In the past few weeks, the world has observed in horror, the consequences brought on by racism and the hate speech which is becoming so common to hear from politicians all around the world.
While in the US, most cities had massive gatherings of citizens to show rejection and repulse against the institutional racism that is so ingrained all around the world, their president continued to spew out his hate speech against them, with divisive and racist rhetoric. Hatred, merely because they dare to show their anger against the racism that takes so many lives daily, announce that we have reached a tipping point, and demand change.
And, like them, in solidarity, millions of people around the world have joined demonstrations, demanding change and a permanent solution to the existent institutional racism.
However, in Europe, even though leaders of different countries have made an effort to distance themselves from the position taken by the US government, and have even, in some cases, expressed their support for protesters, the vast majority has avoided condemning, or even mentioning the racism that so ingrained is in the majority of European countries, and which grows every day.
It is not enough to see the evil of others, we have to make an effort in looking critically inside what we are and what we represent and realise that racism is alive and present in a continent that prefers to let black people drown rather than take them in; that locks up asylum seekers and migrants in camps that closer resemble a jail than a home; that blocks the arrival of people who flee horror and that refuses to create safe migration routes for all those that come from countries populated with other races.
The hypocrisy is even more shocking when we hear governments talking about improvements in the conditions for migrants, and condemning racism but, when governing, impose discriminatory laws, avoid pushing for change to end the endemic institutional racism and even work to silence the voices of those that try to build a collective conscience among citizens regarding what their governments do in their names.
We all have the possibility to raise our voices, not just in support of those that fight against racism in other countries, but also to fight the one that happens close to us. We have to fight the belief that “this doesn’t happen here” and open our eyes to the reality that millions of people live in Europe, experiencing discrimination and racism in their day to day lives.
Every day, in Melilla, we observe the consequences of racism, the division and the lack of understanding brought by the ignorant hate speech of too many politicians are pushing at the moment and that, unfortunately, few of those who listen to them decide to question.
Because of racism, it is accepted that Europe has children living in the streets, in conditions of complete helplessness, for not being white.
Because of racism, it is accepted that, in the middle of a pandemic, hundreds of people are locked up, enduring inhumane conditions and discriminatory laws, for not being white.
Because of racism, it is accepted that, during a health crisis, thousands of people are kept in overcrowded reception centers, doubling their capacity and without having the possibility of keeping any kind of hygiene or distancing measures, for not being white.
We ask ourselves what else has to happen for things to change, for us to right our wrongs and start pushing for union and not division, and for each and everyone of us to realise that we have much more that connects us than what divides us.
Change within our society, starts from the acceptance of all the damage that racism has caused, and the understanding that silence in the face of racism, is racism.