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Towards a global intifada

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The ongoing protests over the May 25 police killing of George Floyd and the United States political establishment's heavy-handed response to them are seminal developments in modern American history.

They not only expose the deep-rooted racism of the American society but also provide yet another refutation to American exceptionalism - the widely-held belief that the US is fundamentally different from and superior to other nations.

This is because the events currently unfolding in the US mirror almost perfectly the core dynamics of the mass uprisings we regularly witness around the world that are triggered by the violent and oppressive policies of authoritarian or colonial regimes.

I personally experienced many such uprisings during my lifetime, in Israel-Palestine, several different Arab countries and also in the US.

I was a university student in the US in the late 1960s and early 1970s when widespread protests - then termed "race riots" - engulfed predominantly African American urban areas of the country. I also witnessed and engaged with the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement there in 2013.

What I observed in the last five decades as I lived through these citizen rebellions, and what I am feeling in my bones as I watch the widespread protests in the US today, is that they are all born out of identical political and human phenomena.

Three shared elements define all these uprisings across time and space: why protesters take to the streets, how the political ruling class reacts, and how the mainstream media covers what is happening.

First, a ravaged, poverty-stricken and helpless citizenry that has been mistreated for decades by its own ruling elite or by an occupying power finally takes to the streets to express its despair in the only manner available to it.

African Americans, Palestinians, and other Arab nationals have all suffered demeaning and sustained poverty, dilapidated socio-economic conditions, permanent political powerlessness and decades of........

© Al Jazeera