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OPINION: George Floyd: A powerful symbol for change

George Floyd died in Minneapolis on 25 May 2020 when a white police officer held a knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. The video of this horrible incident which has gone viral has sent shock waves across the world. The Afro American citizen was begging for his life with the following words: “I can’t breathe” but his pleas fell on deaf ears and the ruthless policeman did not spare him. The poor soul ultimately breathed his last while calling out for his mother. This hate crime has been a wakeup call across the planet. From the four corners of the world, people have been showing their indignation and disgust over police brutality and racism  towards the black community..

The funeral service of  George Floyd was held in the church Fountain of Praise in Houston where he grew up. He was buried next to his mother.500 people attended the ceremony and it lasted for three hours. The close relatives of Black men who have been  victims of hate crimes were also among the guests. They have come to support the members of bereaved family and  show them that they share their grief and that they must join their forces together to heal emotionally and collectively from the trauma they have both gone through.

Rodney Floyd, the brother of George delivered a powerful eulogy. He told the audience that his brother has become a symbol and people will remember him and his death will contribute to make the world better: “Everybody is going to remember him around the world. He is going to change the world.” A few days ago, Gianna the six year old daughter of George Floyd said the same words when she saw thousands of people marching in the street, claiming justice for the victim and demanding an end to discrimination against  black people.: “My dad is going to change the world”.    

For weeks, people around the world have taken to the streets to protest against discrimination and hate crime.. Generally, people are good and loving. Everywhere, only one language is spoken; that of Humanity. Everyone wants to live in a peaceful environment where people are treated equally regardless of the colour of their skin..

In the United States, many white people joined the protest to show the black community that they support the cause of the Black Lives Matter movement  and that they disapprove of racism which has marked the history of America for too long. They share their vision for a more equitable world where the fundamental rights and dignity of each citizen are safeguarded. They want their children to  grow up in a society where everyone avails of the same opportunities and work towards the same goal. After all, each parent wants his children to uphold values like love, compassion, respect and kindness.  

From the United Kingdom to France, Australia, Germany, Canada, Japan and other countries, people are vehemently saying NO to racism. In London, statues of colonial figures have been toppled down to erase the country’s dark colonial past. In Belgium, a bust of King Leopold II who exploited millions of Congolese people in the late 1800s was defaced. People have had enough of slavery and racism.

George Floyd, the gentle giant as he was called was an accomplished sportsman.  He excelled at football and basket ball. Now, that he is no more, let’s hope that his death would serve a noble purpose: That racism, discrimination and hate crime must in no way be condoned. These scourges have no place in our modern world. People must not be judged by the colour of their skin, community or social status. Everyone is endowed with unique talents and abilities and have the power to shine and make a difference in the world. Similarly, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther king’s struggle to eradicate racial segregation and set up an equitable society must not go in vain.

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