The people’s voice against the killing of George Floyd clearly shows that the Blacks in United States are a great deal ahead in seeking the justice in demanding the right to equality before the law…!

The ruling power of the British Crown in the United States was brought to an end when the Declaration of Independence was pronounced in 1776 with the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). It was recognized as a free state by the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

The racial laws for the weak and the powerful which were separately introduced by the British for the countries that they governed; South Africa, India, Sri Lanka and also United States including other countries as colonies.

Unlike the other British colonial countries, the United States was the only nation in the world to disarm the British with an armed revolution but there was a huge tragedy in its society because of the strong establishment of laws for confirming racial discrimination and oppressing the oppressed which were introduced by the British.

As a result, great personalities such as President Abraham Lincoln (1865) and Nobel laureate Martin Luther King, Jr. (1968) sacrificed their lives to the bullet, and the persistence of such assassinations expose the dark areas of the rule of law in the United States.

Another such brutal murder which was committed by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA by torturing a black man named George Floyd (46) to his death on May 25, 2020, has achieved to create a stir in public opinion in all countries.

Although there have been many horrific murders all around the world, the murder of the black man named George Floyd by depriving him of air for nearly 9 minutes, even after he begged for a breath reminds us especially of the massacre of Jews by the Nazis using the gas chambers preventing them from breathing during the 2nd World War, and it was clearly a cruel act against humanity.

Although there are many protests in the United States of America and other countries around the world for equality disregarding the white-black discrimination while implementing legal actions regarding this cruel murder which was done by preventing breathing, the nature of the protests of the Blacks of the United States against the brutal murder of George Floyd proves us that they are far more ahead than the people of other countries which had been colonized by the British in demanding the right to equality before the law.

Unlike the people of former British colonies such as Indians and Sri Lankans, Blacks in the United States are well-versed in English, so they have the legal literacy to read the laws of the United States and the judgements of its Supreme Court.

Therefore, without the operation of anyone else the Blacks in the United States have the legal literacy to independently utilize the knowledge gained through it and obtain a successful procedure against the legal discriminations taken against them.Because of that strong legal power, Blacks in the United States will have the opportunity to seek justice for George Floyd’s murder.

Unlike the Blacks in the United States, the Sinhalese who are the majority of the Sri Lankans are a community who are neither free nor able to access legal literacy. All necessary and important legal matters in Sri Lanka are handled and decisions are made in English language which is used only by a minority and not in Sinhala, the language of the majority. As a result, the legal literacy of the Sinhala majority in Sri Lanka is very low and they do not have the knowledge to act legally against the actions that the powerful people take against them.

The Sinhalese in Sri Lanka do not know how to obtain freedom through legal activities, unlike the Blacks in the United States can obtain freedom through legal activities. While being ignorant of the law is not an excuse (Ignorantia juris non excusat), the Sinhalese are not allowed to know the law.

Although the People’s Voice against George Floyd’s cruel murder testifies that Blacks in the United States are far ahead in demanding equality before the law, it cannot be said how much more time it will take for the majority of Sinhalese in Sri Lanka to demand equality before the law.

* [This is an English translation of writer’s article of ‘නීතිය ඉදිරියේ සමානත්මතාවය අයදීමේදී එක්සත් ජනපදයේ කලු ජාතිකයන් බොහෝ ඉදිරියෙන් බව ජෝර්ජ් ෆ්ලොයිඩ් කෲර ඝාතනයට එරෙහි ජනතා හඩ සාක්ෂි දරයි…! ‘ Dated 04.05.2020]


Aruna Laksiri Unawatuna (Attorney-at-Law)