While protests have raged in the United States for over a week against the killing of George Floyd across the world others, have been showing solidarity, with massive protests in London, Paris, Athens, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm against police brutality and racism taking place.
Artists have also been using their skills to highlight the cause, with murals appearing across the world.
One striking example of how far George Floyd’s death has permeated global consciousness is a mural that has appeared in Idlib in Syria. The mural created by artists Aziz Asmar and Anis Hamdoun is placed on a piece of the wall of a war-torn structure.
The Syrian Civil War has killed over 400,000 people and displaced over 12 million both internally and externally as refugees since its beginning in 2011. Idlib where the mural can be found is one of the most affected areas in Syria and is still being held in part by anti-government forces.
The fact that people there amongst the horror they have suffered, have taken the time to show solidarity to an individual murdered in a first-world country has been seen as truly heartfelt. It also goes to show how struggles, rightly or wrongly, are seen as interconnected.
Aziz Asmar, one of the artists, told The National:
“Art is a universal language that anyone can understand. Our humanity requires us to unite with other people who are facing injustice. When we draw on the walls of destroyed buildings, we are telling the world that underneath these buildings there are people who have died or who have left their homes. It shows you that there was injustice here, just like there’s injustice in America.”
Other artistic shows of solidarity have been made globally. In Germany, Borussia Dortmund football players took to the field with shows of support for Floyd, football clubs in England, including Liverpool, took a knee during training to show their solidarity.
Millions of people also took part in BlackOut Tuesday whereby they shared black squares on their social media profiles or changed their profile pictures to a black image. This included a multitude of celebrities and major corporate businesses.
Liverpool's squad took a knee at Anfield as a tribute to George Floyd today. pic.twitter.com/0c5qZfJn8n
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 1, 2020
Some though have come under criticism for hijacking the cause and ‘virtue signaling’. An allegation that celebrities and businesses do not in fact care about the cause itself but are doing so to increase their own corporate or personal image. One such critique was made towards Harry Potter star Emma Watson who placed 3 black squares on her Instagram channel in order to not mess up its overall aesthetic.
First professional hat trick 🙏🏼. A bittersweet moment personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that we must address and help make a change. We have to come together as one & fight for justice. We are stronger together! ❤️ #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/ntOtwOySCO
— Jadon Sancho (@Sanchooo10) May 31, 2020