George Floyd. Countries such as Syria and Gambia have shown their support through art and protests, even as the two nations are enduring their unique trials. The Black Lives Matter movement is inspiring impoverished countries worldwide to stand up for equality, justice and themselves.
Syria, the Middle East
Syrian artists Aziz Asmar and Anis Hamdoun used their artistic talents to honor George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement by painting a mural of Floyd in the city of Idlib, Syria. According to Arab News, the artists told a local newspaper that they felt a personal connection to the movement due to the current state of their homeland.
The war in Syria is entering its tenth year; however, its citizens have been under Israeli occupation for 70 years. Syrians have experienced the violent pressures of war and being under the rule of a foreign entity for decades. The words “I can’t breathe” resonated with people in Syria as they compare the Israeli occupation to their suffocation.
The conflict in Syria has caused over 100,000 civilian deaths and turned homes into warzones. With Russian and Turkish troops now patrolling the nation, Syrians are eager to share how suppression is being felt worldwide as well as unity and a desire for global equality.
The Gambia, West Africa
The Gambia is a small, English-speaking country on the Atlantic coast of West Africa. Out of a population of 2.1 million people, approximately 48% live in poverty. Moreover, about 10% of children suffer from malnutrition, while 23% have stunted growth.
Despite their living conditions, the people of Gambia choose to stand by the Black Lives Matter movement by planning their protests. A protest was organized and scheduled for June 30 outside of the U.S. embassy in Banjul. However, the government canceled it due to COVID-19 social distancing concerns.
The country has its own complicated past with American police authorities. The son of a Gambian diplomat was shot and killed by police in Atlanta, Georgia, after allegedly shooting at a cop. The occurrence is currently under investigation.
Besides advocating for global equality, the people of Gambia see African Americans as their distant allies and desire to find ways to support them and bring awareness to racism issues both in the U.S. and their own home country.
These are just two of the countries around the world that are contributing to the Black Lives Matter movement’s efforts in advocating for equality and justice. Countries such as England, Brazil and Australia have protests occurring in their capital cities, resulting in governments re-examining their law enforcement policies.
The Black Lives Matter movement has inspired countries worldwide to not only show their support for global equality but also examine their own political structures. Although it may not have been their original goal, the movement has conveyed the importance of international relationships. Countries with a significant portion of its population falling under the global poverty line have found ways to support the movement’s cause. With the importance of international relationships and global equality at the forefront, developed countries like the U.S. should increase their support for impoverished countries by investing in the foreign aid budget and work to eradicate global poverty.