Racism Rears Its Ugly Head

Recession has been haunting the world again, and just as in the past, the weak elements of our society are freaking out and throwing the blame on those they fear or can't understand.

A few minutes browsing the internet brought news of the latest displays of racism, hatred and pettiness from those who obstinate in thinking themselves better than others, entitled to hurl their discontent at them.

Here is some of these news:

Romanians fleeing racism seek sanctuary in Belfast church hall - Western Europe has become a dangerzone for immigrants, and last Tuesday several Romanian families, with small children, had to take refuge in a church to escape the attackers... It seems they are also neo-nazis, which comes as no surprise, as this is just the sort of thing they've always done. Their distorted notion of self-importance is pathetic... May the authorities really do something about it, as they've promised.

Above the negative part of the news, one detail that stands out is the stance of the Irish who had the decency of helping those families. One of them declared: "It is a sad indictment of our society, but hopefully we can show them a different side to Northern Ireland and a caring side to Northern Ireland."

At Tomasky talk: Race and Republicans, Guardian's American Editor, Michael Tomasky talks about the Republicans and their biased jokes on African-Americans in the background, while under the spotlight, they try to look convincing as open-minded people who want to "reach out to people of color" in the US. *sigh* How long will we have to stand this kind of thing?

Tomasky comments: "to reach out to people of color, you actually have to meet some first, and if you meet some, you'll learn that these things actually aren't that funny." Is it really so hard to imagine what is like to be in someone else's shoes, and learn to respect and accept differences? Some people seem to think so...

Then, on not-so-new news, we have the following links, telling of similar racist and social attacks on the other side of the planet:

Curry Bashings - Attacks against Indian students in Australia.

The article reports that: "According to A.F.P., there have been 70 attacks against Indian students in Melbourne in the last year alone – in addition to attacks in Sydney – prompting Indian students to hold demonstrations against the violence."

Eta - A pejorative term, from Japan’s feudal era, used to refer to burakumin – the country’s “untouchable” class.

Thanks to Google Maps, the regions that had been inhabited with such "untouchables" (those who did jobs associated with death, such as working with leather, butchering animals and digging graves) can be found in an old map that has been made available, which has called worldwide attention to a shameful kind of social discrimination.

According to the article, "Japan’s caste system was abolished almost 150 years ago but... human rights advocates claim that descendants of Japan’s burakumin – some 3 million people – still suffer prejudice. It is not uncommon for potential employers, or parents-in-law, to hire agencies to check for buraku ancestry."

Well, if you think that there's war only in the Near East and Africa, think again. I didn't mean the violence that plagues the streets of our cities, but the war that's being fought in our schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, homes and inside ourselves.

With all this darkness around and inside us, what should we do about it? Hide? Kill ourselves? Perhaps shrug and ignore it all like so many sheep? Go out in the streets and preach at the top of our lungs?

Nothing of that changes anything, but if we start by realizing the misconceptions we nourish on our minds, and question them, look into things to see what they actually are, then we may change something. Then we may be ready to start spreading better ideas, instead of age-old mistakes, and hope, instead of despair.

JRR Tolkien, genius that he was, left some inspiring quotes, and among them, there's this one that is part of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, which in Cate Blanchet's voice sounds quite impressive:

"Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."

*yes, that means you too!*

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