This commentary aimed to focus on something important to the commentator, and ideally also speak to Mebembe's ideas. It is based on the original text written in 2020, where Mbembe reflects on COVID-19 as a watershed moment for humanity.
The comments are based mainly on the reading of the original (translated) text "the Universal Right to Breathe." It is an intimate but also generous text. Intimate because a few ideas are only implied and generous because it pairs well with other texts written previously by Mbembe. One that is mentioned explicitly is the book titled Brutalism (2020), which he equates with depletion. In it, Mbembe discusses how humanity is entering a global age of depletion. He expands on a notion initiated in his 2003 essay Necropolitics and later in the Critique of Black Reason (2013). This notion is "'le devenir-nègre du monde' or 'le devenir africain de la planète' (the becoming Black or the becoming Africa of the world), by which he means the extension of racial prejudice and neocolonial pillaging on a planetary scale" (Quigley 2020).
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