'America is suffocating': Country at tipping point as protests spread


IN THE PAPERS, Monday, June 1: Newspapers see the United States at a breaking point as the twin crises of police violence and the coronavirus outbreak "put America's deep racial inequalities in stark relief", as The New York Times puts it. Israeli papers draw a parallel between the killing of George Floyd and the killing of an unarmed Palestinian man by Israeli police. And SpaceX astronauts rocketed to the ISS with a dinosaur.


There's a sense that the United States has reached a tipping point after protests over the death of George Floyd spread nationwide this weekend. The Washington Post writes that the "US is at a precipice" while The New York Times headlines "Twin crises and surging anger convulse the US". The latter paper writes that there are "parallel plagues ravaging America: The coronavirus. And police killings of black men and women".

For many editorialists and cartoonists, US President Donald Trump is fanning the flames of these crises. Australian David Rowe depicts him as the Roman emperor Nero looking out at his burning empire. He's thinking to himself: "It’s a miracle. I told them the virus would disappear when it warmed up."

Brian Adcock of the UK's Independent, meanwhile, recreates the scene that caused George Floyd’s death. He shows Donald Trump kneeling on the neck of American democracy, with Uncle Sam saying "I can’t breathe".

Many cartoons are using that theme of suffocation. One from pan-Arab paper Al Araby Al Jadeed shows the gloved hand of a police officer strangling the statue of liberty. The caption reads: "America is suffocating."

Meanwhile, papers in Israel are drawing a parallel between the killing of George Floyd and the killing of Eyad Hallaq, an unarmed and autistic Palestinian man who was shot on Saturday by Israeli border police. Haaretz opinion writer Gideon Levy writes: "In the United States... they shoot black people, whose blood is cheap, and in Israel they shoot Palestinians, whose blood is even cheaper."

Not all Israeli papers support this comparison. An editor for the right-wing Israel Hayom writes that "the shooting in Jerusalem... did not take place on racial background, but in the context of a nationalist conflict". He’s worried that what he calls a "blackwashing of Palestinian terror" could be used to justify attacks on Israelis.

And finally, if you were watching this weekend's SpaceX rocket launch you may have noticed an extra, sparkly pink and blue passenger riding alongside the US astronauts. That sequined dinosaur is Tremor the Apatosaurus! The two astronauts said the toy was chosen by their sons to make the journey into space — an escape many of us here on Earth are wishing we had right now.

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