19 March, 2014

Racism kills. Never forget!

1 Comment
Category: Discrimination, European Action Week, Racism
Gubaz Koberidze
7 pm

Photo 1 CC JPBy Julian Perdrigeat

21st March is the International Day for the elimination of racial discrimination. Since 1966, this day commemorates “Sharpeville” and we never forget that racism kills.

Sharpeville is a little town  in South Africa. It has nothing special but a memorial to remember the massacre of 21 March 1960 when 69 people were murdered by the police.

This was during Apartheid : South Africa was a colonized country, ruled by racialism (people were classified by races, defined by the color of their skins and their geographical origins) and racism (according to the “race” they were said to belong to, people had more or less rights : white people were at the top, coloured in the middle and black people at the bottom of the social and economic hierarchy).

They died because they wanted to be free from Apartheid. The people gathered in Sharpeville to follow the call of their leaders and burn their “dom-passes”, these internal documents used by the State to restrain Black people circulation’s right.Photo 3 CC JP

At this period, people from African origins in South Africa had no right to vote, no right to get a proper education, no right to travel, no rights ! They were made slaves in their own country of birth.

A thousand people finally gathered around Sharpeville’s police station to burn their passes. They were shouting, singing and dancing when the police shot them down. 69 died. Many other were injured. Some of them were shot in the back when running away.

Thabo is one of them and he will never forget. I met him in 2013, sitting at his front door, in Sharpeville, when I was looking for witnesses. He accepted to tell me his story, but in his house. When he stood up from his chair, I could see how difficult it was for him to walk through the gate.

–  “It’s still bleeding.

–  Sorry ?

–  The injure. They didn’t got the bullet out, cause it was near the spine, so after so many years, it’s still bleeding.”

When Thabo was telling me his story, it reminded me of the mass killing on Utøya island, near Oslo : 69 people died on 22nd July 2011, murdered by Anders Breivik, a far right extremist who spread his hatred on the Internet just before committing his crime.

From Sharpeville we should keep a lesson in mind : racism kills. And from Utøya an other one : Internet is a public space where hate speech should be fought because it leads to murder back in the real world. Never forget : take action with us.

Photo 5 CC JP

Photo 2 CC JP


1 Comment

  1. Ana

    We should never forget that racism kills people. The Shaperville massacre was absolutely terrible, but it hasn’t stopped. Racism is still in the Internet and in the streets. Let’s take action against it!!! We are all equal.


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