The Black Lives Matter movement in four E.U. countries

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice on 2021-07-13 22:25Z by Steven

The Black Lives Matter movement in four E.U. countries

Der Tagesspiegel
Berlin, Germany
2021-07-12

Andrea Dernbach

Graciously translated from German into English for me by Gyavira Lasana.


Black Lives Still Matter: Dass das Leben Schwarzer Menschen weiterhin zähle, war der leicht variierte Titel einer Demonstration. FOTO: FABIAN SOMMER/DPA

The short summer of BLM—and what remains of it. The results varied, but everywhere #blm influenced the debate on racism, says a European study. A comment.

A year has now come and gone since the protests that drove hundreds of thousands onto the streets after the death of the black US citizen George Floyd—and not just in the USA. In Germany, by the end of July 2020, around 200,000 people had demonstrated against racism in their own country, through police, discrimination in public services and against the gauntlet that is their everyday life for the majority of non-white people.

Forgot everything? The last demonstration at the Brandenburg Gate brought just a thousand people, despite relaxed pandemic regulations. Media interest in “Black Lives Matter” also quickly subsided after initial widespread coverage, as a group of researchers from Germany, Poland, Italy and Denmark who investigated the phenomenon a year later for their respective countries have noted.

But this only seems to be the surface when you read what the social scientists from the German Center for Integration and Migration Research in Berlin, the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, the University of Copenhagen and the Polish Academy of Sciences have compiled in interviews with activists, media analysis and on four maps of protest. In all countries, the short #blm summer has made racism as a topic more visible and black voices more audible than ever.

In Poland protest only in the cities

Even if, as quoted in the research report, it had to be made clear to the enthusiastic newcomers that the black movement in Germany has existed for more than forty years and not merely since May 25, 2020. Now having gained momentum and publicity, anti-racism became, according to the report, “like never before a political topic.” Even for Poland, where the protests were relatively small—limited to major cities such as Warsaw, Kraków, Wroclaw and Katowice—and failed to include outrage over government actions against women’s and gay rights, Black Lives Matter nonetheless made racism a public issue.

Particularly interesting is the comparative view of the two countries with both fascist and colonial pasts: In Italy as well as in Germany, the #blm protests reached the whole country, and both movements related racism to their nations’ past. In the media, on the other hand, and possibly beyond there was resistance to the connection of today’s racism with national history. According to the analysis of the team from Florence, even Italy’s left-liberal and left-wing traditional newspapers have dealt with the US protests in far more detail than with those in Europe and Italy. Even the left-wing Il Manifesto has interpreted the slogan “I can’t breathe,” whispered by the dying Georg Floyd, not as a call against anti-black racism but a jingo for the many who suffered from shortness of breath owing to the pandemic, the climate and the economic crisis.

Racism is often that of “others”

In Germany, the news daily Bild had virtually concealed the topic. The narrative that minorities have been wanting to blow up for decades—that racism has been successfully overcome together with fascism and Nazism—still seems resilient. The editors of Bild had decided that a racist status quo in Germany was not something its readership wanted to see, hear, or read. Interestingly, Alle außer mir, Francesca Melandri’s excellent novel about Italy’s racist Abyssinian War against Ethiopia and its consequences sold 70,000 copies in Germany in one year, while selling over the counter just 10,000 times in Italy. Racism is preferably that of others.

The two countries are also far apart in terms of the response of established politics to #blm. In Italy, the momentum seems to have ebbed before reaching the so-called palazzo, or parliament: “At the political-institutional level, we cannot yet see any effects,” says the research report. In Germany, however, even as BLM was less diverse and counted fewer refugees and fewer active people than in Italy, the movement found exactly the right people for German formal democracy: long-established Afro-Germans with the necessary experience in German politics. For example, they participated in the Chancellor’s Cabinet Committee on Right-Wing Extremism and Anti-Racism, and since then there has also been more money committed black programs and projects.

How long the topic of racism endures at the upper levels of institutions cannot readily be determined. As the researchers also write: For a real verdict on #blm in Europe, a look at the one short summer is too short.

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70 years Moluccans in the Netherlands: the ‘painful problem’ of mixed marriages and relationships

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Law, Media Archive on 2021-06-22 21:46Z by Steven

70 years Moluccans in the Netherlands: the ‘painful problem’ of mixed marriages and relationships

EUROMIX Research Project: Regulation of mixed relationships, intimacy and marriage in Europe
2021-06-11

Betty de Hart, Euromix Principal Investigator; Professor of Transnational Families and Migration Law
Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Source: Het Parool, 1951-05-11

Introduction

In May 1951, the local council of the town of Huizen in the Netherlands adopted a local police regulation (Algemene Politie Verordening) prohibiting town girls from hanging out at the gates of the camp where recently arrived Moluccan colonial migrants were housed. The newspaper article in Het Parool reporting on this regulation quoted the town mayor saying that he got ‘nauseous’ by the 15 and 16 year old girls, who sought contact to the ‘Ambonese’.

In light of the various events organised this year to commemorate the 70-year presence of Moluccans in the Netherlands, it seems appropriate to go further into the way these colonial subjects were received, especially in relation to the regulation of mixture. As will be demonstrated, the local regulation in Huizen was not exceptional, but part of a pattern of regulation of mixed relationships and marriages between Moluccans and Dutch nationals, that was framed in terms of ‘racial mixture’…

Read the entire article here.

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Queer Memory and Black Germans

Posted in Articles, Europe, Gay & Lesbian, History, Media Archive on 2021-06-21 01:33Z by Steven

Queer Memory and Black Germans

The New Fascism Syllabus: Exploring the New Right through Scholarship and Civic Engagement
2021-06-08

Tiffany N. Florvil, Associate Professor of European History
University of New Mexico


Memorial plaque, May-Ayim-Ufer, Berlin. OTFW CC BY-SA 3.0.

In “The German Catechism,” Dirk Moses offers an interesting intervention by challenging the idea of the Holocaust’s uniqueness as well as current debates about the Holocaust and its connection to German colonialism, especially the Namibian genocide (1904-08). He also addresses the stifled debates surrounding antisemitism, Israel, and Palestine. In making his argument, Moses uses five points to explore Germans’ abilities to come to terms with their genocidal past and how that past has shaped subsequent postwar efforts at state (re)building, national identity, belonging, and restitution. Postcolonial scholars such as Paul Gilroy, Frantz Fanon, and Aimé Césaire have long acknowledged the interconnections among colonialism, antisemitism, racism, and the Holocaust. Moses even references the latter two theorists in his piece. I applaud some of his intellectual provocations as well as the other contributors in this exciting forum (i.e. Frank Biess, Alon Confino, Bill Niven, Zoe Samudzi, Helmut Walser Smith, Johannes von Moltke, etc.). Together, they not only force us to grapple with these histories and our own positionalities, but they affirm how subjective (and not value-free) the production and dissemination of knowledge really is.

As much as I welcome debate, I am left pondering what is exactly new about Moses’s claims given that Black (queer) women in Germany examined the Holocaust and memory politics since the 1980s often outside of academic institutions and mainstream debates; sadly, a dynamic that is still common today. There were (and remain) racialized communities in Germany who used the Holocaust as a point of reference for opening up public dialogues about discrimination and systemic racism. They did so in their community and in their own publications, constructing a new public sphere. This was not taken up in the mainstream; it still isn’t today. Where are the voices of those individuals in these German debates past and present? This is also striking considering that those same communities demonstrated in their cultural and political work how “Memories are not owned by groups—nor are groups owned by memories. Rather, the borders of memory and identity are jagged”—a point stressed in Michael Rothberg’s Multidirectional Memory (2009), which is encountering criticism in today’s Germany, but which has propelled analysis of the complex, overlapping layers of memory at play in the postwar years. If Vergangenheitsaufarbeitung is such a fundamental feature of postwar German society, where are the perspectives from Black German, Turkish German, and Romani communities? Why don’t we know them and why aren’t they shaping the debate? The latter group was not officially recognized as victims of the Third Reich until 1982. It is the first group I will focus on in further detail below…

Read the entire article here.

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Aftershocks: A Memoir

Posted in Africa, Autobiography, Books, Europe, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2021-06-04 14:57Z by Steven

Aftershocks: A Memoir

Simon & Schuster
2021-01-12
320 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9781982111229
Paperback ISBN-13: 9781982111236
eBook ISBN-13: 9781982111243
Unabridged Audiobook ISBN-13: 9781797108698

Nadia Owusu

In the tradition of The Glass Castle, a deeply felt memoir from Whiting Award–winner Nadia Owusu about the push and pull of belonging, the seismic emotional toll of family secrets, and the heart it takes to pull through.

Young Nadia Owusu followed her father, a United Nations official, from Europe to Africa and back again. Just as she and her family settled into a new home, her father would tell them it was time to say their goodbyes. The instability wrought by Nadia’s nomadic childhood was deepened by family secrets and fractures, both lived and inherited. Her Armenian American mother, who abandoned Nadia when she was two, would periodically reappear, only to vanish again. Her father, a Ghanaian, the great hero of her life, died when she was thirteen. After his passing, Nadia’s stepmother weighed her down with a revelation that was either a bombshell secret or a lie, rife with shaming innuendo.

With these and other ruptures, Nadia arrived in New York as a young woman feeling stateless, motherless, and uncertain about her future, yet eager to find her own identity. What followed, however, were periods of depression in which she struggled to hold herself and her siblings together.

Aftershocks is the way she hauled herself from the wreckage of her life’s perpetual quaking, the means by which she has finally come to understand that the only ground firm enough to count on is the one written into existence by her own hand.

Heralding a dazzling new writer, Aftershocks joins the likes of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight and William Styron’s Darkness Visible, and does for race identity what Maggie Nelson does for gender identity in The Argonauts.

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Growing up Ethiopian and German

Posted in Africa, Articles, Autobiography, Europe, Media Archive, United States on 2021-05-24 21:00Z by Steven

Growing up Ethiopian and German

Ethiopian Observer
2021-05-20

Tigist Selam

Born to an Ethiopian mother and a German father, Tigist Selam enjoyed the diverse experience of growing up in Nigeria, Argentina, and foremost Germany. In an article featured in the book “One Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race“, Tigist explores the complexities of racial classifications, and the different ways that people live and experience Blackness.

I personally identify as Black racially, Ethiopian, and German/ American culturally. I never say that I’m Black except in a political context because I don’t even know what that means. Like being Black. What is Black culture? Is it African culture? Is it the Caribbean? To me, culture is very specific and I’m multicultural. So, when I identify as Black, I’m making a political statement; I am not trying to simplify my own cultural complexity.

My father was born in 1945. That’s the end of World War II. He still had the swastika in his passport and on his birth certificate. And my mom, she survived Haile Selassie and Mussolini. Both of my parents are very proud to be German, very proud to be Ethiopian, respectively. Very, very strong people identity-wise. But they’re not very sensitive when it comes to race. To them, everybody else is an idiot. And that was really helpful growing up because my mom never backed down. When she didn’t get seated, she would say something or not pay for the meal. My dad took me voting when i was 11. I was forced to watch international news every day. So me and my brother got politicised at a very early age. But it was also the experience of living everywhere-Nigeria for two years, Argentina for three years, Germany ten years, and now America off and on for 10 years…

Read the entire article here.

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The children colonial Belgium stole from African mothers

Posted in Africa, Articles, Europe, History, Law, Media Archive, Religion on 2021-03-12 16:12Z by Steven

The children colonial Belgium stole from African mothers

Al Jazeera
2021-02-03

Annette Ekin
Brussels, Belgium


An archive photo showing children at Save, a key institution to which stolen mixed-race children were taken [Courtesy of metisbe.squarespace.com]

Taken from their mothers in what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, decades on a group of mixed-race elderly people are fighting the Belgian state for recognition and reparations.

Monique Bitu Bingi, 71, has never forgotten how it happened.

It was 1953 when the white colonials came for her in Babadi, a village in the Kasai region of what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), then a Belgian colony. She was four, the child of a Black Congolese woman and a white Belgian colonial agent. Because she was mixed-race, she would be forced to leave her family and live at a Catholic mission. If she stayed, there would be repercussions: the men – farmers, hunters and protectors of the village – would be forcibly recruited into military duty and taken away. When the time came to leave, her mother was not there to say goodbye. She had left, unable to watch her daughter go.

Monique remembers travelling with her uncle, aunt and grandmother who carried her. She could tell something was wrong from her grandmother’s sadness. They walked west for about two days, crossed a river and slept in cabins used for drying cotton. When they reached Dimbelenge they hitched a ride northwest on a truck carrying the body of a woman who had died in childbirth. It was headed for Katende, in today’s Kasai Central province, where the St Vincent de Paul sisters’ mission was. Monique fell asleep. It must have been a Wednesday because weddings happened on Wednesdays and when she awoke outside the mission she saw a young Congolese couple, the bride dressed in white, and strangers everywhere. But her own family was gone. She remembers walking through the crowd, crying, until an older girl from the mission brought her inside to the others.

Among the countless abuses committed by the Belgian state during its colonial occupation of the Congo from 1908 to 1960, taking over from the exploitative and violent rule of King Leopold II which killed millions of Congolese, and its control from 1922 to 1962 under a League of Nations mandate in Ruanda-Urundi (today Rwanda and Burundi), is the little-known systematic abduction of biracial children from their maternal families…

Read the entire article here.

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In Ireland, Lifting a Veil of Prejudice Against Mixed-Race Children

Posted in Articles, Europe, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Religion, Social Work on 2021-01-17 03:24Z by Steven

In Ireland, Lifting a Veil of Prejudice Against Mixed-Race Children

The New York Times
2021-01-15

Caelainn Hogan


Jess Kavanagh says she always knew that her mother, Liz, was adopted. “It was obvious,” she said. “My grandparents were white and my mam was Black.” Paulo Nunes dos Santos for The New York Times

The singer Jess Kavanagh is working to raise awareness about the experiences of mixed-race Irish people, particularly those born in the country’s infamous mother and baby homes.

While helping her mother work merchandise tables at some of Dublin’s most respected venues, Jess Kavanagh first got a taste for the music scene. When she started doing gigs herself — a petite singer with a belter of a voice — people would come up after to tell her she sounded “like a Black person,” the last words half whispered.

They were assuming she was white.

Ms. Kavanagh, a rising solo star in Ireland after years touring with acts like Hozier and the Waterboys, had to form what she calls a “linguistic arsenal” to express her experience as a mixed-race Irish woman. What drives her to speak out is a legacy of silence. As the daughter of a Black Irish woman who was born in one of Ireland’s infamous mother and baby homes, she is raising awareness about how those institutions hid away generations of mixed-race Irish children.

More than five years ago, reports that children were interred in a sewage system at a mother and baby institution in Tuam, in western Ireland, compelled the Irish government to open an investigation into the institutions, where unmarried women and girls who became pregnant were sent. They were run by religious orders.

The final report, published on Tuesday, confirmed that of the 57,000 children born in Ireland’s 18 homes over several decades starting in 1920, around 9,000 died…

Read the entire article here.

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The hidden story of African-Irish children

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Religion on 2020-12-06 02:54Z by Steven

The hidden story of African-Irish children

BBC News
2020-12-03

Deirdre Finnerty

In the middle of the last century, thousands of students from African countries were studying at Irish universities. Some had children outside marriage, who were then placed in one of Ireland’s notorious mother and baby homes. Today these children, now adults, are searching for their families.

As a child, Conrad Bryan wondered if his father was a king. He was from Nigeria – or so he had been told – a place Conrad imagined was far more exciting than the orphanage outside Dublin where he lived.

“When you want something and you can’t have it, your imagination takes over,” he says…

Read the entire article here.

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Rosemary Adaser: ‘Two-thirds human’ — growing up black in Ireland’s institutions

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Europe, History, Media Archive, Social Work on 2020-11-01 01:59Z by Steven

Rosemary Adaser: ‘Two-thirds human’ — growing up black in Ireland’s institutions

Irish Examiner
2020-10-31

Rosemary Adaser


Rosemary Adasar, founder of the Association of Mixed Race Irish.

Ahead of the publication of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes report and as Black History Month ends, survivor Rosemary Adaser describes how mixed-race children were at the bottom of the ladder in institutions here.

OCTOBER was Black History Month, everywhere in Europe, it seems, except Ireland. In the UK, Black History Month is firmly established and, in the last two years, we have begun to celebrate a Black and Green History Month where the historical connections between people of African and Irish descent are celebrated; it is an exciting new development. In June, Black Lives Matter went global, bringing new meaning to Black History Month.

One of Ireland’s best-known mixed-race people was the late, great Christine Buckley, a heroine of mine and a fellow industrial school survivor. Christine was born in 1950s Ireland, as was I. She was far more sensible than I; she married a lovely Irish man, enjoyed a career, had beautiful children, and changed Ireland forever. That was not to be my path.

In the Ireland of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, colourism existed. Efforts to get the good people of Ireland to foster, not adopt, us “difficult and hot-tempered children, especially the girls”, according to a 1966 Department of Education official memo, led to the placement of advertisements in newspapers mentioning how light a child’s skin colour was.

In Margaret McCarthy’s 2001 book My Eyes Only Look Out, one of the interviewees among six mixed-race Irish children fostered to an Irish couple commented that “the darker kids had it worse”. I was one of the darker kids, and I did have it worse…

Read the entire article here.

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My Eyes Only Look Out: Experiences of Irish People of Mixed Race Parentage

Posted in Books, Europe, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Work on 2020-10-31 23:27Z by Steven

My Eyes Only Look Out: Experiences of Irish People of Mixed Race Parentage

Brandon Books
2001-12-31
240 pages
5.46 x 0.74 x 8.43 inches
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-0863222849

Margaret McCarthy

Much has been written on the subject of ethnic minorities and the problems they experience in integrating into a predominantly white society, but very little on persons of mixed parentage. Based on interviews, this book provides an eloquent account of the lives of people of mixed race. It comes at an opportune time, as the increasing presence of immigrants, refugees and people of colour has seen increased problems of ignorant prejudice and active racism.

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