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‘I can’t breathe’: There is no alternative for Justice

‘When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.’ Martin Luther King

‘I can’t breathe.’

‘Get off me.’ ‘Your knee is on my neck.’ ‘My stomach hurts.’ ‘My neck hurts.’ ‘Everything hurts.’ ‘Please, I can’t breathe, I can’t.’ ‘They’re going to kill me.’

George Floyd could not breathe, and I can’t either.

I cry out alongside millions of people over the world: ‘We cannot breathe while the knee of racism, discrimination, colonialism and hatred is on our necks. Everything hurts: our neck, our back, our stomach, our hands, our legs, and our heart.’

George Floyd’s heart stopped but the hearts of millions are pounding; black and white, screaming: ‘No to racism, no to all forms of discrimination; no to killing, no to violence, no to militarisation.

Against Trump and his government, and all corrupt governments in the world.

Against injustice, against tyranny.

Against fear, against hate speeches, and against the arms trade.

Together, to try the killers.’

‘Black lives matter.’

Human life is important; wherever they are, how they are, and where they are,
Together, we win for our humanity.
There is no alternative to equality, and there is no alternative to justice.


The cry of George Floyd, 46, before he was killed brings to mind the cry of Eric Garner, 43, before his murder. Garner screamed 11 times after he was put in a chokehold, ‘I can’t breathe.’

George Floyd’s murder by US police brings to mind the murder of a number of unarmed African-Americans: Philando Castile in Minnesota; Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin in Missouri; Tanisha Anderson in Cleveland, Ohio; and other women and men who were killed on account of racial discrimination, and inequality, and are still being killed on account of discrimination, inequality, and the lack of accountability.

One killing brings to mind another killing, a cry another cry, the repression of the freedom of expression another repression of the freedom of expression and the lack of accountability another lack of accountability.

The image of Palestinian Iyad Al-Hallak, 32, as he was killed in cold blood in Palestine hangs over us and comes to mind whenever the image of the American George Floyd, whose killer did not bat an eye, looms before our eyes.

The image of the Palestinian journalist, Mu’az Amarna, who lost his left eye while documenting the attacks of Israeli border guards on the inhabitants of the town of Surif, north of Hebron on 15 November 2019, brings to mind the image of journalist Linda Tirado, who lost her left eye while documenting the protest demonstrations for the murder of George Floyd, on 5 June 2020; and that of the Indonesian journalist Veby Indah, who lost her right eye while documenting protest demonstrations in Hong Kong on 3 October 2019.



It was not the Corona virus pandemic that killed the man with the dark skin; he was killed by another pandemic, that of racism and discrimination in the United States of America.

The words uttered by Benjamin Crump, George Floyd’s lawyer, before the mourners in Minnesota during his memorial service attended by thousands of Americans, were succinct and to the point.
And the Baptist minister, Al Sharpton, confirmed in an insightful concise statement that protests will continue until ‘we change the entire justice system.’

And we are greatly in need of this change.


If the killer of George Floyd is the pandemic of racism and discrimination is the neo-liberal virus, who, then, is the killer of the young man, the autistic Iyad el-Hallak, at Bab al-Asbat (Lion’s Gate) in Jerusalem, as he was heading for school?

Who is the killer of these women: the paramedic, Razan Ashraf al-Najjar and the activist Amal

Mustafa al-Taramsi, in Gaza; and the student, Lena al-Nabulsi, in Nablus?
Who is the child killer: Mohammed Abu Khudair, 16, in Sha’fat; Mohammed Ali Al-Kisswani, 11, in Beit Hanina; Osman Hals, 14, in the city of Gaza; and Baha’uddin Samir Badr, 12, in Ramallah? And Inas Shawkat Dar Khalil, 5, in the village of Sinjel, Ramallah? And others? And still others?

The murderer in Palestine is the pandemic of the Zionist racist settler colonialism which has been the chokehold on Palestine’s neck for 72 years.

This pandemic, which produced a large number of racist laws that violate the norms and principles of international humanitarian law and international legitimacy, to serve a racist regime based on discrimination against Palestinians, is embodied in the law of the Jewish nation-state.

There will be no peace worldwide unless we rethink our policies and struggle together to eliminate all plagues and to eradicate colonialism, foreign occupation, discrimination, all forms of racism, and vicious neo-liberal economic policies to bring about justice for all the people.