In Solidarity and Remembrance
Justice for the Victims of Right Wing Anti-minority Violence, from Hanau to India
Statement by Berlin for India
We stand in solidarity with victims of the shooting which took place in Hanau on the 19th of February, 2020. Today marks six months since the attack,and grieving families and friends of the victims are still waiting for the German state to take decisive political actions against racism. What happened in Hanau was not an isolated incident. Right-wing terror and structural racism continue to be tolerated and accepted in Germany.
Tobias Rathjen, a 43-year-old white German national, entered two shisha bars in the city in the late evening, gunned down nine civilians and injured five others. The targeted bars had mostly been frequented by people of Turkish descent and those killed were from Kurdish, Sinti, Afghan, Turkish, Bosnian, Bulgarian and Romanian backgrounds. Four of them were German citizens. Ferhat, Fatih, Gökhan, Kaloyan, Mercedes, Vili, Nesar, Hamza, and Sedat: we continue to remember them.
The fact that Rathjen chose to attack bars frequented by People of Color (PoC) and with non-German backgrounds speaks volumes about the motivation behind these attacks. In the aftermath of the attacks, his personal website carrying his life story and ideology was removed. A 24-page statement which had been uploaded on the site not too long ago detailed at length his hatred towards ethnic minorities in Germany and the need to “completely annihilate” people of certain African, Asian, and Middle Eastern origins. This desire is also not an isolated one in the history of racism and its attendant practices of genocide, enslavement, super-exploitation, and segregation.
As People of Color with South Asian backgrounds living in Berlin, we acknowledge that the continuum of right-wing violence extends over our existence here. At the same time, we want to acknowledge the drastic increase in physical and institutional violence against minorities, especially Muslims, Dalits, “backward” classes, cisgender women, transgender women, and transgender men that has been a constitutive factor in the everyday governance and policymaking in India under the current political dispensation.
The most flagrant example of this has been India’s settler-colonial project in Kashmir, which has been accelerated following the abrogation of the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution exactly one year ago. Article 370 had represented the constitutional compact between the Indian state and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). This granted semi-autonomous status to the region until a referendum would be conducted in that region for self-determination as to whether J&K wanted to become an independent nation or integrate with India or Pakistan. This referendum never took place.
Instead, an indefinite lockdown was imposed on Kashmiris in August 2019, whereby thousands were arrested, hundreds reported torture, and this process continues as capital interests and fascist demographic policies seek to occupy the land, extract value, and subjugate Kashmir’s Muslim-majority population.
In addition, we have had to witness the endless lynchings and upper caste mob violence against Dalits; pro-active efforts to get rid of affirmative action for the so-called “other backward classes(OBCs) in education; passage of the regressive Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) bill and the passage of the CAA-NRC-NPR bills. The latter was followed by brutal state crackdown on dissent and the anti-Muslim pogrom in North East Delhi earlier this year.
As we agitate for the citizenship rights of India’s Muslim population and rights of other minorities in India, we cannot be blind to violent attacks on minorities in other parts of the world, especially in Germany. We show our strongest solidarity with the victims of the Hanau murders and their families as we acknowledge that anti-minority sentiment is the fulcrum of current right-wing ideologies globally.
We condemn in the strongest terms the complete impunity and complicity of national governments in normalizing such violence, dismissing and silencing the communities that face it, and covertly and overtly rewarding and supporting the perpetrators by stymying processes of justice and accountability.
We hope to keep up the struggles for accountability and justice for victims of racist and majoritarian violence anywhere it unfolds. We support migrant, (Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) self-organization and self-determination in Germany and beyond. We extend our support to the call for demonstration and for commemoration in Hanau on 22.08.20 by the Institute for Tolerance and Civil Courage – 19 February Hanau e.V. (Institut für Toleranz und Zivilcourage – 19. Februar Hanau e.V.) and the Initiative 19 February Hanau (Initiative 19. Februar Hanau).
Kein Vergessen Hanau!
This statement first appeared on the Berlin for India Website. Reproduced with permission