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Sunday, April 14, 2024

George Floyd becomes hero of a Pakistani Truck Artist

Haider Ali, Pakistani Truck Artist in Karachi, paints a mural for George Floyd and becomes part of the global movement for Justice for coloured people. On this wall painting he writes rhymes from the famous Indian film, Disco Dancer: “So what if we’re dark-skinned? We are people of heart.” And it adds: "This world belongs neither to whites nor to blacks, only to those with big hearts.”

Haider Ali, a Pakistani truck artist, in Karachi, paid a rich tribute to George Floyd, the Black American killed by Police in Mineapolis, by painting his mural. He painted his truck style mural on a whole wall, in his home, to express solidarity with the slain man George Floyd.

The painting borrows rhymes from a famous Indian, Bollywood song, “Hum Kalay hay tu kaya huwa, hum dil walay hain” (What if we are black; we are people with heart) and continues on: “Goron ki na Kaloon ki, yeh dunya dil waloon ki” (This world belongs to neither white nor black but to people with heart). This was a famous Indian song sung by Suresh Wadkar and Usha Mangeshkar, in the 1982 Bollywoood movie: Disco Dancer.

It also features three other words, Justice and Equality, respectively. He says starry night in the background represents the color black itself. Adding that every artist knows the importance of black in the universe.

Truck Art is a very popular thing across South Asia – in both India and Pakistan. Visitors from North America and Europe are awe struck by the amazingly colourful murals and paintings on almost all Pakistani trucks that run on motorways and Grand Truck Road. This is in sharp contrast to the dull steely look of 18 wheelers plying on North American highways.

George Floyd’s Pakistani Mural dedicated to fight against Inequality 

Haider Ali has dedicated George Floyd’s mural to all the people fighting inequality in the world. This also includes the oppressed people of Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir, Palestine and Myanmar. The Muslim community is subjected to killings and torture on the basis of religion acceding to Haider Ali who feels very strongly about it.

Read more: George Clooney calls ‘racism’ the America’s pandemic, reacts to killing of George Floyd

George Floyd died in Minneapolis, on May 25, this year when his neck was under the knee of a while policeman, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. His last words recorded on police camera and on street CCTV were, “I can not breathe”. These words, “I cannot breathe” became an All American slogan for protestors who rocked American cities for at least 10 straight days from coast to coast. Later these protests became a global phenomenon with protesters on European streets chanting, “I can not breathe”.

Syrian man paints mural for George Floyd

Also, a man painted the mural of George Floyd on a bombed wall in the war-torn Idlib in Syria. For the Syrian painter Aziz Asmar, the incident felt at home. As he watched the video of handcuffed man George Floyd shouting he can’t breathe in the video. The white police officer knelt with his knees on his neck and pressed his neck to the point the man choked and died. Now prosecutors have classified Floyd’s death as “Homicide”

The disturbing video of George Floyd resurfaced the painful memories of Syrian civilians. The Syrian civilians shouted for help and complained about the difficulty in breathing as allegedly the regime attacked them with sarin gas. So the words, “I can not breathe remind Syrians of Sarin gas attacks”. However the Syrian government maintains that it had nothing to do with the attacks of Sarin gas and some third force was responsible for that.

George Floyd’s Death creates global movement against slave traders 

The death of 40-year-old George Floyd spiked an uncontrollable public outcry across America – and later across the world. Protestors took to streets and vandalized properties. Demonstrators chanted slogans against black racism and demanded to punish the alleged police officers. Minneapolis police were first hesitant to register a case against the white police officer – Derek Chauvin – under protest they registered a “Third Degree Murder Charge” and finally when protests and pressure increased then prosecutors pushed “First Degree Murder” charge.

Protests later spread to other countries including large European cities – like London and Paris- furious citizens demanded justice for George Floyd. These protests in the last few days have turned into a widespread anger against the public statues of slave traders. Many such statues – including that of Christopher Columbus – have been attacked and vandalised. And there has developed a strong argument against the glorification of such characters from 18th and 19th centuries.


Read more: Floyd death will not be in vain: Civil Rights leader

Millions of social media users across the world including celebrities expressed their disgust and sorrow on the death of George Floyd under Twitter #BlackLivesMatter- a slogan that calls for humane and just treatment of black minorities. However, social media users continue to express solidarity with George Floyd and all the other victims of racism with another Twitter trend-#blackoutday or #blackouttuesday. Moreover, people turned internet black in support of the Black Lives Matter movement that returned to the spotlight after the death of George Floyd.

Pakistani artist Haider Ali through his mural for George Floyd has become part of this global movement and sentiment.