The murder of Alika Ogorchukwu: Is Europe as racist as America? | Racism

On July 29, Alika Ogorchukwu, a Nigerian street vendor from Civitanova Marche, was beaten to death by a white Italian. Italybecause bystanders watched and only recorded homicides.

After learning of Ogorchukwu’s death, I considered whether to watch footage of the murder and inevitably risk the pain that George Floyd’s similar traumatic death inflicted on my soul in May. risk 2020.

Finally, to really witness the great pain he was going through on his deathbed, to feel the little bit of pain he felt, I looked at it. The footage left me in tears, sick and shivering 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 came after Ogorchukwu had been trying to sell Filippo Claudio Giuseppe Ferlazzo and his girlfriend.

However, the Marche Regional Immigrant Services Association Centre said Ogorchukwu was attacked not because of a tough sales approach, but because of allegedly calling Ferlazzo’s girlfriend “beautiful” (and touching her arm).

Listening to the discussion about the alleged motive behind this senseless racist murder, I can’t help but think”unsolved“Murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi, USA in 1955.

Thiel, 14, was kidnapped, beaten, shot in the head, tied to a giant metal fan and thrown into the Tallahassee River for allegedly whistling at a 21-year-old white woman. He allegedly “flirted” with her, dooming him to a shocking fate. Six years later, Caroline Bryant Donhamthe white woman at the center of the allegations against Thiel revealed that she actually lied about everything.

Rough and degrading caricatures of violent beasts of white women ‘lust-filled’ ‘Black Beasts’ were central to 19th- and 20th-century America’s ‘black hatred’ discourse and white supremacist ideology used to justify racism and the lynching of black people. White supremacists have long carried out fictitious “attacks” on the dignity of white women to perpetrate violence against black men and to perpetrate white terror.

The recent murder of Ogorchukwu shows that the horrific murder of Emmett Till in the United States more than half a century ago, and the countless other murders of African Americans in modern America, are public and uninterrupted and the systematic dehumanization and criminalization of black people. Also claimed lives in Italy, miles away.

In fact, unfortunately, among countless Africans, Ogorchukwu was not the first, and probably will not be the last man and female Shot, wounded and dead in racially motivated attack in Italy.

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

However, violence is not just physical: it is often verbal too, and is subtly embedded in nationalist philosophies and anti-immigrant policies.

Cecil, Italy’s first black minister Kenge For example, professional footballer Mario Balotelli has been compared to a gorilla by right-wing senators on several occasions become goal of monkey chants in soccer gym.

Meanwhile, right-wing parties such as the coalition led by former interior minister Matteo Salvini have deliberately fanned anti-immigrant sentiment to win votes. “We need a massive cleaning, street after street, square after square, neighborhood by neighborhood,” Salvini said ahead of the parliamentary elections. 2018He unabashedly claimed that people like Kenge and Balotelli were just “pawns” in some mysterious grand scheme to erase “identity, diversity and history.” Italy.

Like so many ‘America First’ nationalists in America, Salvini seems to endorse racists’white substitution theoryThis explains his alarming hostility towards migrants. As interior minister, he notoriously banned foreign ships carrying sick and desperate migrants rescued at sea from docking on the Italian coast. At the time, Spanish newspaper El Mundo said: “Since World War II Europe has never experienced such appalling racial intolerance since the consolidation of the fascist movement in previous years.” It added, “Europe cannot continue to tolerate the violent attitudes of an EU member state that undermines one of the values ​​on which the European project is based. Do nothing else.”

Italy is currently preparing to hold parliamentary elections on September 25, and Salvini had again Find ways to make immigration a decisive electoral matter. As admirable as El Mundo’s observations and protests are, I don’t think Salvini is an oddball in Europe or the “European Project.”His endlessly poignant rhetoric against racial diversity echoes Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s recent discriminatory assertion that Hungarians do not want to be “Mixed Race”. Salvini’s election promise to deal with refugees in North Africa sounds creepy with racist Rwanda-UK shelter trade June ends.Plus, it’s a bit similar to the anti-immigration deal struck by the EU turkey, Libya and Niger to reduce immigration from North Africa and the Middle East. Salvini’s decision to ban migrant rescue ships from docking in Italy is no different than Polish security forces systematically forcing asylum seekers back to Belarus or Greek authorities “pushing back” ships carrying asylum seekers from Greece. waterswith the co-conspiratorial assistance of the EU border agency Frontex.

So the difference between Salvini’s Italy and the so-called “progressive” European countries is a matter of style, not substance. For example, Spain’s problematic policies and actions are also undermining the EU’s commitment to ethnic diversity. On June 24, at least 23 African men died while trying to cross the Melilla-Morocco border. SpainHuman rights groups have rightly characterized the deaths as tragic and called for a thorough and independent investigation into the suspicious behaviour of Moroccan and Spanish border guards. However, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez described it as an “attack” on Spanish “territory”. Upright” and characterize irregular migration as a security threat.

Sanchez’s claim that Spain is under attack from Africans is no surprise. Right-wing and conservative elements in Europe — like their counterparts in the United States — are obsessed with conspiracy theories about an orchestrated and highly implausible immigrant “invasion.”

The EU claims all forms of hatred and intolerance are inconsistent with European values. Furthermore, hate-motivated crime and speech are illegal under EU law. Across Europe, however, politicians have openly used inflammatory rhetoric to target religious and racial minorities and criminalize immigration. To be sure, reckless talk of racial homogeneity and immigration”floodEurope has created the conditions in which xenophobia can flourish, with people like Ogorchukwu, people like footballer Adama Traoré, people like me being “legitimate” targets of police brutality and racist violence. Awareness of racism in Europe Before a continental crisis, how many more immigrants like Ogorchukwu had to die at the hands of a protagonist who seemed to be indoctrinated?

The EU must do more than announce its commitment to building “vibrant democracies” and “plurality” society”. It must ensure that racial and religious minorities are not affected by the Nazi-style hate speech and racism prevailing in Europe. As Europe becomes increasingly hostile to blacks and browns and immigrants, the EU must seriously consider threats to its core of violating countries implementing so-called Article 7 procedures values.

Europe criticizes and condemns American racism so easily. But it’s hard to argue that it has done a better job than its younger brother across the Atlantic when it comes to fighting white supremacist ideologies, attitudes, and conspiracies.

Ogorchukwu and countless refugees did not have to die violently in Italy. No one – black, white or brown – has to. But until Europe acknowledges and takes serious action to address its racist crisis, black, brown and immigrant groups will face as much danger there as they do in the United States.

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

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