Adam Shatz, 4 June 2020
George Floyd has rapidly achieved the status of an international martyr, a symbol of racial injustice like the Scottsboro Boys, wrongfully imprisoned for raping a white woman, or Emmett Till, the 14-year-old lynched in 1955 after allegedly whistling at a white woman. After 9/11, Le Monde declared: ‘Nous sommes tous américains.’ The headline is unimaginable today – who would want to be American now? – but America’s drift has only made Floyd’s killing reverberate more strongly. Holding posters of George Floyd, twenty thousand people marched against police brutality in Paris. Floyd’s image has been displayed in Iraq, Syria and Palestine – countries that have experienced first-hand the ruthlessness of American power. ‘We are the muthafuckin world,’ someone posted on Instagram. This remarkable demonstration of American soft power, which looked as if it had evaporated under Trump, belongs almost entirely to black America.