This week in death…

TW: suicide, anti-Black violence, anti-LGBT* violence

There were quite a few deaths in the news this week which seem necessary to talk about. In Tibet, two monks immolated themselves in anticipation of the Chinese parliament reconvening, which was expected to vote for further strict security protocols in Tibet. One week earlier, two different teenagers also killed themselves in protest of continued Chinese rule over Tibet. The Dalai Lama has both faced criticism in China as the source of these suicides and officially called for the Chinese government to examine how its policies have contributed to these and other protest suicides.

In Mali, on the other hand, the decision to express political disagreement through suicide was also present, but mixed into the on-going multifaceted struggle over the form and number of states that will emerge from modern Mali. Presumably a member of the more hardline Islamist movements, one attacker this week killed themselves and seven others, all members of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and more moderate Islamic Movement of Azawad (MIA) at a checkpoint in Kidal. This is one in a long string of attacks throughout northern Mali or Azawad, which have targeted the civilian population, French forces, the MNLA, and now the MIA. This is another indication that the “hard” Islamists are turning on moderates and rebels who likewise fought for the self determination of Azawad. Whether France will be as motivated to assist the liberation movements as it was to prevent the disintegration of the undemocratic government of Mali remains to be seen.


(Marco McMillan who had been a main contender for mayor of Clarksdale, Mississippi, from here.)

In the US, a mayoral candidate for Clarksdale, Mississippi, Marco McMillan was found dead in a river. While a majority of the population has long been Black, it’s also been a site of much racist violence, including one incident where Aaron Henry, who eventually became the head of the Mississippi branch of the NAACP, was dragged to the Clarksdale jail while handcuffed to the back of a truck. The current mayor of Clarksdale, Henry Espy, was the first and as of yet only Black mayor of the town. McMillan had hoped to replace him as the second Black mayor and the first openly gay one. It remains unclear what his campaign will do in light of his death.

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