I can breathe
White eating black. One and another time. White always eating black. António played checkers. All day long, the board at the top of the table. After lunch, the pieces to move. Lone player, lord of white and black. The digestive, the fierce battle and the right game. On that board, always black eating white. António played checkers for the white girl not to eat the black girl. It wasn’t revenge, it was resistance, he explained. Winning on a board can have a contagious effect. Gradually change the game.
I met António in Mozambique, it’s been there for ten years. The free smile intertwined with the memory of paddling and apartheid. On the day of his death, there was no priest and no crown flowers. Only black eating white, Nina Simone’s indignant voice on that Mississippi Goddam. These days, I have remembered António, afternoons glued to the checkerboard. And Nina Simone. What would she sing now? No other futility has caused as much injustice as skin color. More than 50 years later and the album on the same track. The murder of George Floyd putting everything in black and white. Again. Once again. Minneapolis Goddam.
On the day of his death, there was no priest and no crown flowers. Only black eating white, Nina Simone’s indignant voice on that Mississippi Goddam
Racism is not just a crime, it is a network that steals everyone’s soul and individuality. It is also not just ignorance. That’s it, plus a handful of bad livers, with two hints of cowardice. I can’t breathe, said George before he died. He was 46 years old. He died under the knee of a policeman. A neck under one knee. Some men, centuries under others. The Washington Post reconstructed the crime, based on video surveillance images, amateur videos and emergency services communications. Everything is there, the pieces on the board. Eight minutes and 46 seconds intolerable. The video left me breathless. Lie. Without breathing, only George Floyd stayed. I can’t breathe, he pleaded. But there is no humanity that raises a racist knee. António’s board is not enough. We are all parts of this game. The question is what are we going to do. We who can breathe.