Parallels of Racist Talk 13

On 4 November, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera quoted Gianfranco Fini, a prominent figure in the National Alliance party. There would be nothing unusual in the fact, if it were not for the content of Mr Fini's statements. Three days after the arrest of a Romani man accused of murdering an Italian woman, Mr Fini made a point of stating that a) 'They (the Roma) consider theft almost legitimate and not immoral'; b) They feel the same way about not working 'because it has to be (their) women who do so, often by prostituting themselves.' Mr Fini further made some points concerning child exploitation being a thing about which the Roma have 'no scruples', using the children for begging. He then concluded his statements by the remark that 'To talk of integration with people with a 'culture' of that sort is pointless.'

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Somehow, this sounds familiar. Racist excuses concerning the impossibility of integrating 'them' because of their 'perverse culture' are a staple of anti-integration rhetoric in many societies. When it comes to providing justificiation why 'they' could not and should not be part of 'us', racist thinking comes into its own.

Take Mr. Lācis, one of the most fiery rhetoricians of the Latvian Parliament. What exactly did he imply when stating that 'Unfortunately the vast majority of Latvia's Russians, especially the Russian youth, are the same as the Russian-speakers of Tallinn. Exactly they were those 6 thousand that demonstrated under the banners of Stalin' ? Did he mean that the people who took part in the unrest following the removal of the Bronze Soldier in Tallinn were imported wholesale from Riga or Daugavpils? Or - which is much more probable - did he imply that if some ethnic Russians (in Estonia) are capable of smashing shop windows in a political brawl, that implies that a 'vast majority' of people with similar ethnic origins would gladly do the same? In the latter case, I'm afraid, we are dealing with blatant racism.

By the way, Mr Fini is unlikely to get away easily with his remarks. European Roma Rights Center has turned to a number of institutions, including the Prosecutor General of Rome, to investigate his statements. Protests were heard from human rights organisations. It may happen that in the future we shall see Corriere della Sera apologise for publishing Mr Fini's remarks without any comments as to their racist nature.

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Komentāri (13) secība: augoša / dilstoša

Tmp author bdd174d29c18893f8040d1ca0cd30c40b76ac587432bcc3f16557adc2b366733
rush blaire

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Tmp author bdd174d29c18893f8040d1ca0cd30c40b76ac587432bcc3f16557adc2b366733
rush blaire

I totally agree. Racist excuses concerning the impossibility of integrating 'them' because of their 'perverse culture' are a staple of anti-integration rhetoric in many societies. It was informative to read. Thanks for sharing. <a href="http://www.datanetpacific.com">hawaii tech support</a>

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Pankūkas - Pētersonei! 15.11.2007 11:03
It seems to me again that DaceA is mean, - suggesting Mr. Lacis be ostracized for his statements questioning political loyalties (justifyably) of 'vast majority' (arguably) of Russians in Latvia. Mr. Lacis - who made a point to exclude any references to criminal behaviour of some of the Tallinn 'protesters' from his speech. Mr. Lacis - who provided at least some idea where did he get some of his info from, namely, The Economist.

Whereas Ms. Golubeva, who contrived implication impossible if one reads more than one and a half sentences of Mr. Lacis speech - that he may have suggested 'vast majority' of Russians 'are capable of smashing šop windows in a political brawl', - ought to be praised for 'standing up to racism', I suppose :) Ms. Golubeva, who reduced the speech to one and a half sentences, stripping away information that goes against implication she went out to find. Ms. Golubeva, who provided nothing in the way of source from which she was lifting (and translating) the quote.

Right. Lacis engaging in political speech as well as unspecified number of people thinking (like Pankūkas) - that's what is blameworthy here. :)

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DaceA 14.11.2007 20:30
It seems that it's because of the number of people thinking like Pankūkas that Lācis can get away with his statements...

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Pankūkas - Pētersonei! 14.11.2007 12:15
*shrugs* Yes, maybe - but "many social scientists" isn't convincing in the least, and so are UN documents, seeing how stalwarts of human rights like Angola, Egypt, Madagacar, Qatar and Belarus are going to replace Algeria, Morocco and Bahrain on the UN's Human Rights Council. Or seeing how the only thing notable about 'controversial depictions' in 'Danish cartoons' of one Prophet of one religion found by 'United Nations expert on racism' is, apparently, lamentable 'political context in Denmark' (http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=17718&Cr=racis&... ).

'Racism' has been made into standing 'argument' and smear by those trying to avoid or curtail discussion of immigration, asylum, language policies and the like. Adding questioning of something that is a fair game - political loyalties, culture in general or religious beliefs - to the concept of 'racism' will not change much here. There are people willing to brave 'racist' insults, and their numbers will only grow, I think.

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Maria 14.11.2007 10:40
For your information, Pankūkas, according to the definitions of racist speech accepted by many social scientists and some UN documents, referring to persons'ethnic origins with pejorative connotations (implying that something is wrong with most people who have such ethnic origins) is the same as referring to persons' race with the same connotations.

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Pankūkas - Pētersonei! 13.11.2007 15:48
All right, I think I know what Mr. Lacis was referring to or taking some of his info from) - this article in The Economist ( http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=9122766 ):

"After the Estonian authorities sealed off the monument last weekend, hundreds of people, mostly from the 300,000-strong ethnic Russian population, rioted in Tallinn. They attacked the main theatre and the Academy of Arts, chanting “Fuck Estonia”, and “Russia, Russia”. Secondary-school pupils unfurled a banner outside parliament reading “USSR forever”. The supposed aim was to protect the war memorial—a bronze “liberator” that Estonians see as a symbol of their country's decades-long enslavement by the Soviet Union. But the main activity was looting. Dozens of shops were raided. The police, initially overwhelmed, made 1,000 arrests. One man was stabbed to death—in a row with another looter, Estonia says.

The rioting was not wholly spontaneous. Russian embassy officials had previously met leading protesters in curious places such as a botanical garden, according to pictures leaked by local spy-catchers. After the riot, another front opened: state websites were swamped by attacks from computers with Kremlin IP addresses."

I note once again that Mr. Lacis has made a point to exclude any mention of rioting, looting and the like in his speech, and instead concentrated on what he perceives as symbolism denoting political loyalties in play in Estonia, and than made a connection to situation in Latvia. A few minute remarks in a parliament is not a presentation at social sciences(?) conference, but I suppose one could charge that this connection of his was baseless - he did not offer any evidence to back it up. Or that he obfuscated in his speech as to how exactly the thousands ended up rallying under the “USSR Forever!” banner. The notion of 'racism' in his remarks is, however, wholly contrived by the author, - moved by motives I dare not speculate about... :)

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Pankūkas - Pētersonei! 13.11.2007 14:53
@Zeltene

> What do old buildings have to do with Fini's or others' racist remarks?

Nothing. I may be mistaken, but I suspect they have something to do with author's 'preference for buildings' :)

I did not write I have not seen 'ANY polls' - 'ANY RECENT polls'. I'm not gonna search, just quote one number from 'New Baltic Barometer - 2004' as to self-identification of those who choose to answer questionnaire in Russian (http://www.balticvoices.org/documents/spp-401.pdf there are numebr for Estonia and Lithuania there too):

1) European.........................: 6%
2) Nation state (Latvia) first......: 5%
3) Integrated national..............: 6%
4) Local, regional..................: 19%
5) Russian/Soviet...................: 61%
6) Other............................: 0%
7) Don’t know.......................: 2%

No idea how may people were invoking their *err* 'motherland'(?) in a 'political brawl' in Estonia. I did not intend to say, did not say and will not say anything about how representative the number of protesters might have been of the views of Russians/russian-speakers in Estonia. It would be silly to try to guess anything one way or the other from that number.

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Zeltene - to Pankukas 13.11.2007 14:30
What an absurd comment... What do old buildings have to do with Fini's or others' racist remarks? And if you have not seen any polls, what is your basis for assuming something about a 'vast majority'? The fact that you heard some people shouting 'Russia'? How many people exactly? How do they compare to the total of Russian-speaking population in Estonia?

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Pankūkas - Pētersonei! 13.11.2007 14:21
> Racist excuses concerning the impossibility of integrating 'them' because of their 'perverse
> culture' are a staple of anti-integration rhetoric in many societies.

Repeat after me, Ms. Golubeva:

- old buildings are nice to look at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqb6_LC_ga0), not necessarily nice to live in for any prolonged periods of time :)

- culture, tradition, religion, political views aren't 'immutable characteristics'; people are ‘born equal’, cultures are not.

> Take Mr. Lācis, one of the most fiery rhetoricians of the Latvian Parliament. What
> exactly did he imply when stating ...

See, this is the problem one gets when quoting and translating (http://lv.lv/index.php?menu_body=DOC&id=157617&menu_left=LAIDIENS) anything that requires more than one and a half sentences to adequately convey. Mr. Lacis said nothing whatsoever regarding tiny minority of protesters who were 'capable of smashing shop windows' in an, allegedly, 'political brawl'. He mentioned thousands of Russian and russian-speaking youth that were, according to Mr. Lacis, chanting: "USSR forever!" - in a political brawl. I have not seen "USSR forever!" chants, I have, however, seen plenty of "Russia! Russia!" invocations being part of that 'political brawl'.

I suspect, you know perfectly well what Mr. Lacis implied - questionable political loyalties of 'vast majority' of 'people with similar ethnic origins' (although I'm willing to grant that I have not seen any recent polls to that extent).

May I suggest putting in a source for quotes, as a courtesy for those not content with your choices – a plainly absurd and a hopelessly contrived one in this case – of what is one to deal with here or there?

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Franciskus 13.11.2007 14:10
I understand your concerns, Kalvis. But I am afraid that Maria talks about the racism, which is underlying in both cases. Both - Lācis and Fini - have made unwise statements (to say the least), most probably just for the sake of raising their profile as "nationalists" or "patriots". As I understand, Maria argues that these politicians are making generalisations about the ethnic groups that are not fair (not all Roma people are criminals, neither are all Latvian Russians illoyal). Every individual case has to be discussed separately.

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Kalvis 13.11.2007 13:58
Let's touch our own equivalent of Bronze Soldier (i.e. the infamous Pardaugava memorial), and we shall see, if Mr.Lācis was right. There are some bilateral agreements between Latvia and Russia, which may prevent simply razing that monument, but we can consider eliminating the public area around it - e.g. we can sell this land to some real-estate developer to build amusement park and shopping center in that "Uzvaras laukums".

Those guys who think that they still can occupy our land and dictate their conditions (e.g. Jevgenijs Osipovs who made public threats regarding this), must rethink, what is more important to them - their country or their bankrupt Soviet ideology.

Citi autora darbi