MUSCAT: It is one of this generation’s most iconic and very horrifying images — a police officer’s knee pressing against an unarmed black man’s neck — the act so brutal that it would lead to the eventual demise of George Floyd and will send a country into chaos. The viral video has been viewed online millions of times.
Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe!” resonated throughout the United States causing a massive uproar lending a stronger reason for many protesters to march on the streets so that the #BlackLivesMatter movement will finally be taken seriously by the American government.
While located thousands of miles away, the protests that have lasted for days now and sweeping some of America’s big cities including the surrounding streets of the White House reverberated in the Middle East into the collective consciousness of people in Oman — both the Omanis and non-Omanis alike.
Social media was ablaze with online discussions regarding this perennial problem with many in Oman in agreement that what was going on in America isn’t right.
In an alley in Harmul, in Al Batinah, a graffiti art bearing the resemblance of George Floyd has been plastered on an empty wall. Posted on Instagram by @majeed.graffiti, the artwork was ripe with symbolism including the very rope that is tied around Floyd’s neck labeled ‘racism.’
There was a lot to take in — from the tear in Floyd’s eye to the two birds, one black and one white in a peaceful kiss of equality, perched on his shoulder — to his infamous last line of “I can’t breathe,” the graffiti art was proof that even Oman’s youth and artists are paying close attention to this global issue.
The art, even at its face value, is a clear message that “racism” is not an isolated problem of the United States but just like the Covid19 pandemic, is a global problem that can no longer be swept under a rug and not just in America but also in the Middle East and the young people are noticing it.
Quoting the universal message of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) that there is no difference between an Arab and a non-Arab or a black person from a white person, it is a young artist’s tribute to the global movement and a reminder that the young people of Oman are listening and watching and that they too in silence, and through a simple artwork also protest what is without a doubt, a despicable atrocity to humanity happening in the American soil.