Sacred Breath and George Floyd,
a view from Africa
Gabriel C Banda
BREATH is sacred. The tragic passing of George Floyd on Africa Freedom Day 2020 reminds us of the marvel of Breath.
Through breath, we are nourished. We are nourished and go on to do our part in maintaining creation.
We each make our contribution, a contribution which is some part that adds on to that of others and helps keep the world nourished and going, now and into other generations and eternity.
Humans and animals and even plants breathe. Yes, breath is life. The breath we make when we take in nourishing air goes towards nourishing our whole being. Breath is healing. Breath is restoring.
Breath is considered by many as inspiration and expiration, the taking in of Oxygen and the taking out of waste air, Carbon Dioxide.
When you watch a person that has died, you will notice at the chest that the body lacks breath.
Yet breath is sacred. Breath is more than just pumping-in Oxygen and taking out Carbon Dioxide.
The breath we give out is not waste but used by other parts of creation. Plants breathe out Oxygen that humans and animals use. So what we take in and give out is useful for others in creation.
Breathing is not good air in and waste air out. The air we give back after our breath is not some waste but is actually precious spirit.
Breath is sacred. Breathing is an act of love in creation. It is not pumping in and pumping out. Breathing is not a mechanical process. Breath is sacred. In breath, we receive nourishment from creation.
In breathing-in, we are not pumping in and forcing in air through the breath process. In breathing in, we are receiving from creation. We are receiving a gift that is lovingly been given to us by creation. Breathing-in is not mechanical.
Breathing out is not throwing out waste. Breathing out is giving back to creation. It should not be throwing out waste air, but lovingly giving to creation.
Like true food has love and nourishment in it, so too is breath made of love. Receiving air to breathe in is an act of love, so too is breathing out not one of throwing out waste but lovingly giving back to creation.
We can enjoy each breath if we become aware of our selves receiving it. We can enjoy breathing out and be glad we are giving to creation.
We are being given breath and nourishment. In this breath there is the spirit of creation itself.
Steadily, breath flows between receiver and giver. The receiver gladly receives and then gladly, with love, should give back.
So, breathing in and out is sacred.
Breathing in and breathing out are not pumping in and pumping out of air. Breathing out is not throwing out of air.
Breathing is a receiving and giving back process. Breath is sacred. Breath should be received with love and given with love. In receiving and giving breath, we should feel the appreciation involved.
We should feel the love involved. We feel happy to do our work and service in the purpose of creation. Breath is sweet.
Because of breath and its flow, we have some beat. Because of breath, we have some pulse, a pulse that like a beacon radiates our individual presence all over the universe.
Breath is spirit, the spirit of creation itself. Breath is life. Breath is a living process. Breath is holy. Yes, breath is not mere movement of air, breath is spirit. Breath is spirit of creation and spirit in creation.
Thus many persons, worldwide, were moved when unarmed George Floyd, a person of African descent, was martyred, killed by a police person of European descent, at Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the United States, May 25, 2020.
Remember that May 25th is significant as it is Africa Freedom Day celebrated by Africans, Persons of African Descent, and human dignity supporters from all over the world.
The police man finished unarmed George Floyd by putting a knee over handcuffed George’s neck for many minutes. Being choked, George pleaded, as Eric Garner in 2014 and other victims before, to be released, “I can’t breathe.”
Other police officers were just watching. George Floyd even cried “Mama,” which in Africa happens often when a person is in deep despair, wonder, or even appreciation. Many songs will have “Mama,” “Mayi,” “Mayo” and other variants of the universal root “Ma,” “Mama”
From that violent encounter on Africa Freedom Day 2020, George Floyd died. What person is it who can place their knee for long on another’s throat, with the victim pleading and struggling to breathe, and the assaulter continues to inflict pain against this human being, a creature of creation?
This goes on for long. What person can do that to another human being? Many persons recognise that even an animal is not to be made to suffer with such cruelty.
Choking a person or animal is direct interference with the process of breath. Many humans consider other animals to be beasts, thus lesser beings that somehow are alright to harm, slaughter, and feed on. Yet even animals are fully pained by the process of death humans give to them.
Interference against the flow of breath and nourishment of life happens also in authorised and unauthorised hangings and lynching of persons by governments and persons.
The intention of choke is that the person should not breathe. The intention of the person not to breathe is that they should die. They should not live. The intention of making them die is to remove them from life so that they are not active in their work and service.
In the USA, for hundreds of years, persons of African descent have been lynched, hanged, without judicial sentence. Even in the early 1900s, there were some lynching at places like Gainesville in Florida.
In the 21st Century, they have continued to be killed, harmed, and trumped upon, in various brutal ways, by some police persons. Sometimes, the hatred is clear as when a person is shot down with many bullets. Many times the killers or assaulters have not been held to account for their actions.
George Floyd was recorded, on camera, being choked while he was handcuffed and on the ground. For a long time, some eight minutes and forty-six seconds, the police man had his knee on George’s neck. George complained but was ignored.
Witnesses nearby pleaded with the police persons to stop harming George but the harm and choke continued. Clearly, the police man went on to finish George, to make George Floyd cease. To make George die. To make George not be part of the world. To make George’s contributions in life to cease. Yet police officers are supposed to be protectors of society.
The choke was to make George not be part of us, part of our physical world, part of brothers and sisters we are working with all over the world. It was a crime against the sacred human body. It is a crime against humanity.
The demise of George Floyd was against creation, where his presence was robbed from us. The choke that killed George Floyd is a crime against creation. It is sin against creation.
Meanwhile, that breath denied one of its homes flows on in the world, awaking souls of the world, bringing light. Truly, breath is sacred. Breath we are not to interfere with.
Like all that receive the gift of breath, persons of Africa descent are an integral and legitimate part of the human family, where none is inherently higher or lower than another by virtue of the grouping they are born linked to.
The choking and killing of George Floyd happened on Monday, May 25, which is Africa Freedom Day, a time when in abundance the gift of breath, with its freedom and dignity, flows forth, surging forth and shedding light, unstoppable by any choke. Breath is Sacred.
Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the Author is independently involved in writing and the arts, social development work, and observation of conflict and peace issues.
– GCB, Lusaka, May 2020.
* * *
May 2020, LUSAKA.