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The Zimmerman maneuver in Helsinki
by Thanos Kalamidas
2013-07-23 11:44:41
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I suppose it becomes old news but I keep following what’s going on with teenager Trayvon Martin’s case and the Zimmerman verdict. I’ve read what president Obama said, “I was Trayvon Martin” and all about the 100 cities protests. And the reason I’m watching and following the whole thing is not just because of my anger for the unfair death and the criminal verdict; it is because I was expecting more reaction.

I don’t mean riots in the centre of San Francisco or New York and definitely not violence in any city of the world. What I mean is that I was expecting that these 100 cities protests had become the global cities protest. I was expecting to read articles and comments from all around the world for the Trayvon Martins of this world. But the reaction first of the media and then from most of the audience has been first sympathy for the victim and his family and then all concluded into the phrase “this is an American thing.”

Well is not an American thing. Unfortunately is a global thing and one way or another we all have been witnessed a Trayvon Martin in our neighbourhoods and lives. Everywhere in Europe, from Paris and London to the smallest Finnish village in Ostrobotnia. And to my opinion here hypocrisy is even stronger because we can cover colour and ethnic profiling under the carpet of our social traditions and especially strict constitutions where human rights are a major issue.

In the case of Trayvon Martin, the private security guard did a profiling based on the colour of the skin and reacted accordingly to his lack of social behaviour, education and environment. And the state failed him and the whole nation in protecting Trayvon Martin because it relay in the sense that there is a constitution that protect equal rights never really investing more into Zimmerman’s and the Zimmermans of the USA social behaviour, education and a better equipped environment. On the contrary and especially in the years of a black president, USA missed the chance to improve equality records investing actively into equality and human rights education letting more racism and xenophobia come out in the open.

And if this bad in USA in Europe is tremendous because at least in USA they are talking about it and there is a movement that does something. In Europe we keep ignoring the fact that racism and xenophobia is in dramatic rise with neo-Nazi, racist and fascist parties in European parliaments like in Greece, Holland, France and in some case some of them like the Finnish, True Finns have ambitions to govern soon. And the idea that we don’t have any Trayvon Martin in Europe yet is just illusional because we have thousands of Trayvon Martin walking in the streets and neighbourhoods of London, Paris Athens and Helsinki.

The catastrophic hit of the Twin Towers didn’t happen in Europe but the outcome has hit Europe hard first making ethnic profiling more obvious and secondly bringing out all the racists and xenophobes out of their closet. In a full tram in Helsinki the only empty seat is the one next to the Somali man or the only empty space in the metro is around the Arab women. A Finnish state official less than a year ago without even bothering to check papers told me that all Greeks are liars and another one after reinsuring me that there is no xenophobia in Finland pointed out that …they have to check carefully the documents from a Finnish court I gave him because “foreigners do tricky things with official papers.” And I can continue with a series of insults proving ethnic profiling only from my personal life in Finland.

But if I can be so bitter for been victimised of ethnic profiling, a Greek living in Finland, a member of a partner and supposedly friendly state what should the Somali or the Indian in Finland say. For more than a decade I have seen with my own eyes in Helsinki people harassed and insult in trams, in the metro, in buses, cafes and restaurants just because of the colour of their skin or their ethnicity. Of course none was shot like Trayvon Martin but how much damage words can do is something we all familiar with. A man taking his three-year-old son to the doctor while lifting him form the car and talking to him softly in his own language to calm the feverish child was harassed so badly from a group of “real Finns” in Helsinki that he was forced to put the kid back in the car and drive away.

And these are just a few examples from thousands in Helsinki, but what about London, Berlin Athens? In Athens the neo-Nazis of the criminal bur parliamentary Golden Dawn petrol the streets harassing and often beating foreigners based on racial and ethnic profiling. And in Athens there are cases of Trayvon Martins. Dead or beaten to death boys and girls from the neo-Nazis. What the state did? The Zimmerman maneuver! The Finnish police and state institutions have been accused even from the European commission for ethnic profiling; but what the Finnish state is doing? The Zimmerman maneuver. Blame the recession and who do you blame the recession in this case? The Greeks! The Zimmerman maneuver.

What’s the answer to the Zimmerman maneuver? But education, information and help into the social environment. But who has the time to do anything about these things while the Nokia shares keep dropping!


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Cole Banks2013-07-24 03:42:10
What if this had happened in a wealthy or mid-income part of: New Dehli? Mecca? Pretoria? Cape Town? Moscow? Cairo? Is it racism or classism? I doubt T. Martin would have been killed for being in a low-income part of town - unless he was killed by someone trying to rob him.

Leah Sellers2013-07-24 07:30:01
Oh Thanos, I could Hug you, sir. It is a Global Thing.
I thank the World for Insightful and Enlightened Minds and Souls such as Yours, Sir.

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