Reflections

Dear Mother – I Can’t Breathe

Dear Mother,

Did you hear George Floyd call out for his mother? He spoke these words- I can’t breathe.

He must have seen her face one last time, as his life slowly ebbed away.

The pressure of the cop’s knee on his neck left him helpless and gasping for breath.

One white man’s moment of disdain for a man of color left him hanging between life and death.

Did you hear him say those words?

‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe’.

He was calling out for help. He was only calling out for a moment to stay alive.

But unfortunately, one man’s conscience had grown cold, while an unjust system left him calling out for help longer than usual. George Floyd called until he had no more words to say.

Did you see him choking and calling?

He must have wondered in that moment what he ever did to deserve these few minutes of hate and injustice. In the face of death, he must taught about what the future held for his own children. Perhaps the words of Martin Luther King’s Jnr came  to him in a flash. And that is,

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. ” I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Yet, it was in that same moment,  he called out for his mother.  A full grown man called out for the woman who had always been his anchor, hope, strength and support his entire life. George Floyd called out for his ‘Mama’ who was long gone from this space called earth. But he still called out for her, just as he struggled to breath one last time.

But then, the lights of his existence slowly faded away in the chaos of one moment. It was indeed the longest nine minutes of his life as he surrendered to the one man’s cruelty.

The world went silent in that moment. No more calling. No more wondering as his voice went silent and body left lifeless. He left us with a vivid and unforgettable image of how deep the roots of oppression, injustice, inhumanity and racism had gained fortitude in the hearts of men.

Image Credit: Pexels

Photographer: cottonbro

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