4 November, 2013

INTERVIEW: Populism and Hate Speech – UNITED Conference, Prague

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Category: Activism, Guest writer
Community Manager
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Interviews conducted and article prepared by  Anna Gotowska (Poland), Emre Alpun (Turkey) – ‘Wipe Out HATE’ Conference, UNITED FOR INTERCULTURAL ACTION, 25-30 October, 2013

The Conference organised by United for Intercultural Action brought together many young activists, originating from over 50 countries. We thought it was a good opportunity to ask some of them to share their views on the issue of hate crime and hate speech and to link it to the problems discussed during the Conference – like populism and the quest to regain solidarity among activists of Eurasia. All of them were faced with three exact same questions, we also asked them to approach the issue from their personal point of view, and to try to include regional perspectives in their answers.

 

Tezera, Moldavia

Why are you trying to fight hate speech/hate crimes in general?

I believe that hate speech is something especially dangerous.  It is dangerous because we live in a fast changing world; conditions of living are going to be more difficult and harsher in every part of the world. Fascism and racism, these types of ideology are flourishing in conditions of inequality. Scapegoating, victimisation, and blaming the victim for many seem the most comfortable way to deal with the problems.

What do you think might be the connection between HS and populism?

Populists are taking advantage of angry people, who are simply ignoring the truth or for some reasons don’t want to know the truth, or even simpler –  don’t know the truth at all. Such people are most prone to use and receive messages of hate speech.

How do you think the United conference helped you to find new ways to deal with issues like hate speech?

Participation in the plenary of the United conference helped me to understand the depth, the complexity  and connection between the social issues and the rules of game of populist parties.

Attila, Hungary

Why are you trying to fight hate speech/hate crimes in general?

Because: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Hate speech is against this declaration and the philosophy of it.

What do you think might be the connection between HS and populism?

The populism creates a proper atmosphere for HS/HC. The perpetrator can feel what he/she commits is not condemned by the whole society.

How do you think the United conference helped you to find new ways to deal with issues like hate speech?

I felt there are other people who also deeply refuse the idea of racism, fasicsm and nazism. They gave me hope that normal life is possible.

Vania, Greece

Why are you trying to fight hate speech/hate crimes in general?

I would like to decrease the fascist movement in Greece because I’m afraid for the future of Greek society.

What do you think might be the connection between HS and populism?

It is the main tool used by Golden Down, which is the most powerful fascist party in Greece

How do you think United Conference helped you to find new ways to deal with issues like hate speech?

I felt that I would like to be connected with the ‘HOPE NO HATE’ Campaign. Their work seems intelligent and nice.

Rafiks, Latvia

Why are you trying to fight hate speech/hate crimes in general?

Because it’s a negative effect of populism and actions of certain lobbies.

What do you think might be the connection between HS and populism?

It depends which kind of populism is on aim. I mean who is target group and who is populist?

How do you think United Conference helped you to find new ways to deal with issues like hate speech?

UNITED has contacts, gives examples and experiences. It also gives motivation to be against hate speech.

Ainura, Kazakhstan

Why are you trying to fight hate speech/hate crimes in general?

Because it’s a real problem for my community, where Kazakh culture or even language is being discriminated against.

What do you think might be the connection between HS and populism?

I think HS, as it is defined by the EC, is mostly used by common people, and populism is more common for politicians.

How do you think the United conference helped you to find new ways to deal with issues like hate speech?

The Conference gave me the feeling that some things can be implemented and some not really – at least not immediately. It also definitely gave me the sense of the right direction.

Emilia, Finland

Why are you trying to fight hate speech/hate crimes in general?

Hate speech violates individuals in my country and across the world. It’s dehumanising and it’s an act against humanity. I think it’s every person’s responsibility to resist and fight it.

What do you think might be the connection between HS and populism?

Hate speech gives seemingly easy and simple answers – it can seem very appealing as it exploits grievances and fears. It’s a useful tool for populism.

How do you think the United conference helped you to find new ways to deal with issues like hate speech?

I acquired a lot of useful knowledge, practical tools and examples for fighting hate speech. It also gave me courage to do this work.


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