U.S. Invasion of Panama
Ironically enough, the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama was code-named Operation Just Cause, but many would argue that there was nothing just about the chaotic attack on these Black communities. Human rights strategist Ajamu Baraka referred to the invasion as a reminder that the U.S.’s disregard for Black lives extends well beyond its own borders. “The Black lives taken by the numerous assaults on Panama 25 years ago should be a sober reminder that U.S. state violence is not confined to ghettoes and barrios of the U.S. but is a central component of the racist, colonial capitalist project that is the U.S,” Baraka said of the attack. “We cannot pretend that police brutality in the U.S. and the devaluation of Black life that it represents is restricted just to the Black experience in the heart of the U.S. empire.” Reports from Al Jazeera explained that an accurate death toll of the attack isn’t available because many bodies of Black civilians were piled in the streets and burned.
Genocide in Darfur
Back in 1989, the seeds were planted for what would grow to be a historic genocide in Darfur, a large region in Sudan that is home to roughly 6 million people. Gen. Omar Bashir took control of the country by military coup and allowed for the National Islamic Front government to “inflame regional tensions,” an article published by the United Human Rights Council explained. As weapons started to pour into the area, violent conflicts started sparking between African farmers and nomadic Arab tribes. By 2003, two rebel movements in Darfur complained that the government wasn’t doing enough to protect its people. The government’s response was to unleash violent Arab militias called Janjaweed, which translates to “devils on horseback.” The militia destroyed more than 400 villages. The violence is still sweeping the region today and forcing many African farmers to flee or risk being murdered at the hands of the Janjaweed. More than 400,000 Black people have been killed in the madness, the United Human Rights Council reports. More than 2 million have been displaced.