Our initiative understands itself as a platform where Burak’s family and friends, anti-racist groups, political artists, activists from various collectives in Neukölln, people from the neighbourhood, youth workers, victim counsellors, and researchers into Neo-Nazis can come together at one table, to speak with each other, listen to each other and become active.
The starting point: 5th April 2012. Apparently an assassination in broad daylight, in the middle of Neukölln. A perpetrator who can can go around with a weapon and randomly choose a group of young people, where Burak, Jamal and Alex met with two more friends. Five shots, silence, no-one can understand why. We also have no explanation – but we have many questions. Above all we ask: was racism the motive again?
This murder in broad daylight is seen as a great threat, and not just by family, friends and neighbours. The murderer walks around freely and can carry a weapon. No-one knows what he will do next. Shock and helplessness spread. Questions as to how the police would react if the group did not consist of so-called “migrant youth”, Would a state of emergency have been immediately called? Would the media have called for stricter gun laws? And would the State have shown its toughness and visibility? We don’t know, but we can make assumptions.
Independently of the actual motivation of the unknown perpetrator, this attempted murder of a group of young people is a symbol. A few months after the NSU became public knowledge, the parallels are more than clear. Whether or not the murderer was an organised Neo-Nazi, a normal racist of a “troubled individual”, as the police like to tell everyone, the attempted murder has brought a broad insecurity onto the streets – above all among young people. Because the perpetrator is still free to walk around. And the police and the authorities are giving no information.
The starting point of our initiative was a self-reflexion of anti-fascist and anti-racist politics: after the exposure of the NSU murders, it has become obvious that strategies regarding solidarity and our relation to state authorities must change. This requires us to overcome the racist splits inside the Left and in the neighbourhood. After the NSU murders we have learned: all that is needed is that the majority remains silent and ignorant which the minority is threatened and attacked. This strategy cannot continue.
We live in Neukölln, a district in which Neo-Nazis have carried out many arson attacks against youth centres and homes of migrant families in recent years. Knowledge of the growing list of violence by Neo-Nazis, who do not shrink from murdering, the existence of the NSU and all the unanswered questions around it, creates a scenario in which we see that murder attempt on Burak and his friends as a threat to everyone who do not fit into the racist world-view of the Neo-Nazis. Whether it is the colour of our skin, our language, our sexuality, our friends, our politics or whatever.
Although we do not know who the perpetrator was, we fear that until we see contradictory evidence, this was a racist murder. In a social climate in Germany, which shows with alarming regularity that the NSU murders were just a professionalisation of racist murders, which are propagandistically staged and emulated. This is why we have formed this initiative. We will not be silent until the murder is explained!
It must also be said: building a joint platform is an exhausting and intensive task. There are reservations, and reducing them takes many discussions. We must set aside many assumptions and develop our interest in knowing each other. We must withstand the pressure from state authorities who for various reasons do not want to see such a platform, and build mutual trust. Every step forward we take together helps us know each other better.
There are different opinions of how and in which form Burak’s murder must be remembered – these must not contradict each other, but can develop into part of a joint strength, through communication and respect for each other – above all for the survivors. And the common question, which brings us together in raising a strong voice:
Who killed Burat?
We call for solidarity with Burak’s family and friends. Let us remember Burak together. We are not prepared to accept that Burat’s murder remains unexplained. We will not return to normal life, but remember this murder and demand its explanation. Today and in the future.
More information about the Initiative here.