‘Remember, race and politics are the most inconvenient topics in the modern world’ – I was only 14 when my grandmother gave me a stark warning about this, she also added that she had ‘faith in me to be truthful to the human ideals regardless of the variety of subjective interpretations, which may serve one group’s particular interests.’
This modest Jewish lady from the Polish city of Lodz and my father were of the conviction that individuals with similar roots will be able to present a well-rounded perspective on such on race, ethnicity, and even culture without bias.
Throughout my life, my grandmother has wholeheartedly believed that my mixed-heritage will play a part in challenging those ingrained stereotypes and preconceptions in people’s minds, along with those vile racio-ethnic societal prejudices.
With this is mind, my dear grandmother and father nurtured deep understanding of European, Jewish, and Afrocentric issues in order to not only help me understand my role as a human being in this world, but also to wisely defend similar and the like-minded from the attacks of the ill-informed that perceive themselves as the purveyors of infallible truth.
What these two monumental figures have always had in common was their love of modern history, notably, the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust and the transatlantic enslavement of Africa.
They also shared a mutual aversion towards any form of totalitarian ideology aiming to destroy individualism, cultural expression, and sovereign right of every human being to self-determine their present and the future condition.
Like many in my family, I finished law studies, and like all of my family members I was brought up with a deep respect for the rule of law and objectivity, which champions the importance of debate and criticism, an essential requisite towards to what I believe is truth, an argumentation of subjective/objective information, antithesis, thesis, and of course synthesis.
This culmination of ideals and reasoning which are at the foundation of the man that I am today, for some, it is perceived as an unnecessary burden, as many believe that “the end of history” is indeed a fact and therefore, postmodernity will set the future generations free from the perils of the past.
With the Brexit vote on a slow burn in United Kingdom and Donald Trump presidency in America – arguably the two most important events in recent political history in the West – I believe that all of these landmarks are not what they ‘seem’ and simply mark an opening of a new chapter of political, social, and racial divisions which were so skilfully (if not naively) swept under the carpet of blissful ignorance and neoliberal dogma.
Four years later the political elites, detached from reality and confronted by the average Joe’s insurmountable dissatisfaction and socioeconomic situation, a more vicious circle of events is unfolding before our eyes in what is already unprecedented times.
As silent observer as well as being a son of an African, I am deeply moved and angered by the callous murder of yet another unarmed African-American man in the hands of police officers in America.
The images of Derek Chauvin impaling George Floyd’s neck on road with his knee for several minutes will like the images of Apartheid and the Holocaust, forever haunt with us for generations and remind us of the ignorance that is still prevalent in this world.
However it goes without saying what we have to keep in mind is the fact that this is not the first murder committed by the police in the US on African Americans, this is happening every year and it is perceived to be a leading cause of death for young black men in America.
This clearly proves that this is not an isolated incident, but a problem deeply rooted within the American society, which has not reconciled nor confronted its racist and bloody past.
Although the cold blooded killing of Mr. Floyd is undoubtedly crying for vengeance from the heavens, I am of the opinion that violence breeds violence, vengeance can neither justify violence, looting, and vandalism of those who allegedly “rally against racism” across America.
I also argue, like in the case of London riots in 2011, these events lose their meaning and are overshadowed by an ugly minority’s tendency to wreak havoc across society, taking advantage of the social disruption amidst COVID-19 lockdown in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
As much as I am utterly disgusted by witnessing another atrocity committed against the descendants of the captured people, I am even more stirred by the fact that Donald Trump and the entire political class there cannot comprehend (or cleverly ignore) the root cause of these problems.
I beg Mr. Jefferson that in the case I should die without will or testament he should bye out of my money So many Negroes and free them, that the restante [remaining] sums should be Sufficient to give them aducation and provide for thier maintenance, that . . . each should know before, the duty of a Cytyzen in the free Government, that he must defend his country against foreign as well as internal Enemies who would wish to change the Constitution for the worst to inslave them by degree afterwards, to have good and human heart Sensible for the Sufferings of others…
These are the words of the will of the famous Polish freedom fighter and US independence struggle hero during the American Revolutionary War, whose statue was vandalised during the current protests, Tadeusz Kościuszko , who left his American estate to be sold to buy the freedom of black slaves, including President Thomas Jefferson’s own.
Interestingly, the same president who later betrayed the so called ‘American ideals’ and his own friend, expressed the following fear in the famous Notes on the State of Virginia, which may serve as a strike warning for the current government of President Trump:
Indeed I tremble for my country when reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!
With the skyrocketing US COVID-19 death toll and the current civil unrest caused by racial tensions, instead of blaming Russia or China for its problems, perhaps the United States will be mature enough to look inward and admit that their worst enemy is staring right back in the mirror.