What divides the world today is the right or lack of the right to breathe. Our world is a suffocating world, in which some people are not allowed to breathe. The illegalised people on the move who are suffocated to death in crowded trucks; travellers without papers who drown in the Mediterranean Sea; African Americans who are suffocated to death under the knees of a brutal racism. At the same time, growth-dependent fossil capitalism has caused environmental degradation and air pollution in major cities in the Global South, where breathing has become struggling. This is what Frantz Fanon called “combat breathing”. A suffocating world requires resistance. The “Black Lives Matter” and “Migrant Lives Matter” movements echo Fanon, who said that the colonised revolt because it has become impossible for them to breathe.
We cannot breathe! Can you?
Shahram Khosravi is a former taxi drive and currently an accidental Professor of Anthropology at Stockholm University. Latest publication, Seeing Like a Smuggler: Borders from Below, (edited volume Mahmoud Keshavarz) London Pluto Press 2022; Waiting. A Project in Conversation, Berlin (2021)