Posts Tagged ‘anti-racism’
The death a couple of weeks ago of Immanuel Marcel Landa, an elderly Congolese man, in Mosney, the 49th person to die in the direct provision system since 2000, focused my mind, yet again, on the invisible plight of Ireland’s asylum seekers. Ireland’s impetus to control asylum seekers rarely links the conflict zones which produce asylum seekers with their human consequences. Instead, the racial state demonises asylum seekers, stems their flow, often preventing them from landing to present their applications, all in order to regain control.
Asylum applications in Ireland have been going down ever since their peak in 2002 at 11,634; the number of applications received in 2011, 1,250, represented a 28% decrease on the corresponding figure of 1,939 in 2010. In 2012 (by June) only 458 asylum applications were made. The government seems delighted with the decrease in asylum applications. In 2010 Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern commended ‘the ongoing work within INIS, including the asylum agencies, to combat abuse while at the same time ensuring fairness and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of procedures in this area’. At 1.5% at first instance and 6% on appeal, Ireland is distinguished by the lowest acceptance rate in the EU, where the average is 27%. Read the rest of this entry »
I write this having learnt that taxi driver Moses Ayanwole, originally from Nigeria, and brutally attacked by a white passenger in Pearse street, has died of his injuries. I write this with rage not only at the senseless murder, but also at the refusal by politicians and the mainstream media to use the racism word to describe it. We heard nothing from the Minister of Justice or any other senior politician. And on RTE’s Morning Ireland the representative of the taxi federation spoke about the need to install CCTV cameras in taxis but not about the issues faced by black African taxi drivers, who experience daily racism from white colleagues and passengers alike. There was nothing about many taxi ranks carrying ‘Irish drivers only’ notices, or about passengers refusing to get into taxis with black drivers, not to speak of the litany of racial slurs and insults.
This murder puts further flames onto recent racist fires. In Naas we had mayor Darren Scully who made the decision to refuse representation to black Africans based on what he described as their “aggressive” attitude when making representations to him, but who insensitively argues that he ‘abhors racism in all its forms’, adding that he had many African friends (not realising this is one of the most common ‘I am not a racist’ but ploys). And in Athlone, a 16 year old black girl was raped by a group of white boys, including one white girl, in an attacked described by the Evening Herald a ‘race rape of girl (16)’ – at least they used the R word, but one wondered whether the reason is sensationalism or accurate reporting. Read the rest of this entry »
Paper presented at the ‘Better Questions’ seminar series in Seomra Spraoi, Dublin, Tuesday 19 January 2010
‘Only one world… Let foreigners teach us at least to become foreign to ourselves, to project ourselves sufficiently out of ourselves to no longer be captive to this long Western and white history that has come to an end, and from which nothing more can be expected than sterility and war. Against this catastrophic and nihilistic expectation of a security state, let us greet the foreignness of tomorrow’ (Alain Badiou, 2008: 70)
‘If the world cannot be changed, the (neo liberal) argument went, the left should concentrate on small-scale projects, moral concerns and the protection of vulnerable identities. Multiculturalism could replace radical change, membership of Amnesty that of political organisation’ (Costas Douzinas, The Guardian, 1 January 2010)
On 11 June 2004 the government of the Republic of Ireland put forward a referendum to amend article 9 of the Constitution to remove birth-right citizenship from children born in Ireland to an Irish citizen (or entitled to Irish citizenship). Birth right citizenship prevailed since the establishment of the Republic in 1922. The amendment did not include the children of the 1.8 million holders of Irish passports not born in Ireland who have one Irish grandparent and therefore entitled to Irish citizenship without having to set foot in Ireland. 79.8 per cent of the electorate voted in favour.
My argument is that the nation-state, theorised by David Theo Goldberg (2002) as a ‘racial state’, remains the focus of any analysis of racism, viewed by Foucault as ‘inscribed as the basic mechanism of power, as it is exercised in modern States’. Foucault argues that ‘the modern State can scarcely function without becoming involved with racism at some point’ (Foucault 2003: 254). Read the rest of this entry »
It is clear that the Irish government is panicking about finances. In the run to save money, the area of equality and anti-racism would be hit hardest. Many of the cuts make sense only if they are viewed as an attempt to save money while also axing independent organisations. Thus we saw the axing of Integrate Ireland Language and Training, spearheaded by the TCD Centre for Language and Communication Studies, teaching English to refugees since 1996. Even though the IILT itself was planning to mainstream its activities, the Department of Education closed it down without consultation. Thus we also hear that the NCCRI may be incorporated into the office of the Minister for Integration and, while I have been a critic of the NCCRI which, I believe, has passed its sell-by date, closing it down points to not taking the equality sector seriously.