Floyd protests from afar


journal covid-19 london usa race

We’ve picked a new house. It’s going to be a house! It’ll have a garden and stairs and space for the cat, space for us to work and relax. We’re leaving in three weeks unless some recalcitrant property manager or landlord gets in the way.

Outside, COVID-19 measures had begun to relax and things had begun drifting slowly toward normal. Then a few days ago the US exploded with protests against police violence in response to the murder of a man named George Floyd by a policeman in Minnesota. All over the country the authorities have responded with a police riot. Peaceful protestors, the press, and bystanders are being brutalised and arrested all over the country. Black Lives Matter marches are starting up here too; my employer has notified us we don’t need to use up holiday allocation to march. I’ve made some donations to bail funds and encouraged others to do the same.

Back at work after a week off, I’m back on a carousel of screens of code, chats with colleagues in the eye of this new storm, and streams of videos of police savagery. I flip from one window to the other all day at the dining table, and then sign off, and then watch a film on a different laptop. My mum is in hospital to clear up an infection, she sent me a picture of her wearing a mask. I’m worried about her too. The privilege inherent in that experience of watching the problem from afar is big, but it doesn’t mean I don’t feel less human by the end of the day. There are going to be marches in London this week.