Réseau décolonial européen
A statement from Decoloniality Europe on colonial racism and its chauvinistic nationalism
Europe Repeats Itself! – The Gangrene of Colonial Racism
« A civilization that proves incapable of solving the problems it creates is a decadent civilization… A civilization that chooses to close its eyes to its most crucial problems is a stricken civilization… A civilization that uses its principles for trickery and deceit is a dying civilization. » Aimé Cesaire, Discourse on Colonialism (1950)
We want to alert all Europeans of a terrifying danger. The danger has a name: colonial racism and its chauvinistic nationalism. Its destructive force is something that is not new in European history.
Europe repeats itself! The memory of 1930s European colonial racism and its devastating consequences for Jewish, Roma, Ukrainian, Russian and European people at large is lost in historical amnesia for the new generations. The idea of « never again » that prevails regarding European genocides before and during World War II has been distorted and does not mean « never again against any human being. » Unfortunately, the meaning instead adopted by the West after the war is to understand « never again » as equivalent only to « never again against Jewish people. » This limited understanding of the lessons of World War II and its narrow nationalistic interpretation by Western powers and Zionists today is leading the West to commit and/or be complicit in new genocides once again. While we remember the horror of the ovens and gas chambers of the concentration camps, today there is a systematic and organized silence and forgetfulness about how the camps were modeled on Western racist colonial projects: 1) on German genocide against the Herero in Namibia in the early 20th century and 2) on the United States’ genocide against indigenous people in North America in the 19th century.
Colonialism is the hidden ghost behind the dead bodies. Colonial racism is the constitutive silent force behind Europe’s active involvement and collaboration in the extermination of Jews, Ukrainians, Roma people and other human beings before and during World War II. Let´s be clear, the genocides of that period were the manifestation of colonial racism across Europe and not limited to Germany. Colonial racism is the truth nobody wants to hear when talking about Western genocides. The genocides of World War II were the products of racial colonialism coming back to haunt Europe as a boomerang effect of territorial colonial control and expansion. As Hannah Arendt and Aime Cesaire said after the war, Nazi Germany genocides were a continuation and extension of European imperialist/colonial/racist practices abroad that were a norm in European colonial territories and were brought back to people at home. Nazism is not an anomaly of modernity. It is a result of colonial modernity. After centuries of colonial racist atrocities abroad, one day French, Belgium, Dutch and other European populations woke up with a European leader telling them that the German Aryan nation is the superior race and the rest were all inferior races. This is exactly the same institutional racist discourse used by all European empires in their colonies. Colonial racism came back home to haunt Europeans who were complicit in imperialist colonial/racist aggression against Indigenous, Black, Asian, Arab and aboriginal people in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Aime Cesaire eloquently elucidated European people’s complicity with colonialism and Nazism more than 60 years ago: « And then one fine day the bourgeoisie is awakened by a terrific reverse shock: the gestapos are busy, the prisons fill up, the torturers around the racks invent, refine, discuss…. People are surprised, they become indignant. And they wait, and they hope; and they hide the truth from themselves, that it is barbarism, but the supreme barbarism, the crowning barbarism that sums up all the daily barbarisms; that it is Nazism, yes, but that before they were its victims, they were its accomplices; that they tolerated that Nazism before it was inflicted on them, that they absolved it, shut their eyes to it, legitimized it, because, until then, it had been applied only to non-European peoples… » Nazism and its racist genocidal policies have its roots in colonialism and white supremacy. If Nazism is racial colonialism applied to Europeans, then Nazism existed several centuries before Hitler was born. The lessons to be derived from this observation about the relationship between racism, genocide and colonialism are very clear. Never again against any human being! Destroy the white imperialist racist system!
But Europe repeats itself! Satirical images made in the 1920s and 1930s to dehumanize Jews, Roma people, or non/Western colonial subjects, are today normalized when directed towards Muslims and Black people without any questioning of the devastating consequences they had in the past and could have in the near future. The racist exclusion of people considered inferior from European identity and citizenship is being repeated once again. ¨Freedom of Speech¨ is made equivalent to « Freedom to be Racist¨, « Freedom of Hate Speech » and « Freedom to Humiliate » those seen as « inferior » others. « Je suis Charlie » in the mouth of White European elites today is silently becoming a justification for « Je suis Racist ». Today the new figure of the enemy and inferior subject is the Muslim living next door and/or living in Muslim majority countries. Islamophobia has replaced anti-Semitism as the dominant modality of European racism. However, the continuities between old anti-Semitism and the new Islamophobia are quite strong.
Europe repeats itself! Injustice is the order of the day. Similar to colonial times and World War II, we see once again the repetition of criminal behavior from White European political and economic elites. We see White Western leaders’ active participation and/or complicity with: 1} crimes against humanity; 2} overt exercise of brutal force and torture toward colonial bodies; 3} illegal wars and interventions (encouraging violent Al-Qaeda and ISIS type terrorism) against enemy states to achieve regime change as in Libya, Syria, Central African Republic and Iraq, or to justify direct military intervention as in Afghanistan, Iraq and Mali; 4} the massive killing of millions of human beings from the non-Western world in the name of a « War on Terror », or rather a « War on Muslims » or the « State Terrorist Wars »; 5} complicity with Zionist massacres against Palestinians in the name of « never again against Jews’ as if Palestinian resistance could ever be equivalent to Nazism; 6} complicity with oil monarchies such as Saudi Arabia with their Wahhabi ideology as a version of colonialism, which is the inspiration for the violent extremist movements; 7} the invention of the new internal enemy after the end of the Cold War, that is, the Muslim citizen next door; 8} the Western use of extremist attacks for the justification and instrumentalization of an extreme right agenda to take away citizenship rights at home and continue criminal military neocolonial expeditions abroad for the control of oil, gold, uranium or gas.
Millions of Europeans died as a consequence of the destructive force of racism during World War II. Colonial racism is a gangrene that ends up eating its own children. We should remember the words of prominent German Protestant pastor, Martin Niemöller when he said: « First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Socialist.Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. » The elimination of citizenship rights at home and the waste of resources in military expeditions abroad is not done by Muslims, but by White European elites themselves. We are moving towards the formation of a pólice state in Western Europe today. Islamophobia, as a form of state racism, is the mechanism used to produce these imperialist policies and achieve passive consent from the European people towards such destructive politics. But the majority of European citizens are working class people and get severely affected by these imperialist policies. Ordinary people do not usually benefit from war or from the elimination of citizens’ rights. But white supremacy gives privilege to the White working class over colonial subjects! The Islamophobic racism of White working classes, due to their particular interest as a labor aristocracy in the imperialist system, align them with their own Western imperial nation-states and blinds them to the extent of consent with destructive policies put forward by White imperial elites. This is why a White leftist politics is not enough to decolonize Europe!
Europe repeats itself! Western hypocrisy and racist double standards in domestic and foreign policy is the order of the day. Today Europeans can feel free to issue any racist slander about Muslims (including European Muslims) that was said in the past about Jews with impunity, legitimacy and no shame. The double standard is evident when the same racist discourses and hate speech used towards Muslims are forbidden when directed at Jews today. Islamophobia as a form of state racism produces policies and discourses against Muslims not allowed against Jews. Islamophobia is the last « respectable » racism! It is the new racist common sense shared by the broad spectrum of the « White political field » from the extreme White Left to the extreme Right passing through center left, center right and other political positions. Islamophobia, as a « respectable » form of racism, allows them to say anything that insults and dehumanizes Muslims without constraint and under the cover of so-called « progressive » causes (women’s rights, gay/lesbian rights, freedom of speech, etc.). Muslim children at schools are today the target of state racist Islamophobia with the « Prevent » program in Britain and the « Je suis Charlie » slogan imposed as an obligation to be repeated by French students at school. Children of less than 10 years old are being taken from schools to police stations suspected of making apologies for terrorism.
Europe repeats itself! The January 11, 2015 anti-terrorist march in Paris led by well-known war criminals and state terrorists turned the display into a parade for Western imperialism. The march became a fantastic demonstration of Western hypocrisy: an anti-terrorist march led by state terrorist elites! The same Western hypocrisy that seduces a minority of European youth (both White converts and non-White Muslims) to become enchanted with terrorist discourse was enacted and performed with perfection that day. The same Western hypocrisy and double standard that produces racial humiliation at home and chaos abroad was performed in the pro-imperialist parade. Yet on the same day of the Charlie-Hebdo killings, a car bombing killed 40 people in Sanaa (Yemen’s capital); five days later Boko Haram killed around 2000 people in the Nigerian town of Baga; three weeks before a Taliban group had killed 145 children in Pakistan (December 17, 2014); six months before over 2000 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza (July 2014), and the long list includes Israel’s assassinations of 17 journalists in one month and the countless brutal murders of and violence against those living in so-called ISIS held territories. However, Western elites did not organize any marches then, nor did they say « Je suis a Palestinian », « Je suis a journalist killed by Israel », « Je suis a Pakistan child » or « Je suis a Nigerian from Baga ». The reaction of Western states was silence, indifference and apathy. No marches organized, no noise, no scandal. This is the double standard that creates resentment and humiliation. The 17 dead bodies in Paris are seen as more important than thousands of deaths in the rest of the world. Over two million people have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq in the last decade, but this creates no indignation and no scandal in the West. Silence is the norm of the day, but nobody can continue hiding the racist logic: One European or Euro-American life has more value than the lives of millions of people who are dehumanized in the zone of non-being as inferior subjects. This double standard is unsustainable in the long run.
Whereas in the recent past Western imperialist allies (USA, France, Belgium, UK, The Netherlands, etc.) fought the German/Japanese axis and later the Soviet Union, today it is the Western/Zionist/Saudi imperialist bloc destroying governments, killing people, invading countries militarily, sending violent extremists, and organizing coup-d’etats everywhere under the leadership of and with blessings from the West. There is a division of labor between the three components of the Imperialist bloc: the Saudis provide the version of Wahhabi ideology that inspires takfirism (a dogmatically intolerant and exclusivist ideology) , violent militants and financial resources; the Zionists provide secret intelligence and weapons; the West (Western Europe, Japan and the USA) led by the Americans gives the orders, authorization and blessings to the operations, along with providing weapons and funds. The military coup-d’etat in Egypt, invasion of Bahrain, destruction of the Ghaddafi regime in Libya, Syrian civil war, mass killing of people with drones in Yemen and Pakistan, the invasion of Afghanistan, massacres in Palestine and the Iraqi quagmire are among their most recent operations. Let’s remember there were notakfiri movements anywhere in the world before the USA/Saudi organized global Al-Qaeda terrorist network to fight the Evil Empire (Soviet Union) in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and there were no takfiris in Syria or Iraq before the 2003 USA/British/Spanish invasion of Iraq. We cannot continue to talk about Wahhabi takfiri movements as if they are exterior to the West. They are a creation of the imperialist bloc. The Western/Zionist/Saudi imperialist bloc works together in all of these different operations with the global goal of keeping both power and capitalist resources on their side.
Europe repeats itself! To avoid the repetition of history we need to tackle the Western/Zionist/Saudi imperialist bloc with the following demands:
1-Stop foreign military interventions and genocide abroad! This requires a radical change in European foreign policy, away from the criminal Western/Zionist/Saudi imperialist military interventions in Africa/Middle East/Asia today and away from the Zionist destructive colonization of Palestine.
2-Fight racist and hate speeches! It is crucial to criminalize hate speech and racist slanders against any group without discrimination. It cannot be that bigotry and hate speech are forbidden when their target is Jews, yet permitted when the target is Muslims.
3-Promote radical reform in the European educational system where the history and philosophy of European imperialism, colonialism, slavery and genocide are critically addressed and taught in schools. We need a break with current apologetic discourses about colonialism and imperialism that is currently transmitted every single day in European schools.
4-Stop supporting Saudi Arabia, the main source of extremist terrorist networks in the world today, and call for democracy for the Saudi people against the Saudi-Wahhabi dictatorial monarchy! The West publicly attacks takfiri extremists, while they sit everyday to have coffee with their boss. The problem needs to be tackled at root. The Saudi Wahhabi monarchy is at the root of global takfiri Al-Qaeda and ISIS type terrorist networks today, but the West is not willing to confront them. The West is in bed with the Saudis for financial and military reasons. The West uses terrorists when convenient as it is doing currently to achieve regime change in Syria. Western hypocrisy of rhetorically being against the terrorists, while promoting a strong alliance with their breeders needs to be stopped.
5-Stop supporting to the dictatorial colonial Zionist state and demand a transformation towards a democratic one state solution with equal rights for all. The two-state solution in Palestine has been destroyed by the Zionist war of aggression and colonial expansion to new territories, making an independent and sovereign Palestinian state impossible. The Western double standard legitimating Zionist state massacres against Palestinians, Lebanese and, more recently, Syrians, while calling the resistance movements « terrorist, » is unacceptable.
6-Stop the austerity measures to manage the financial crisis! Make the rich pay for the crisis. The more the White European political and financial elites squeeze its own working classes with neoliberal criminal austerity measures, the more the extreme right agendas and rhetoric strengthens among European people.
7-Promote a broad campaign to approve strict policies that criminalize racism through training and education in schools, media, public administration, etc. Racism has to be criminalized in a strong way if we want to tackle the issue once and for all.
Europe is in a rapid economic, political and cultural decline relative to other emergent regional economies around the world. Europeans are not the center of the world-economy anymore. This has caused an identity crisis. Similar to the 1930s Great Depression, this identity crisis leads White European elites to look for scapegoats to blame for theireconomic woes. Instead of people fighting against imperialism and financial capitalism, racism channels the interests, struggles and discontent of White working classes towards fighting against the most disempowered. If in the 1930s the scapegoat was European Jews, today it is Muslims (European Muslims at home and non-European Muslims abroad). A « clash of civilizations » has replaced the Cold War imperial clash between the so-called « free world » and the « communist bloc. »
Europe needs to be decolonized to save itself from the destructive forces that imperialism, white supremacy and colonial racism generates. We are warning that the conditions of possibility for a new European genocide are here once again. It will not happen in the same way, it will not have the same victims and it will not repeat the same methods as during World War II. It will arrive with new methods, new victims and new rhetorical devices with the mass approval of people who think of themselves as « progressive » and « civilized. » But there is continuity between the old and the new methods: the cancer of colonial state racist blind irrationality. We need a new civilization beyond the Western civilization of death! Let’s struggle for a decolonial anti-imperialist Europe to impede Europe from repeating itself!
REPORTAGE SUR LE COLONIALISME FRANCAIS EN ALGERIE AVEC l’INTERVENTION DE BRUNO ETIENNE