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Right-wing and racist Violence
Almost every week in the state of Brandenburg, people are attacked and humiliated by right-wing persons or racists. These attacks generally target certain groups of people. As an example, these include: people from countries of origin or other than Germany, but also the disabled, the homeless, Black and Minority Ethnic persons, Jews, homosexuals, transsexuals, political opponents of the far-right, and youths belonging to alternative subcultures.
Such attacks are intended to deliver a message: You’re not wanted here. You don’t belong here. You’re not one of us.
These acts of violence usually target people who belong to minority groups, and thus already suffer from discrimination. This discrimination is prevalent in mainstream society and is often reflected in rude remarks and condescending looks. But it is also evident in restrictive immigration policies, which include housing asylum seekers in “collective accommodation”, not allowing them to work and reducing their social benefits.
When the talk in the papers and the pubs is about the alleged threat immigration poses to internal security or the damaging effects the homeless and punks have on tourism, it’s little wonder that right-wing persons feel they are simply carrying out the will of the people.
For the victims, being violently assaulted is often just one of many demeaning and demoralizing experiences they endure. Far right or racist violence is usually not directed at the victims personally. They weren’t attacked because they acted in a certain way, but rather because they were seen as being part of a certain group. So the assault doesn’t just affect the individual involved. Those belonging to the same group as the victim know that the attack was directed at them as well. Often this causes widespread fear. In the worst case, the actual victims as well as potential ones withdraw themselves from public life and avoid public places like parks and train stations.
Far too often victims are left to fend for themselves. Instead of receiving support, they are met with scepticism, and the more or less latent accusation that they provoked the incident. Sometimes victims are even branded as perpetrators. Even close friends and family members try to pacify them by saying it wasn’t all that bad. Victims get the impression they’re not being taken seriously, making them feel degraded yet again.
For organized right-wing persons this is a convenient development. When passersby, social workers, parents and other citizens remain passive, look away and leave the victim on their own following an attack, this only increases the power of racists and neo-Nazis. Instead, we should openly be showing our solidarity with victims of right-wing violence, supporting them and strengthening their position.