Death Life


Breath for All

His name was George Floyd.

“I can’t breathe,” he said.

I’ve been quarantined, looking out at a world through glass and screens like a ghost, an observer of a world of sound and fury. I watched an innocent unarmed man murdered in cold blood by four armed policemen.

I identified with that murdered man.

His last anguished words are the voice of black people. Of people of colour. Of all the minorities of the world. Of all humanity.

We are all equal in our need to breathe.

In our need to live with dignity.

He was denied that. His most basic need was stripped from him by his uniformed murderer and their three accomplices.

And so his life was stolen from him.

Rarely has violent systemic racism, brutal oppression, foul thuggery been so blatant.

People saw. Hundreds. Thousands. Millions rallied to protest and were met with fury and brutality by thousands of policemen. Their violence captured on film for yet more to see.

And we see.

I am an alien twice over to events in the USA. Foreigner in a foreign land, watching from half a world away.

And I see. And I hear.

I am sad that in this year 2020 it still needs to be said that oppression is evil. That discrimination is evil. That bigotry is evil. That sexism is evil. That racism is evil.

But I guess it does.

Racism is evil.

People are marching for dignity. For freedom. For equality. For justice. For the right to breathe.

Against evil.

Often in life and in politics there are shades of gray. We have to make compromises with different opinions and ideas. But George Floyd’s death is a question of opinions and ideas. George Floyd’s death is not up for debate.

Each of us has but one simple choice.

We can breathe with and for George Floyd. For all the black people of the USA. For all the minorities around the world and everyone who is oppressed and downtrodden. For humanity. Against evil.

Or we can not. We can equivocate. We can mourn burning buildings and forget breaking bodies. We can say there are very fine people on both sides. We can extol the most vicious dogs. We can fawn over the most ominous weapons.

I know my choice.

I know what I want to see and hear.

I want to see justice. I want to see people of all colours and genders free from discrimination and oppression. I want to hear the voices of the victims raised up in joy and in anger, in contentment and in pain.

I want to hear them breathe; free and complex and human.

I want to hear them breathe, free from racism.

“I can’t breathe,” he said.


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