On the streets of Athens, racist attacks on rise and growing more violent

ELENA BECATOROS  Associated Press
November 12, 2012 – 4:28 am EST

In this Oct. 25, 2012, photo, Agri, a Kurd from Syria who gave only his first name, said he fled his country due to fighting a few months ago and describes in Athens how he was attacked as he walked home one recent night. Human rights and immigrant groups say there has been an increase in racist attacks in Greece over the last year, as the country struggles through a protracted financial crisis. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS, Greece — The attack came seemingly out of nowhere. As the 28-year-old Bangladeshi man dug around trash bins one recent afternoon for scrap metal, two women and a man set upon him with a knife. He screamed as he fell. Rushed to the hospital, he was treated for a gash to the back of his thigh.

Police are investigating the assault as yet another in a rising wave of extreme-right rage against foreigners as Greece sinks further into economic misery. The details vary, but the cold brutality of each attack is the same: Dark-skinned migrants confronted by thugs, attacked with knives and broken bottles, wooden bats and iron rods.

Rights groups warn of an explosion in racist violence over the past year, with a notable surge since national elections in May and June that saw dramatic gains by the far-right Golden Dawn party. The severity of the attacks has increased too, they say. What started as simple fist beatings has now escalated to assaults with metal bars, bats and knives. Another new element: ferocious dogs used to terrorize the victims.

“Violence is getting wilder and wilder and we still have the same pattern of attacks … committed by groups of people in quite an organized way,” said Kostis Papaioannou, former head of the Greek National Commission for Human Rights.

As Greece’s financial crisis drags on for a third year, living standards for the average Greek have plummeted. A quarter of the labor force is out of work, with more than 50 percent of young people unemployed. An increasing number of Greeks can’t afford basic necessities and healthcare. Robberies and burglaries are never out of the news for long. Continue reading

Israel: Racist attacks on African migrants in the exclusivist, undemocratic state of Israel

Israelis protest against African migrant workers in south Tel Aviv, May 23, 2012. Photo by Moti Milrod

African migrants meet angry backlash in Israel

By EDMUND SANDERS
Los Angeles Times
Published: Monday, May. 28, 2012

TEL AVIV — The first Molotov cocktail ignited a backyard fence, just a couple of feet from where three Eritrean refugees were sleeping outdoors on makeshift beds of wood planks atop old TVs. One man burned his arm trying to extinguish the flames with a blanket.

Moments later, a second firebomb was tossed through an open air vent into the adjacent apartment, where another family of African asylum-seekers was sleeping. It exploded in the shower without causing injury.

The post-midnight attacks last month by unknown assailants continued across Tel Aviv’s dilapidated Shapira neighborhood, striking another refugee house and a kindergarten catering to African children.

Israelis protesting in south Tel Aviv against anti-foreigner violence on Thursday. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum

“We’re just looking for some peace in our life,” said Berhun Gergrehra, 60, a former Eritrean soldier who fled poverty and repression there two years ago, arriving in Israel after walking through Sudan and Egypt with his teenage son and daughter. “But everyone here just hates us. Why?”

Israel is a nation founded by refugees, mostly Jews escaping persecution in Europe and the Middle East. It grew and prospered thanks to additional immigration from Russia, Ethiopia and other nations.

But now Israel’s identity as a refuge is being challenged by an influx of tens of thousands of Africans, who also see the country as a haven from oppression in their native lands. Since 2006, more than 60,000 Africans – mostly from Eritrea and Sudan, including the latter’s Darfur region – have poured over the border from Egypt’s Sinai desert, taking advantage of Israel’s proximity as one of the nearest modern democracies accessible to African refugees.

But unlike past waves of Jewish immigrants, the flood of Africans is triggering an ugly and sometimes violent backlash in Israel. Refugee activists say some government leaders are fostering the intolerance and anger toward Africans, who are accused of committing crimes, stealing jobs from Israelis and potentially undermining the Jewish character of the country. Continue reading

Resistance in Tucson, Arizona: “No History Is Illegal! A Campaign to Save Our Stories”

by Teacher Activist Groups, Tucson

They say shut it down. We say spread it around!

As a network of Teacher Activist Groups (TAG), we believe that education is essential to the preservation of civil and human rights and is a tool for human liberation. In alignment with these beliefs, TAG is proud to coordinate No History is Illegal, a month of solidarity work in support of Tucson’s Mexican American Studies (MAS) Program. In January, 2011, state attorney general Tom Horne declared the Tucson Unified School District MAS program illegal. Over the past year, teachers, students and administrators have come together to challenge Horne’s ruling, but on January 10, 2012, the TUSD school board voted 4-1 to cease all MAS classes immediately for fear of losing state aid.

In the month of February we invite you to strike back against this attack on our history by teaching lessons from and about the banned MAS program. On this website you will find a guide that includes sample lesson plans from the MAS curriculum as well as creative ideas and resources for exploring this issue with students. Whatever happens in Arizona, we can keep the ideas and values of MAS alive by teaching about them in our classrooms, our community centers, our houses of worship, our homes.

February 1 is the first day on which TUSD must comply with this law. It is also the first day of African American History Month. And as Dr. King warned us, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” What is happening in Arizona is not only a threat to Mexican American Studies, it is a threat to our right to teach the experiences of all people of color, LGBT people, poor and working people, the undocumented, people with disabilities and all those who are least powerful in this country.

Our history is not illegal. Please join us by pledging to teach MAS.

Go to http://www.teacheractivistgroups.org/tucson/    to:

  • Pledge your support
  • Tell your story
  • Download the curriculum (PDF)

Race War in Arizona in 1914

By  Rodolfo F. Acuña

On August 20, 1914 the Los Angeles Times ran an article titled “Race War in Arizona; Death List Is Sixteen” at Ray, Arizona. Two days later Regeneración echoed the Times, “Guerra de razas en Arizona.” The Times reported that four white men and twelve Mexicans were killed in a bloody riot precipitated by a posse hunting “horse thieves,” a euphemism for Mexicans. According to the Times,

Infuriated at the news of the death posse members, white residents of Ray invaded the Mexican section of town, driving the terror-stricken men, women and children of the section from their homes.

One American and seven Mexicans were killed when a number of the Mexican residents resisted the attack upon their homes. The others fled to the hills.

Reports said that many Americans were searching the hills near Ray tonight; bent upon killing every Mexican they meet. Continue reading