“I have a dream that one day my four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” (Martin Luther King, Jr, 1963).
These are probably the most quoted words from Martin Luther King’s speech and, after reading Brenda’s post on the recent happening in America, they came back to me as I, along with so many thousands of people across the world, try to process the diabolical nature of the event we have witnessed.
I will quote more of MLK because his famous speech was such a beacon of hope and in the tough times of discrimination in South Africa, I used it year after year to draw a parallel to encourage my students to believe 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’”. And
“We refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt”.
And so, we come to the moment, 57 years on, when we watch with horror as the precious breath of life, the gift of life, is extinguished from a fellow human being in a most inhumane way.
“I can’t breathe “.
I’m sure many people gasped in deep despair at the look in the officer’s eyes as he held George Floyd pinned to the ground – heartless, without a flicker of feeling, without any glimmer of acknowledgement of the obvious outcome of his action.
It is hard to keep hope going at moments like this, but it is important in these dark nights of the soul, to remember and pay tribute to all the good people out there who continue to serve despite the great risks to their life and limb; when a Covid patient calls in the throes of his struggle, “I can’t breathe”, there is a person who sees his humanity and reaches out to help alleviate his suffering. We can hope this gift of compassion is felt amongst those who serve the people in their various ways.