What makes us hate each other? Is there a way out and who is working on it?
Like opening Pandora’s box, Brexit has revealed the conflicts that were hidden under a layer of peace in our society. There were 3076 hate crime incidents recorded across the country between 16 to 30 June. On 25 June alone, there were 289 incidents reported. It seems that we began to hate each other. Immigration threats, Islamophobia, anti-semitism, homophobic attacks, and racism are all emerging as “stains on our society.”
In Cardiff, a refugee family’s front door was defaced with “Muslims are scum”. The family, a couple with four young children, are from Egypt. The father, who said “We are very scared. My children are frightened of going outside. Our house is like a prison,” has been publicly called “raghead” near their home in Llanedeyrn. “They threw knives on to our lawn- one big knife and one medium-sized one. The children have been abused at school and on the street. According to the father, the attacks started since the Brexit vote.
“I don’t see how this country can heal itself. The UK is my home yet I feel alienated.” Shazi Awan, who is a Welsh businesswomen, is also being racially abused on Twitter. Facing the hatred that is soaring in our society, is there any way out and who is working on it?
Rabab: We are trying to get art to heal hatred.
“Apparently artists are meant to be able to reiterate and transform, and bring a lot of these benefits to this society, and enable people to feel more cohesive. Maybe artists can’t solve poverty, deprivation, and these deeply seated issues, but we are trying to get art to do that. We are trying to get people in communities involved in our projects. For myself, during the past 20 years I’ve been working in the cultural arena, I believe that creativity and culture are really powerful means to create spaces, bridges, and interventions within the open spaces of public ground to ask questions about how should we live, how might we do things differently, and how do we solve problems.”
“I don’t think Brexit created race related hate crime, it did exist before that. Brexit almost gave people a kind of license to express those words openly. I do believe that poverty is one of the rooted reasons. It increases community domestic violence, family tensions, and it brutalizes and demoralizes people. If poverty is not removed as a fundamental part in our society, there’ll be harder intolerances to play out. Those intolerances are magnified hugely because when people feel disempowered in their own lives, they will tend to find something or someone to blame”
“However, I don’t think it’s financial deficit that causes such poverty. What we truly lack is compassion. It’s not about politics, but about values. If you try to think, since the crash happened, millions of people have lost their homes and jobs, but the rich have become richer, that’s very strange. There is something fundamentally wrong there. Yes, there are lots of things that can be done about politics, like campaigns, but I believe human beings have to have an inner revolution, which I would like to call it human revolution. It should be related to our values, sense of connection to another person. I would say the dignity of life is the most important value. For me, that means every single person has an equal opportunity to fulfill their potential.”
Rabab Ghazoul: http://www.rababghazoul.com/
Gareth and Eddy: Underneath hate crime, we lack of awareness
Eddy: “For the cases of hate crime that we’ve dealt with last year, I would say about 60% is race related hate crime. From my observations, I believe that the main reason that elicits the hate crimes is lack of awareness, tolerance, and appreciation of other people’s cultures. When people don’t know about others, it’s very easy to make judgments, to imagine, generalize, even stereotype, or to distort a narrative about others.”
“Our team started an Interfaith Forum, which covers Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. The forum brings the faith communities together, to learn about other religions/faiths besides their own.”
Gareth: “As you probably know, 50% of the hate crime victims never report, because some of them are not aware that they are the victims of hate crime as what might be illegal in the UK might not necessarily be illegal in their home countries. They don’t want to bother the police, and they want to keep it private, because of the shame of being victims. Besides that, some victims who don’t report have issues with police. The relationships between people and police in some communities are very poor. They don’t trust the police, and they don’t think the police will take their cases seriously and investigate properly, usually they had a bad connection with police previously.”
“That’s exactly what we are working on. We work in the communities to actually get people to understand that they are the victims of hate crime. To actually give them reassurance, give them trust and confidence to report the crime. We’ll actually hand hold them all the way through the process. So if the police fail to the things, we’ll then chase the police and ask them to do the things”
— Race Equality First (@REFCardiffVG) December 5, 2016
“We also lead a Radio Cardiff program, which is a community based show. The show gives opportunities for people of different races, from different community groups, to come in to talk about their stories, which are always linked to the projects of Hate Crime, Discrimination, Interfaith Network, LGBT Forums they are working on.”
“What we are trying to do is make equality real.”
Race Equality First is an independent charity working in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan to promote race equality.http://www.refweb.org.uk/
Martin: Education is the way of creating a fair and peaceful society.
“Hate crime is a real worry. Clearly, the rise of hate crime is something that seems to be statistically significant, and some of the rhetoric around Brexit has contributed to that and made it more difficult for people who are immigrants, asylum seekers, or refugees. Education may play an important role on dealing with the issue, which is also what we are doing, educating and developing people’s skills and capacities of engaging in global issues. We believe the more people engage in discussing the global issues, such as human rights, peace, even climate change, the more likely people will come to reasonable positions to be able to be an international citizen.”
“We have been insisting on addressing the importance of global education, as part of the new national curriculum in Wales, to the Welsh Government.We need to insure that people are educated to think about racial religious diversity, that’s not just words. Schools need to actually be supported and encouraged to do that. Cardiff is actually a multiethnic city, but much of Wales isn’t, and some places are still much more homogeneous. Everybody needs that opportunity, regardless of what they see in their hometown, to think about the difference in culture.”
“Sometimes things reported by media cause tension between members of different communities. It’s the way things get reported, for example, issues around how refugees are treated in the media, with some absolutely shocking images. The way we’ve seen some papers in this country link refugees to Islamic states, very little evidence. Once you make that connection in people’s mind, that connection may be always there. I think media has a great responsibility to represent issues in a fair and reasonable way, even if they’ve got an opinion on issues.”
“Challenging negative media stories and working on the ways that people can have a more effective and more positive conversation about global issues is also what we would like to do in the future.”
“To develop a link that connects people to a global and responsible Wales, there is still a lot of work to do.”
Welsh Centre for International Affairs. WCIA’s vision is that everyone in Wales contributes to creating a fair and peaceful world. To achieve this, our mission is to inspire learning and action on global issues. http://www.wcia.org.uk/