Madrid. February 10, 2007 10.30 am.
Miwa, 45 years old. Married and dad of two children.
Miwa is walking down the street. He comes across a boy, Roberto, who asks for a cigarette and fire. Miwa answers politely: he has no cigarettes. Roberto, without apparent cause and showing great aggressiveness, insults him. Miwa answers back calmly. Roberto becomes more and more aggressive and he starts, this time, shouting racist insults:
“fucking black, fucking monkey, your site is not in this country. Your site is the zoo with your peers.”
Suddenly, with an open hand, he hits Miwa’s neck who falls unconscious to the ground. He has fractured several vertebrae. Miwa cannot move anymore. He has become quadriplegic.
Madrid, June 28, 2010. 10.30am.
The Provincial Court of Madrid condemned Roberto to 10 years in prison for a crime injury aggravated by racial discrimination and treachery. Roberto denies any wrongdoing and refuses to apologize to the victim during the trial.
Miwa’s answer is: “I hope that my case will become a life lesson. It cannot happen again to other people. The law is above us.”
After the judgment, Miwa wanted to express his satisfaction: “I’m happy”, he said to the media. Miwa was accompanied by his wife and Esteban Ibarra, the president of the Movement against Intolerance, organization that fights hate crimes and supported Miwa since the beginning of the case.
Ibarra says that this statement has a “pedagogical value”: “The legal fight against intolerance is progressing and this court decision contributes to our knowledge, basic to continue our fight against intolerance”.
Since that moment, Miwa keeps smiling. “I do not hate my attacker. Even my family and my brothers don´t hate him. These three years have been an intense struggle. Roberto will continue his life in jail and I will do it in a wheelchair.” Now he feels hopeful to his future project and he wants to share with his family. He does not want his story forgotten, so he became an activist. He started doing lectures at universities. He considers that his experience can teach about what racism means and why is so important to fight hate crimes. He wants to take this opportunity to send a message to all racists to assure that all that awaits them is prison.
Victims of hate crimes are not just statistics, not just numbers …
They are people whose dignity and human rights have been denied and violated as well as collective and social groups to which they belong or with which they are related.
That’s why the commemoration of July 22nd is very important as European Day for the Victims of Hate Crimes. It becomes an expression of justice and solidarity with all those who suffered such attacks and that, at any time, can be anyone of us.
Miwa continues his struggle. Thousands of organizations do it as well. Will you join us?
Show your support and build solidarity with the victims.
We want a Europe without hatred.