‘Critical Days in the United States’ by Sophia Kouidou-Giles

Today’s America is a country occupied by hostile forces that have been bringing down our civil liberties. The protests that emerged following George Floyd’s senseless death reveal how authoritarian policing and falsified reports have been a cover up to the violence that poisons our fragile democracy. Videos by eyewitnesses capturing police brutality have made the case and we realize that we have gotten acclimatized to chokeholds, tear gas and other dangerous practices. Our complicity is in past inaction, inattentiveness to police blotter articles that announce the demise of black lives.

Democracy requires maintaining communication,  a fragile balance between leaders and citizens. It requires constant scrutiny. It was less than a century ago that the Nazi party led a totalitarian government in Germany and committed crimes against humanity. Hitler accomplished it through the massive use of propaganda under the guise of nationalism, demanding people’s loyalty to a misconstrued ideal of superiority, reminiscent of Trump’s ‘America First.’ Have black Americans and their families become an incipient target, much like the Jewish people were during the rise of the Third Reich?

Exaggerating danger and minimizing the severity of the response lurked in the words of a President who claimed that the protesting public engaged in ‘acts of domestic terror’. He has also claimed that coronavirus is a myth, and the country that has experienced over 220,000 deaths is overreacting. This even after he contracted the virus. His frame of reference is purposefully constructed to aid him in justifying inaction, a neglectful stance that speaks of his inability to lead a nation.

I grew up in Greece during the years that followed the German occupation. My background has served me to recognize the danger signs of our times and applaud the recent upheaval, the excitement that elections afford us an opportunity to hope for change: it is the people’s call to action.

Democracy is a delicate form of government and protests signal the people’s voice, a thundering call for change. It renews hope that the country is awake, demanding that its leadership course corrects and realigns our institutions through dialogue and mutual respect, to return to a path that leads to liberty and justice for all. It is time to vote!

About the contributor

Sophia Kouidou-Giles
Sophia Kouidou-Giles, born in Greece, resides in the USA. Her work has appeared in Voices, Persimmon Tree, Assay, The Raven's Perch and The Time Collection. Her poetry chapbook is Transitions and Passages. Her memoir, Sophia's Return, written in Greek and forthcoming in English is published by She Writes Press.

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