Many headlines have called COVID-19 an unprecedented event of human history. That’s not true. As humans have spread across the planet, so have infectious diseases. Even in this modern era, outbreaks are nearly constant — though not every outbreak reaches a pandemic level as COVID-19 has. Malaria, tuberculosis, HIV-AIDS, SARS, and other viruses appeared during these early years. And they mainly impacted the so-called emerging countries.
The current racial incidents happening in the U.S. also has a sense of deja vu. In fact, I have just read the speech Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered in Oslo, on December 10, 1964, on the occasion of his award of the Nobel Peace Prize. This speech could have been written last week.
I wanted to share with you because, as an African, these events are heartbreaking. But as MLK stated in his speech, I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.
The reality is, I hate feeling, deep inside, the discomfort of seeing the color of my skin as a target. But I don’t want to let my thoughts dwell on negative things and break my humanity. I don’t want to put my energy on the drama of these long-standing injustices. I don’t want to anticipate the worst case scenarios and stay paralyzed by fear.
Although it is difficult to ignore the noise in my head and the pain in my heart, I have chosen to concentrate my energy and change what I can change.
Whatever I will do, nothing will bring George Floyd back. And the best way to honor his death is to keep calm and use our unique capacity to change things along the way. And we can all start where we are, with what we have.
Serve yourself ...
Every life, by virtue of being a human life, is equal in value. No matter how young, old, weak, or poor a person may be, his life is just as worthy of respect and protection as any other. No one should be excluded from the opportunity to live freely and contribute to society because of the colour of his skin, her culture, or religion. Still, it happens all the time.