Murder of Alika Ogorchukwu: Is Europe just as racist as America? | Racism

On July 29, a white Italian man beat to death Alika Ogorchukwu, a disabled Nigerian street vendor from Civitanova Marche in Italylike bystanders looking in and just documenting the murder.

In learning about Ogorchukwu’s death, I considered whether I should watch the murder footage and certainly risk having to endure the anguish that George Floyd’s similarly traumatic death has inflicted on me. my soul in May. Year 2020.

Finally, to really witness the immense suffering he endured in his final moments, to experience a small fraction of the pain he felt, I watched it. The footage left me in tears, in pain and shaking with fear. After all, Ogorchukwu is like me: a middle-aged African immigrant trying to build a better future for himself and his family.

According to Italian police, the frenzied attack happened after Ogorchukwu tried to sell goods to Filippo Claudio Giuseppe Ferlazzo and his girlfriend.

However, the Association Service Center for Migrants in the Marche Region said Ogorchukwu was attacked not for assuming a semi-rigid approach, but for allegedly calling Ferlazzo’s girlfriend “beautiful”. (and touch her arm).

Hearing discussions about the alleged motives behind the senseless, racist murders, I can’t help but think of “unsolvedThe 1955 murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi, USA.

Fourteen-year-old Till was kidnapped, beaten, shot in the head, tied to a large metal fan and thrown into the Tallahatchie River, for the alleged “crime” of whistling a 21-year-old white woman. He was said to have “flipped” with her and that sealed his shocking fate. Six decades later, Carolyn Bryant DonhamThe white woman at the center of the charges against Till, revealed that she actually lied about everything.

The crude and vile caricature of a “black brute,” a violent beast “lustful” of white women, is a critique of Americans’ “sexual mania”. 19th and 20th century discourse and white supremacist ideologies used to justify racism, and the incarceration of Black men. White supremacists have long used decorated “attacks” on the dignity of white women to commit violence against Black men and perpetuate skin terrorism. white.

Ogorchukwu’s recent murder demonstrates that the very public, ongoing and systematic dehumanization and criminalization of blacks led to the grisly murder of Emmett Till in America over half a century ago. – and the murder of countless other African-Americans in America today – is also claiming lives miles away in Italy.

Indeed, Ogorchukwu is, unfortunately, not the first, and sadly, probably won’t be the last, of the multitude of Africans. man and women shot, wounded, and killed in racially motivated attacks in Italy.

For example, in 1979, unknown attackers burned death Ahmed Ali Jama, a Somali refugee. Giacomo Valent, a 16-year-old student of Italian and Somali descent, was beaten and stabbed to death in 1985 for being “dirty” by two white men. classmate. And Senegalese migrant Assane Diallo was shot 10 times and killed in Milan after asking a stranger for 5 euros in 2018.

Violence isn’t just physical, though: it’s also often verbal and cleverly embedded in nationalist philosophies and anti-migration policies.

Italy’s First Black Minister Cécile Kyenge for example has been likened by a right-wing senator to an orangutan, and professional soccer player Mario Balotelli has repeatedly become goal of monkey chirping in football stadium.

Meanwhile, right-wing political parties, such as the League, led by former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, have deliberately stoked anti-migrant sentiment to win votes. Salvini speaks before the parliamentary elections in 2018. And he unashamedly declares that people like Kyenge and Balotelli are just “pawns” in some mysterious grand scheme to erase “identity, diversity, history” in the world. Italy.

Like so many “America First” nationalists in the United States, Salvini seems racist.White Substitution Theory“And this explains his incredible hatred for migrants. As Interior Minister, he famously banned foreign ships carrying sick and desperate migrants rescued at sea from docking in Italian ports. At the time, Spain’s El Mundo newspaper reported, “Europe has not experienced such alarming levels of racial intolerance since the unification of fascist movements in the years leading up to World War II. Monday”. It added, “Europe cannot continue to tolerate the violent attitude of an EU member who does nothing but undermine the values ​​on which the European project is based”.

Italy is currently preparing for snap parliamentary elections on September 25 and Salvini has once again managed to make immigration a decisive electoral issue. Despite El Mundo’s admirable observations and objections, I do not consider Salvini a European oddity or a “European project”. His relentlessly tough statements against racial diversity echo, for the first time, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s recent discriminatory assertion that Hungarians do not want to be “Mixed Peoples”. Salvini’s election promise to handle refugees in North Africa sounds odd compared to the racist asylum in UK-Rwanda agree ends in June. Plus, it’s a bit like the anti-migration agreements that the European Union has signed with Turkey, Libya and Niger to limit migration from North Africa and the Middle East. And Salvini’s decision to prevent migrant rescue boats from docking in Italy is no different from Polish security forces systematically forcing asylum seekers to return to Belarus, or Greek authorities “repulsing” the ships carrying them. asylum seekers from Greece. too much waterwith the complicit support of Frontex, the EU’s border protection agency.

So the difference between Salvini’s Italy and the so-called “progressive” European nations is simply a matter of style, not quality. For example, Spain’s questionable policies and actions are also undermining the EU’s supposed commitment to racial diversity. On June 24, at least 23 African men died at the Melilla-Morocco border as they tried to cross. Spain. Human rights groups have accurately described the deaths as a tragedy and called for a thorough and independent investigation into the suspicious actions of Moroccan and Spanish border guards. However, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez described it as an “attack” on “Spanish territory”. integrity“And see irregular migration as a security threat.

The fact that Sanchez claims Spain is under attack from the Africans is not surprising. Right-wing and conservative elements in Europe – like their counterparts in the US – indulge in conspiracy theories about complex and absurd migration “invasion”.

The EU declares that all forms of hatred and intolerance are incompatible with European values. In addition, crimes and hate speech are illegal under European Union law. Across Europe, however, politicians are openly using inflammatory speech to target religious and racial minorities and to criminalize migration. To be sure, let’s talk recklessly about ethnic homogeneity and diaspora.”flood“Europe creates the conditions for xenophobia to flourish and people like Ogorchukwu, people like football player Adama Traoré, people like me become ‘legitimate’ targets for destruction. police brutality and racist violence.. How many more migrants like Ogorchukwu had to die at the hands of seemingly indoctrinated protagonists before Europe recognized racism as a crisis continent?

The EU must do more than declare its undying commitment to the establishment of “vibrant democracies” and “plural pluralism”. society“. It must ensure that racial and religious minorities are not subjected to the relentless hate speech and racism that the Nazis became mainstream in Europe. As Europe becomes increasingly an increasingly hostile place for blacks and browns and migrants, the EU must seriously consider implementing the so-called Article 7 procedure against countries that violate the threat. threaten its core. value.

Europe easily criticizes and condemns American racism. But it’s hard to say it’s doing much better than its transatlantic brother when it comes to fighting the ideas, attitudes, and conspiracies of white supremacy.

Ogorchukwu and countless refugees did not have to die from violence in Italy. No one – black, white or brown – right. But until Europe acknowledges and takes serious action to address its crisis of racism, black, brown and migrant bodies will be in as much danger as in America.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial views of Al Jazeera.

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