Daboma Jack is a black Hungarian citizen, studying management in Malta. As others, he’s been queuing for hours at a bus kiosk, his wife and children with him. People felt tired of waiting and a person even fainted. So Daboma took a try and organised the queue, to make everything more efficient and the whole queue manageable. People were co-operating and the crowd was taking the shape of a straight line. But, at one point, a woman came to Daboma. She told him to stop and to shut it up, and, then, started insulting him. She was not even touched by the actions as she wasn’t in the same queue, but still madly intervened. “I looked at her saying, you don’t have the right. (…) She called me all kinds of names (…) and suddenly, she spat on my face. It came from the belly, the feeling…” The woman spat on Daboma a repeated number of times, and even though a policeman was present, he did not do anything. “She’s spitting on me, do something. He didn’t do anything, he said he’s doing his best.” The woman even slapped him in front of the policeman later on as he was complaining and asking for some kind of reaction. But he stayed passive on his phone; he was actually calling the RIU (cf. Rapid Intervention Unit). “The RIU came and I’m talking to them, ‘she slapped me, she slapped me’ and they just put me down the floor, immediately. I was very shocked.” Some people had told the police Daboma had started the whole argument. Our guy was pushed to the floor and manacled while the woman was making her get away. “I was trying to help, not just for me, but people who were on the line, all people”. Daboma tried to take the situation on a lightly tone, but the crowd’s reaction shocked him and touched him even more. “I was first laughing. But then I began to cry, when people were clapping about the situation, clapping that the police took me down, clapping and saying very good girl, very good Maltese girl. That’s why I began to cry. I felt some people were happy I was being arrested (…) I felt I had lost everything, my pride, my integrity, I’ve been humiliated, the only thing that was left at that point was my glasses.” At first, no one took the initiative to stop the RIU to tell them that the young man was the victim when the woman was the aggressor, not even the policeman who had called them in the first place, witness of the whole scene. “I could see that all the black people there were angry, they wanted to do something, but they were scared. I could see it in their eyes, fear and anger.” Mr. Jack doesn’t blame the RIU, since they just intervened straight away as they were asked to and were here to do their job, however they didn’t give him a reason of why they were arresting him and just immediately took him down. There was a colleague of them pointing at the man to arrest him. But the main problem here is the first policeman, not taking action in the first place and not clarifying to the RIU who was the aggressor and who was the victim.
The RIU was taking Daboma Jack to the station, and it is only then that a reporter came to the forces to tell them that Daboma was innocent and to let him go, which they finally did. What Daboma regrets even more is that his two small children were present when he got thrown on the floor and handcuffed for no reason; they witnessed the whole scene.
It is easy to guess that it was not the first time that Daboma was victim of acts of racism, and that these are the daily life of many minorities. “On a daily basis, I have felt a lot of racism and pressures towards me, but this was the height of it, the highest I’ve experienced.”
Daboma’s story has received great coverage, as he was not victim of one but two hate crimes, and as the authorities are concerned in the conservative country that is Malta. I will leave him the ending words, as he inspires me and I hope others too. “I have forgiven already, there’s no need for inanity, we are all humans, not just this. It doesn’t matter my background, as long as I’m human. (…) We have to make a change, change starts from you, it starts from me. It’s to act, we have to realise that we are all human beings. We are different, but difference makes it better. Difference is what we should try to embrace. (…) I want to call people to advocate and to fight for this. (…) I hope that my experience will shed light and not darkness.”
Interviewed by iNewsMalta