martedì 9 novembre 2010

Wipe out hate: International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism

"When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty!"
Bertolt Brecht

Commemorate the Holocaust; Put up resistance against today's right-wing extremism, extreme nationalism and fascism; Raise awareness about the worrying political developments in Europe. 9th November International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism: the biggest annual campaign of this nature, uniting diverse local actions under the common slogan "Wipe out Hate": more than 186 coordinated actions organised by 126 grass-roots organisations and different groups in 49 European countries.

Historical background
The 'Kristallnacht' pogrom or 'Night of Broken Glass', was a series of attacks against Jews carried out by SA stormtroopers and civilians in nazi-Germany and Austria, 9-10 November 1938. It was the first step to the extermination of the Jewish Europeans by the nazis. Today 9 November is seen as the symbolic beginning of the Holocaust, the policy of the systematic murdering of millions of people. It reminds us that such terrible things did not start with deportations and concentration camps, but developed step by step.

Europe today: some facts
There is constant rise of hate crimes and attacks on minority groups in Europe's society, especially Muslims and Roma and Sinti. Russia is Europe's sad leader concerning violence related to radical nationalism and right-wing extremism: at least 71 killed and 333 injured in incidents 2009 (according to the Russian monitor centre SOVA).

Persecution and Deportation
Only some weeks ago France deported hundreds of Roma back to Bulgaria and Romania although they are citizens of the European Union. For the first time since Mussolini's fascist "Blackshirts" militia, Italy re-introduces vigilante patrols in 2009. Similar as the "Blackshirts" the vigilante patrols are sanctioned to "protect inner security". In practice they support the persecution of Roma and Sinti and immigrants in Italy.

Fascism is still a threat to Europe that may not be underestimated. Most actual example is the paramilitary "Hungarian Guard", which is modeled after paramilitary terror groups that play a key role in the rise to power of national socialist rule (such as the SA Storm Troopers). Even after being outlawed, the group still stays active and poses a significant internal threat to democracy.

Rise of Right-wing and Populist Parties
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung indicates that recent election results for the far right in Europe in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria, as well as in Eastern Europe are a disturbing indication that right-wing extremists and rightwing populists in many places are succeeding in winning support. Surveys conducted by Bielefeld University shows that 50.4 % of Europeans in a representative poll agreed with the statement that there were too many foreigners in their country. Almost a quarter of the respondents agreed with the statement, 'Jews have too much influence' and one-third said they believed that there is 'a natural hierarchy between black and white'.

The lessons of the past
It is vital to preserve Europe's distinct history in the mind of people. New and old generations need to learn from the lessons of the past to better understand present developments and mechanisms that lead to violence, persecution and genocide related to radical nationalism, right-wing extremism and fascism.
Against the background of an growing far right scene in Europe - may it be on political level in form of far right kingmakers for conservative-liberal governments; or in militant subcultures that turn public spaces into "no go areas" - resistance becomes our duty.

Actions against hate
All over Europe people are struggling against hate in their communities. This campaign unites them and their efforts to create one strong voice. Each year, the planned actions mobilise thousands of people all over Europe - from Portugal to Uzbekistan and from Iceland to Greece -to remember the past, monitor the present and act for the future.
This year's planned actions range from commemorations, demonstrations and symposiums over radio programmes and online-campaigns, up to concerts and film festivals.

UNITED for Intercultural Action
The campaign is coordinated by 'UNITED for Intercultural Action' - the European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees. Within the UNITED network more than 550 organisations from a wide variety of backgrounds, from 46 European countries, work together in common activities and projects. UNITED is and will remain independent from all political parties, organisations and states, but seeks an active co-operation with other anti-racist initiatives in Europe.

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