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Walls of ignorance
by Thanos Kalamidas
2016-03-27 10:54:44
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This time I have been waiting. I have been waiting to see all the reactions. I have to admit nothing surprised me and nothing was unpredictable. Organized crime hit Brussels and the usual suspects started attacking the bystanders. Blame bearded men and women with veils. Blame darker people, blame people with funny accent. Blame the foreigners and the refugees.

Now something funny about this blame game. Few weeks before the police was called in a Swedish little town because “suspicious bearded men” gathered in a private area, they were using cameras and were talking all the time. The police arrived prepared to arrest terrorist and found a group Swedish men with beards celebrating the fact that they …grow beards. They were part of this new “hipsters” trend but in few hours they were promoted into …terrorists.

wall01_400_01That could have been funny if it wasn’t so serious but these new prejudice and racist stereotypes are becoming gradually lethal. Imagine if some trigger-lovers were among the Swedish police, somebody deep into these so populated rumours and suddenly he/they didn’t see that it was just a gathering of a friendly group that enjoyed good wine, talking and a lot of hair. What would have happened?  

You said it would have never happened. Why? Because it never happens? Just look on the other side of the Atlantic. A hood that covers the facer is enough to kill a boy, the colour of the skin identifies crime for some policemen in that side. Aren’t they policemen, these people? Aren’t they humans, victims of rumours and propaganda? Are they the only ones with Donald Trump?

Donald Trump said that when he becomes a president he will build a wall with Mexico. The Europeans laughed and they called him ridiculous. Why? Donald Trump said that he will do it when and if he becomes a president of the United States. The Europeans are doing it NOW. And they are much worse than Donald Trump suggests. They are doing it among friends, allies, partners they depend on.

Do you know what’s the difference between Donald Trump and some European Prime Ministers and presidents? The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, to name one. The fact that Donald Trump has no legal power. He says whatever he says but he is nothing, even his fellow Republicans have realized that he is a dangerous and racist con-artist. Viktor Orbán is a Prime minister. He has the power to enforce and legitimize his decisions. Been Donald Trump is Hungary is reality not a candidacy.

And they did build walls and they did violated all European fundamental ideals and they did violate even the constitution that legally ties the EU members. And they blamed for the refugees. Who bring violence, rape, crime and terrorism; just like Donald Trump. Exactly the same arguments. Exactly the same lies.

None of the people responsible for the hits in Brussels or Paris and earlier in London or Madrid were immigrants or refugees. Perhaps they have roots in other countries and their parents or grandparent were immigrants of refugees just like thousands and thousands others in Europe or America (just like ALL the American candidates for the US presidency today including Donald Trump) but these men were locals. They had grown in European cities, they had played in European neighbourhoods, they had made local friends, they spoke in local accents, they went to local schools, they watched their local football teams and they even joined the local scouts club. All very European. Remember even the majority of the people who participated in the hit in New York were German citizens which could legally travel to USA under the same rules all Europeans can.

There is no wall to stop that and all these wall we see this moment in Europe the only thing they stop except misfortune refugee women and children is their ignorance, racism and stupidity to escape from inside the walls. Nothing else.

But here also lies our mistake. These people who have been radicalized from ISIL, al-Qaeda or anybody else and actually their lifestyle and behaviour till then absolutely contradicts everything these radicals supposedly represent, how they have reached that point? Is it something ISIL is doing better than us? Absolutely not. In fact most of the ones who managed to “escape” ISIL’s brainwash describe the whole experience as a nightmare in every sense and their practices as the acts of psychopaths. So what’s wrong?

wall02_400It is us who are in mistake. It is that we are wrong. In my decades abroad I happened to meet with a lot of ex-patriot’s kids. Second, third and even fourth generation. The vast majority of these people have fully adopted in their country of birth, some speak their parents or grandparent’s language but for most of them is just words here and there and most of them have been only for holydays in their ancestor’s land (Donald Trump actually is the perfect example of all that). Nothing in their conscious or unconscious tells them that they are anything different from any other kid in the land they born. The sing the national anthem like it is theirs and they pride the history of the land they born. Absolutely nothing wrong about that. Again it is the Americans that taught this lesson first.

Still among all these thousands and thousands of these kids there are some with an identity crisis. There are some that for a variety of reasons (personal failures, state failures, disappointments and many other reasons) made them idealize the land of their ancestors and try to reach for her. Escaping for their failure in denial they try to find salvation in a utopia under the name of their ancestor’s land. In that critical moment state, society, – and I’m really sorry to say – family are absent. And here comes ISIL or al-Qaeda. And it just happens to be one of those, it could also be the local gang, the local mafia, the local crime lord. Anything that gives them identity and the feeling that belong somewhere. Unfortunately anywhere. They are not prepared to judge, their critical mind doesn’t work. Another failure of state, society and family.

But let’s see what state, society and family we are talking about. Phil Lynott, the late frontman of the rock group Thin Lizzy, when he was asked something like 30 years ago, why he joined the rock scene, he answered that if he wanted to become something in this life, a half black - half gipsy Irish man, he had to become either a football player or a rock singer, anything else meant living in the backyard of the society with no future. Just replace the half black – half gipsy with a half Arab – half dark man add Muslim and base them in any western country the last two decades and you get all the answers. Not to mention that half black – half gipsy was already hard in most of the European countries anyway. In all the eastern EU member countries, Roma are third category citizens always suspects for something and there is a lot of hardship for a black man even in liberal (supposedly) Scandinavian Finland. Actually in Helsinki the locals in a total prejudice behaviour call a part of the eastern suburbs Mogadishu Avenue, identifying and ghettoizing a part of the society that is characterized by their ethnic roots, even though the majority of them are Finnish citizens. Isolating them and discriminating them in any form, from education to health protection and making schools the playfield for any kind of radicals. The prejudice term Mogadishu Avenue is so common in the Finnish society, especially in Helsinki, so gradually it even became a national televised soup opera that triggered more prejudice.

These two examples show that no walls fight radicalization. Education fights radicalization, equality fights radicalization, tolerance fights radicalization. Walls, prejudice, racism feed radicalization. You see, terrorism has neither country nor faith but prays on country and faith.

Actually as – again – US has proved lately, fighting terrorism with walls and terrorism we only feed internal terrorism. This minute Nazis rule from Hungary to Finland, fascists from Poland to Austria and they have entered most of the European parliaments including the European parliament itself and they go as far to petrol the street, vandalize, terrify innocent like the “Soldier of Odin” do in Finland or murder like the Golden Dawn has done in Greece.

As long we don’t understand these simple things nothing is going to change for the better. More walls are going to be build, EU will die, democracy is raped and freedom murdered.



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Emanuel Paparella2016-03-27 19:32:17
"...Anything that gives them identity and the feeling that belong somewhere."

indeed Thanos, you've put your finger on something crucial; it's a question of identity or answering the simple question "what does it mean to be a European and which are the essential component that have been misguidedly discarded? Why does not the center hold, as Yates uses to put it? I have been trying to discuss these questions for almost a decade now in Ovi's pages. I cannot say that they have been satisfactorily addresses. Time is running out and time will tell how the drama of European identity ends. The omens are not good.

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