My dear unconcerned white friend,
I do not write to you from a place of anger.
No, I am not embittered by your folly.
I write to you now because I see you looking at me as I mourn the needless killing of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis.
I feel sad for you because you have chosen to stay perched on your supreme throne and peer at me through
slits on your thick white drapes. Slits small enough so you miss the sublime view that’s visible from down here.
The view of life that is only visible when one takes a knee and say loudly – yet with sealed lips: I can breathe now.
You do what you do thinking that might is greater than reason.
But I do not fear your guns. No, I will not. For even the greatest army that humanity has ever known is unfit
to maim the inward realization that the tide has turned.
Do you not see:
that your children will be lonely without mine?
that your streets will be quiet for, since George’s demise, the happy beats of life that our feet produce have gone silent;
that your barns are barren without the cheap labour that you have always had;
that when we are gone from this land your aisle will be empty of picked fruits;
that your children are restless because the black hands that rock the cot are swollen from overwork?
The closer to the skies you have taken yourself, the farther removed from reason you have become.
How do you sleep well at night when your children run with full tummies while ours sleep empty?
‘White on black’ incidents have killed more of my kind than the virus.
You love me on your terms; I am a tool for your entertainment. In 100 yards for 90 minutes, and 28 yards for
48 minutes I run and jump as you scream out my name
You wear jerseys emblazoned with my name and number, but you see me in the streets jogging and I remind you of nothing but a common thief!
Why are you at ease when I entertain you, but feel threatened when I entertain myself?
See, there is something amiss when the guilty becomes the judge.
It was not my wish to be here with you this far north of the equator.
We once lived far away in fields of green until the plunderers you choose to call explorers and discoverers arrived on the coast of West Africa
It was your forebearers’ unhealthy scramble for Africa, the land, its resources and its people, that brought us here.
Live with me or ship out! After all, this land wasn’t always yours.
You put your knee on our necks, but I plant mine on the earth
You take out lives with your knee but mine sows seeds of justice that will give life to my children and theirs.
That moment that changed the course of history did not come with a shout.
Now my people storm the streets and you quake at losing control.
Instead of bending the knee so you see that power has changed hands
you still stubbornly hold on to your guns.
Bend the knee so you see what I see now.
You will see that we are no collectors of your injustices
We are the bringers of peace; the harbingers of the hope of a future that will exclude those who see only the colour of our skin but not the peace in our hearts.
We are free!
- Idowu Ohioze
Lawyer, Alberta Canada
June 4, 2020