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8 minutes and 46 seconds: The murder of George Floyd and why the battle is one we all must fight

As I sit on the rocks on the beach gazing out at the ocean preparing to write in my journal, I consciously breathe in deeply; the air is familiar, the untamed briny scent mixed with the brilliant perfume of blooming flowers that only fills the air in the fertile late spring. The grass is tall and verdant and bends elegantly in the rich breeze. I can breathe. The din of the late afternoon by the sea is of course the glorious sounds of crashing waves, squawking seagulls, and children laughing as they bravely run into the water. I’m usually so charmed and comforted by the elegant dance of nature, but today, my mind needs to be soothed by my panacea, my lifeblood, my cure all: music. Very deliberately, I put on Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” widely regarded as one of the most iconic civil rights anthems, as well as one of my favourite songs. The emotion is not just in the heart-wrenching lyrics which simultaneously brim with hope whilst also being deeply sorrowful and filled with yearning for a life which is not afforded to people who are not white, but also in the way Cooke so expertly emotes and conveys the true pain of a marginalized existence.`

The song was recorded in 1962, and the fact that it’s 2020 and the present tense to describe the state of racial inequality is what weighs heavily on my mind. Cooke did not live long enough to see the change he sung so passionately about; in 1963, he was murdered in what is now widely regarded as a planned robbery in a lonely motel off a highway by the motel manager who claimed Cooke, who was known to carry large amounts of cash, had tried to sexually assault her, so she claimed to have shot him in self-defence. The evidence did not match her story, but she was believed, because he was black. Guilty until proven innocent, even though the money Cooke had earlier in the evening was missing. That didn’t matter. He was black.

“Then I go to my brother, and I say ‘brother, help me please’ but he winds up knocking me back down on my knees.” 

George Floyd was an African American man murdered on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota by a police officer who arrested him for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill a a convenience store. The owner of the convenience store spoke highly of Floyd, and said that he was a regular costumer with whom he’d never had any problems; he was not there that day and it was a teenage employee who phoned the police as protocol when he thought the $20 bill was counterfeit. Four police arrived, and Floyd was handcuffed, knocked down to the ground, and a police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 48 seconds, cutting off his air supply whilst appearing so steely and devoid humanity.

Floyd begged for his life, repeatedly saying that he was in pain and could not breathe. Onlookers tried desperately to persuade the officer to take his knee off of Floyd’s neck to no avail, and the other three officers on the scene failed to intervene. Five minutes in, Floyd, whose mother passed away two years ago, called out to her and said “Mama, I’m through.” He then said his final words “Please, I can’t breathe.” He went limp, and the officer kept his knee on his neck for three more minutes, and his pulse was taken shortly after. There was none to be found, and an hour later, he was officially pronounced dead. Murdered. The police officer’s name does not deserve to be mentioned, and may he forever be known solo as the murderer of George Floyd.

“It’s been too hard living, but I’m afraid to die, because I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky.” 

If there is such a thing as heaven, may Floyd be wrapped in his mother’s arms, enveloped in the love and protection that only a mother can provide. The very protection and love that was so cruelly denied to him in the last moments of his life.

And with that thought, I sigh heavily, close my journal, and wonder how many more will die. I ponder about what such an afterlife may be like, and in it I see all of the victims killed as a result of systemic racism singing songs of freedom with Sam Cooke. We must acknowledge it, speak about it, stand in solidarity, and honour that black lives matter. Systemic racism is a real. This is not just the fight for African-Americans, or for the country of America. This is my fight. This is your fight. This is our fight. This is the world’s fight. Enough is enough, and it’s time for the change that Sam Cooke crooned about decades ago to finally come to fruition.

The Inauguration Day of the 46th President of the United States Biden and and first woman VP Kamala Harris: the dawning of a new erak

I’m writing this in the wee hours of January 20, 2021 – a date some have been dreading, whilst others — scholars included — have been waiting with baited breath for this very day since the election was caller for Biden and Harris in early November.

The world anxiously awaits, hoping for the celebratory pomp and circumstance that has historically always been a part of the American transition of government. However, it will be different this time, given the Capitol Hill Insurrection, not to mention the president who was impeached a record shattering two times, more than any president in history.

Most countries across the global are hoping for a peaceful transition of power in the most perilous or times. All that is certain is that nothing is certain aside from arguably the worst United States President, who has held office since exactly 4 years today, will be leaving today in the least graceful and mature of ways, being the first president to forego the inauguration of his successor.

Indeed, all is certain in these far from routine days we’ve had since 2019 when COVID shot. Let’s just forget about that little record

Please let this transition of power be peaceful and remain peace.

Biden is an interlude.

I desperately want to believe that the Biden-Harris ticket is the hope the world has been searching for. But it’s not. The seeds of Trumpism have been sown and his brand of neofascist populism is here to stay. Democracy in the United States is decaying and on the verge of collapsing within the next decade. Trump, once he ungracefully exits office, will firmly situate himself wherever he needs to be to undermine every single thing Biden and Harris and the Democratic Party attempt to do. Trump got more votes this election than he did in 2016; granted, more people voted in 2020, but the very fact that he didn’t lose in a landslide is indicative of a vastly changed political landscape than just four years ago. Trump is now a kingmaker within the GOP and there is going to be a political figure — possibly a leader — that will make Trump look like Jimmy Carter. This isn’t a wild idea; this is a glimpse into the future. Buckle up.

And here I am. Back again.

I accidentally logged into the wrong email account and was greeted by an email regarding this blog! I’ve had this blog for five years, however, I only blogged rather religiously about four summers ago, and then took the blog in another direction, and then another, and privated all of the posts, and then forgot all about it. “Write more, type less” describes the reticence of the last few years; I write in a physical journal rather than online. But I do believe I shall return to blogging. So hello!