“It’s a nice day for shooting Jews…” was the waking thought of Amon Göth. So he grabbed his rifle, sauntered out into the patio, and took pot shots. It takes a horrendous amount of spleen to mow down innocent passers-by in a calculated hit-and-run. But it is even more terrible when the malice aforethought has murder as the intent.
The killers of Lassane Cisse Souleymane made a mockery of the motto they are supposed to live by – “Custodians of Military Prowess”, for, if they are indeed guilty of this murder, they have committed a crime they were duty-bound to prevent.
One bad apple in the teaching profession, or another in the medical profession, has Joe Public baying for blood. There is the unfortunate trend of tarring all persons belonging to the group of which a miscreant, a guilty party, or a perpetrator form part, with the same brush.
White friends of mine who are married to black people – Indians, Africans, Dutch, Americans, it makes no difference – tell me that they are wary of drawing attention to themselves, especially when, as a couple, they are away from their usual immediate environment.
They hesitate to complain about bad service in a restaurant; they disregard racist taunts; they walk away from people who are spoiling for a fight. They know who will probably get the short end of the stick if the Police are called.
Racism is rife – not only in Malta and America – but elsewhere too.
And now, alas, we have passed from rhetoric to action – vile action. It is no longer the general “Send them back”, “Let them drown”, “Kill them all”, but a specific drive-by shooting, Hollywood style, by people who think they can determine that a person must die because of his nationality, his faith, or the colour of his skin, or a combination thereof.
The absolute majority of the aforementioned educators, medical personnel, and Armed Forces teams, take their jobs seriously and carry out their duties professionally. And then, a minor altercation takes up columns of space in the press, and thousands of comments on social media.
This time, we have gone even further than the appalling treatment of an autistic child and the inexcusable misdiagnosis of a person with cancer of the digestive tract.
We have wannabe Amon Göths who think they are gods, with the power to decide who is to live and who is to die
Those of us who were mocked as conspiracy theorists for saying that the hit-and-run incident was no accident, but a premeditated attack, maybe even a trial run for a second attack, have now been proven right.
The fact that racial intolerance, xenophobia and jingoism are actually by-words in an electoral manifesto is no longer funny – not that it ever was, except for the living caricatures of those who spouted the spleen.
It never ceases to amaze me how foreigners whose skin is on this side of beige, whether or not they have come here illegally, are treated differently from those who are darker. It is pathetic to note that there are grades of racism – because racists never seem to complain that the (foreign) manager of a bank, or the (foreign) C.E.O. of a certain Maltese-owned company, have “taken” the job of a hot-blooded local.
Some bi-racial people are white enough to pass, just as some Jews could pass for Germans. Some Maltese people are darker than foreigners from Asia or Africa
The hatred exhibited toward a person who is ‘not Maltese’, this time, has not only led to GBH; it has engendered a murder. How long will it take before the relatively lesser racism toward Eastern Europeans and Pan-Asians transmogrifies into rabid nationalism? The worldwide move toward raging racism is not just a passing trend, with Carnival-grade Hitlers strutting and preening and venting spleen. It is the one-way ticket to a dark, angry, violent place.