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Call things by name: Racism and Terror

Rosa Fava, head of the project ju: anAnti-Semitism- and Racism-critical Youth Work on the terrible events in Hanau.

It is difficult, for everyone, to find the right words after a mass murder like in Hanau. But what makes you angry when you follow the news and comments, are terms like “foreigners” or “xenophobic motive” and “an attack on us all”. “Xenophobia” and hatred against “foreigners” or “strangers” are based on the idea that there is, by nature, a very fundamental difference between different national groups. In addition, and this is the worst, the news and police spokesmen, the politicians and other commentators, with these terms, turn the people in the two shisha bars into non-Germans.

The perpetrator chose the shisha bars because often people meet there who immigrated themselves or their parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents did. People who the perpetrator therefore does not accept as Germans. In the same way, the media, police, and politics make the managers and visitors of the bars “foreigners” or “strangers”. This is racism: The family background and appearance are taken as an opportunity to see people not as Germans but as foreigners. This racist thinking is deeply rooted in society and promotes homicides like in Hanau. All the more so because the media, police, and politics have been marking shisha bars as places of crime and illegality for several years.

Elaborate raids in the bars are staged to demonstrate action against the “clan crime” of “Turkish-Arab family clans”. These and similar terms are intended to make it clear that “foreign” and “strange” powers are at work and pose a substantial threat to Germany. Numerous articles and films by the public broadcasters describe shisha bars as a dark, shady,and exotic so-called parallel society in the middle of German cities. A murderer and terrorist like the perpetrator of Hanau sees himself as a defender of the “endangered German nation” who finally acts instead of just talking.

30 years after the outbreaks of racist violence in arson attacks and pogroms in Rostock-Lichtenhagen, Hoyerswerda, and Moelln, those responsible in the media, police, and politics must finally assume their responsibilities. A first step is language, naming racism and admitting that “it” is not an “attack on everyone”. Massacres like the one in Hanau are right-wing terror against those who are exposed to racism.

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