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George Floyd: America’s visible man

Jun 07,2020 - Last updated at Jun 07,2020

In an awful, terrible incident, which best brings to one’s mind Ralph Ellison’s most famous black “Invisible Man” (1952), on May 25, 2020, to be exact, kneeling on their victim’s neck, four white police officers brutally and pitilessly became responsible for the homicide of forty-six-year old George Floyd in the most contemporary Minnesota mayhem in US history ever, leaving behind them a suffocated corpse and a horrible crime, in the name of social order and law enforcement, an appalling act of murder that pathetically evokes a systemic, implicit racism and injustice, among other unfortunate things, and the communal unrest of blacks in white, exceptional, ironically democratic, America, supposedly an international role model of fairness and democracy.

But the tragedy of Floyd’s catastrophic, ill-fated death and his woeful last words, as he lay dying, “I cannot breath,” remain another heart-rending story altogether that ruefully marks abusing an innocent, helpless soul while painfully accusing US black community of looting!

The final, crucial question here, for which all Americanists worldwide, myself included, need to craft an answer on the spot, is: Can this grim moment of the George Floyd death in contemporary American history be a valuable turning point in America’s great historical stride to rebuild and live up to the enticing ideals of the renowned American dream of justice, success and exceptionalism?

In fact, it is about time we, together, fight for all the Floyds of the world to achieve equal justice that we can marvel in the four corners of the world! It is, indeed, about time we revise our human experiences, political, social, moral and ethical, for this matter, and make them more humanitarian, more compassionate, and more benevolent, than they have ever been. It is about time criminals pay for the crimes they commit.

For everything we do, for everything we say and commit, there is a time (and a purpose) for a hundred decisions and revisions. “In a minute there is time,” to use the words of modern American poet and critic, T. S. Eliot. It is about time we get that evil, sinister, prejudiced, biased knee off people’s necks everywhere! No justice, no peace, no harmony! No balanced thinking, no fairmindedness! In the words of Floyd’s six-year-old daughter, that have taught us a stern lesson, “my dad changed the world!” To be sure, the world needs to reconsider and dynamically, yet forcefully, change its weird policies and practices in light of the horrible, awful death of George Floyd.

In a word, I trust there is room yet for justice and hope, and let us hope for the best!

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