A personal account
It’s creeping up to 2am, and I’m aware that Its in my best interests to sleep, however something, maybe that incessant need to know of the world, its whereabouts and what its doing has me scrolling further into the abyss of what I call my newsfeed. I casually scroll, half-heartedly paying attention. At this moment, the fatigue is beginning to find its home, understandable; I’ve led quite the gruelling day.
Returning to my newsfeed, I stumble, or rather scroll upon an AJ+ video which I decide to watch, I mean who wouldn’t? AJ+ and a story on Beyoncé? Intelligent matter and my one my favourite icons in a video? Before I know It the video is rolling and I’m engrossed in Bey’s flawlessness.
Now the real reason as to why I’m writing this, the video takes a drastic turn and before I know it, I’m no longer ogling Beyoncé’s Suoerbowl ensemble, but I’m watching a man surrounded with policemen, firearms at the ready and ready to pounce. I can’t help but liken it to a sea of lions cornering their prey, anticipation and excitement as rife as the number of rifles in the vicinity. The video tells me he’s twenty-six but his shrieks, his begging and pleading seem to me those of child in want of something. He seems so small in comparison to them, but the difference is this is a man, not a child, and he’s begging; the degrading thing is that he’s begging for the right to life itself. Funny how human rights come and go within the police force. I’m sure the first one on the list is a right to life?
So at this stage, the screen goes black. Before I even have the time to worry, the sound of a shot pierces through my heart, followed what seems to be a never-ending barrage of more, more and then more. They wont stop. I’m praying they stop but they carry on taunting me. They still wont stop. I’m screaming in unison with the video, I’m screaming with his family when I see him fall, I’m screaming when it stops. I viciously try to hide the emotions physically running down my cheeks but I cannot comprehend what I have seen. I cannot think. I cannot for the life of me believe what I have seen. At 2am I just witnessed a murder.
I can only describe the true extent of my feelings as a tumult. A tumult of all emotions related to sadness. I think of Mario, his family, his friends. My thoughts turn incessantly darker. I begin to wonder, if not marvel at those so called “law enforcers”; they stand, in numbers unjustified for one man and amidst his pleading for his life, amongst the excruciating despair echoed in the shrills of his family…. Unhesitatingly pull the trigger. Not once, not twice, but twenty times. Twenty times. One cannot help but think if to them this is merely some form of a sadistic Sunday sport. How can so many be so inhumane together? How? It is beyond me.
After witnessing such traumatic scenes and being so utterly shaken, I am struck by an incessant need to know more about Mario. I expect that when I endeavour to find this information, the inevitable outcry that will have resulted will produce many articles detailing the injustice of what transpired. Again the media fail me.
All that I am able to find is stories on Beyoncé, her riveting performance, and an interview of the man that was allegedly stabbed by Mario Woods. Few news outlets have actually spoken of Mario, and stories of him seem rare, almost like an antique. I spend what seems to be hours trying to find at least scraps of information but am disappointed time and time again. Eventually I decide it will have to wait for tomorrow.
Tomorrow arrives and Mario’s story is fresh on my mind, it is all I can think about but no one seems to know. No matter who, where or how I approach people, no one knows of Mario, his name is foreign to them. Its at this moment, I realise that unless you’re lacking in melanin, the media won’t report about you because you’re irrelevant. The value of your life is automatically lessened. Society dictates you have a reduced importance and that similarly to Mario Woods, Freddie Gray and Michael Brown… You’re disposable. As long as the judicial system turns a blind eye, society’s norms and values will ensure that black lives don’t matter and the real perpetrators will still continue to masquerade as peacekeepers. In the eyes of an ideal law, a homicide should be treated as such, even if the murderer wears a uniform.
Time passes and as people are beginning to recognise the brutality of Mario’s murder, his name becomes more known, prominent even. His name is interchanged with the likes of Trayvon Martin and even Stephen Lawrence. But their names should not be famous. They should be living the lives they were entitled to, not being representations of police brutality and martyrdom. Their names should not need to be taken in memory of them. Their deaths should not have occurred. Yet who actually admits to this?
Similarly, black people should not have to campaign for their right to security. #Blacklivesmatter shouldn’t have to exist, but it does, because frankly its needed. But our brothers and sisters out there are doing a goddamn good job of it.
With love to Mario,
With love to the resilient ones
With love to #blacklivesmatter. May god be with you.