With a heavy heart, TAMA read the newspaper reports about what took place in Gozo last Sunday. A black man was beaten and thrown into the sea, in what seems to be a xenophobic and racially motivated attack. We can’t get into it further because we’re not in possession of all the facts, just what was reported in the newspapers. Which brings us down to the need for facts about what took place by means of an impartial police investigation. Justice is of course the word we are pointing at. Justice is indeed a big word and it is that which we need to unpack and demand.
This is not an isolated incident. More often than not, these incidents of harassment or attacks go unreported, unless the victim ends up dead. This Somali man was beaten and thrown into the sea, witnessed by groups of people, either celebrating or dreading the possible outcome.
“Foreigners” in Malta, particularly those who happen to be black or “different”, experience xenophobia and racism by the hour. It can be as little as trying to buy your daily pastizz, to being offered dangerous work, such as let’s say in the construction field, without any work contracts or any form of occupational health protection. Illegal of course but rampant. As a multicultural NGO with members of various nationalities who love Malta and believe that this Island has made major strides in matters of equality, TAMA expects to see equality and justice translated into tangible decisions and consequences, that go beyond a rainbow flag.
For instance, those who targeted this one Somali man and tried to kill him, should not be given a mere slap on the hand or a warning to not repeat the behavior. Justice must be served, and we call for adequate compensation to the Somali man who was indeed victimized and publicly humiliated. No matter the actions taken by the Somali man, if any, no one should take the law into their own hands with the risk of death to any party.
Anything else is simply colluding with the perpetrators. We need no more of that.
One basic principle we want to hang on to is that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. It is indeed difficult to have faith in such a statement unless justice is served rightfully and impartially, to avoid another incident such as that of Lassana Cisse Souleymane.