President Donald Trump’s implicit threat to put the National Guard on the streets of Chicago to tackle the city’s violence problem attracted widespreadridicule earlier this year.
But if the soldiers were instead wearing the sky blue helmets of United Nations peacekeepers there might not be such a problem, according to Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin, who flew to New York on Thursday to discuss what he described as a “quiet genocide” in Chicago’s black community with the U.N.’s assistant secretary-general for peacebuilding support, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco.
“The United Nations has a track record of protecting minority populations,” Boykin told Inc. before his meeting. “There was tribal warfare between the Tutsis and the Hutus in Africa, and they deployed peacekeeping troops there to help save those populations and reduce the bloodshed. We have to do something — black people in Chicago make up 30 percent of the population but 80 percent of those who are killed by gun violence.”
Asked how that might differ from sending in the National Guard, Boykin said, “The difference is, I’m not so sure that the National Guard is so used to peacekeeping and a peacekeeping role: The U.N. is trained in this.”
You’d welcome foreign troops on the streets of Austin, North Lawndale, Englewood and Roseland, commissioner?
“I’m talking about whoever the U.N. would decide to send in,” Boykin responded, adding, “I think that the assistant secretary-general may have some ideas outside of sending in troops. He may have some ideas about how we get to peace in these communities.
“We can’t wait for the mayor to put another 1,000 police officers on the streets, and I’m not so sure that’s going to be the panacea, anyhow,” said Boykin, who added that he wanted local officials to sit down together to come up with a solution.
“It’s been a total devastation of the African-American community,” he said.
Asked Wednesday about Boykin’s plan to involve the U.N., Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not respond directly but noted improvements in crime statistics and said he was working to ensure that “people feel a sense of security” in every neighborhood.