Let the building burn: Restaurant, burnt down by protesters, makes Americans cry
Buildings can be rebuilt but lives matter more. “Let my building burn; justice needs to be served; put those officers in jail,” said Ruhel Islam, owner of the Gandhi Mahal restaurant in Minneapolis
Attorneys and architects, businessmen, housewives, teachers and thousands of Americans from across the United States have offered to rebuild the Gandhi Mahal restaurant, owned by Ruhel Islam originally from Bangladesh, which was burnt down by protesters on Friday. The rioters were seeking the arrest of police officers, one of whom had choked a Black American George Floyd to death on the street on May 25. Three other police officers did nothing to stop him.
The police officer who had knelt on George Floyd’s neck was finally charged with murder on Friday, May 29. But by then protests and rioting had spread across the US, provoking the US President Donald Trump to threaten that rioters would be shot.
The following Facebook post by Hafsa, the 18 years old daughter of Ruhel Islam, touched a chord with a large number of Americans. Within a few hours the post had been liked 28 thousand times and had garnered 25 thousand shares.
This is what Hafsa wrote:
Hello everyone! Thank you everyone for checking in. Sadly,Gandhi Mahal has caught fire and has been damaged. We won’t lose hope though; I am so grateful to our neighbours who did their best to stand guard and protect Gandhi Mahal. Your efforts won’t go unrecognised.
Don’t worry about us, we will rebuild and we will recover. This is Hafsa, Ruhel’s daughter writing, as I am sitting next to my dad watching the news. I hear him say on the phone; “let my building burn; Justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail”. Gandhi Mahal May have felt the flames last night, but our fiery drive to help protect and stand with our community will never die!
Peace be with everyone.
#Black Lives Matter.
Gandhi Mahal is located about a block away from the Minneapolis ‘Third Police Precinct’ and is close to the area where George Floyd was killed in custody. It was the first restaurant in Minnesota to install an aquaponics system in the basement to cultivate snails and prawn.
The popular restaurant is known for promoting organic and healthy food and has been committed to the environment and sustainability. Ruhel Islam’s family cultivates an inter-faith garden close to the restaurant where they grow vegetables and spices they serve.
Hafsa’s post elicited several moving comments. A few of them are reproduced here:
*I'm not sure why, but this is what broke me today. Thank you for making the tears come, I needed it. I wish you and your family every happiness and a quick and successful re-open.
• Writing from Seattle, WA. I've been extremely upset by everything happening this week, and reading the words of your father burst the dam of my emotions. I'm not a crier, but there are tears running down my face right now.
• This pushed me over the edge. I broke down. I can't imagine being a business owner, seeing my business, my livelihood, my second home on fire, and still being able to say "let my building burn." And that if this is what it takes to get justice, then it's worth it.
You have strength, courage, and integrity that I can only dream of. Our community is immeasurably better because you are in it, and I am honored to be your neighbor.
• The solidarity displayed by those words is more powerful than my meagre words can express. I will be following your restaurant closely and I hope when it's time to rebuild you have some kind of fundraiser.
• Thank you for your business and sacrifice. Thank you for recognising that justice needs to prevail. No doubt you will be able to rebuild with help from the community. Thank you again! Peace be with you and your entire staff!
• Being willing to lose your own livelihood in the name of justice is incredibly honorable, we need more people like this.
Published: 30 May 2020, 12:47 PM