On May 28th of this year, I lost someone dear to me.
I know I’m not alone in that pain, you may have felt it too. His life was taken by an armed thug in his own front yard, the day after his seventeenth birthday. Most of you will know the footage of his death that was uploaded and viewed all over the internet.
International debate was sparked over what response was appropriate. Was there really a need for deadly force? Could the situation have been de-escalated non-lethally? Who was really to blame and why? Was it my friend for beating his chest at provocation? Or a young black mother for not paying enough attention to her son’s behaviour? Could it have anything to do with the society that explicitly sets out to put people like my friend in cages their entire lives?
Maybe it’s none of those, or perhaps all three have some truth to them. Reality is messy and sometimes there is no easy way to process something like this. We’re only human.
I felt like my friend was something a little more than human, and I will miss him deeply.
Fair does the spring breeze blow
On gently weathered brother
Towards the sun he looks above
To feel the shock that follows thunder
On a bleeding heart, one heavy hand falls
The crimson glows, mid-afternoon
Brother’s world is sideways now
The wet ground, soft and cool
Seventeen years of springtime ends
A child to save another
When public safety is concerned
One can be more human than his brother
If Heaven is like they say
The world will seem pale behind you
There are no cages there to fill
No cause for us to argue
In beloved memory of Harambe (May 27, 1999 – May 28, 2016)