I Can’t Breathe! A Collective Call for Help

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Somebody should help me call the police, a man is being held down by some armed men and he’s struggling for his life; he can’t breathe. Oh sorry, I can’t call the police because it’s the police that is strangling the victim. I can’t call cops on a cop.

I watched with saddened heart the struggle till death of George Floyd days ago as a Minneapolis cop strangled him with his kneel and gazed comfortably as the man begged for just a space to breath till he lost his life. Sad!

If you know how hard it could be for someone to die in such a circumstance, use your hand to block your nostrils just for a minute as see how your body would forget all your worries but ask for just a breath for survival.

The murder of George Floyd has sparked protests around the world, with many calling Floyd an HERO even in death because through him, there seems to be light to the revolution in the treatment of Blacks. However, beyond racism which was considered the cause of Floyd’s death, we have many things to contend with as human and until then, most protests will only be vicious cycle.

Injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere. Police brutality isn’t just about countries now, it’s everywhere whether an organised society or not.

This is what Nigeria experience almost daily and when this happened, we would be quick to say it can’t happen in sane society but alas no one seems to be sane anymore. Just the same week of George Floyd’s death, a stray bullet by a power drunk police officer killed a 17-year-old girl, identified as Tina Ezekwe, in Lagos state.

What is the problem? Human nature is the same everywhere; black or white. The position of authority boosts their ego, they show their innate desire to dominate and rule and when the law is on their side, they can be more vicious and ferocious. A vivid examples showed by the Minneapolis cops and their counterparts in the Nigeria police force.

As all humans have the inherent desire to go against the law or engage in social delinquency just for their selfish craving, it is in the purview of rules, regulations and laws to checkmate them.

In another scenario, I was watching people in Nigeria went on protest, carrying placards in solidarity for the black lives matter movement in US. In as much as I see this as a brilliant idea to fight against racism in other countries, I can also say most people are just hypocrites or just doing that to chase clout.

Some days ago, the Ondo State governor appointed a lady from Imo State, Ngozi Ugochi as a Special Assistant on Gender, Research and Documentation but it was followed by hue and cry that it was wrong for the governor to appoint someone outside the state to enjoy the state benefit. Alas! This happened inside the same country but we’re quick to shout racism.

How many Yorubas have enjoyed political benefits in the north or how many Igbos have been given equal opportunities in the north?

I can’t breathe! This thing is suffocating me, it’s making me fell like an outcast in my country. In Nigeria, it is tribalism, in America it’s racism. What is the difference?

I can’t breathe! I need help, my parents do not want me to marry outside my tribe. I can’t breathe! My Hausa landlord do not want Igbo in his compound. Please I can’t breathe, the only job I can get as an Hausa man in an Igbo company is gateman.

God created human race but human created racism, He created tribes but we generated tribalism.

I can’t breathe!

If nothing is done, we may all be suffocated with hatred…

Written by Lekan Ajayi

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