The unacceptable face of racism

By | May 16, 2014

Norman Lowell - Imperium EuropaNorman Lowell has been seen at the forefront of a far right movement in Malta for years now. Him and his party are the Maltese equivalent of another swivel-eyed loon in the UK – Nigel Farage and the Ukip party. But while Farage has been dubbed the acceptable face of racism (as if something as horrible as racism can ever have an acceptable face), listening to Norman Lowell speak will unearth everything that is wrong about racism.

With the MEP elections coming up, Imperium Europa have stepped up their PR to try to get more votes. How do they do this? By scaring people and presenting their opinions as facts. Their YouTube channel has a running theme of “Informa ruħek” (inform yourself) and presents nothing but scaremongering.

Just in case you really want to inform yourself about migration of non EU nationals have a look at this infographic drawn up by the European Commission which, unlike the arguments of Imperium Europa, is based on actual number and statistics.

The recently banned Imperium Europa MEP advert is what you would expect from a far right party. The advert uses fear and sweeping statements to influence and is filled with racist undertones. Even though the advert says that Imperium Europa are against illegal immigration it uses images of refugees and people of colour fighting in Paceville. There is also a picture of a patient’s hand suffering from Ebola, a disease whose symptoms start within 2 days after infection. Why am I mentioning this? Because it is unlikely that anyone with this virus survives such a journey but since it looks scary and only parts of Africa are hit with this horrible virus then IE’s reasoning seems to be “might as well stick it in the advert”.

Imperium Europa saying they are against illegal immigration is misleading, especially when seeing the imagery used in the video which is meant to incite hate and fear. Many have argued against the decision to ban the video saying this is curtailing freedom of speech, but freedom of speech is not universal and hate speech does not fall under it.

What is really worrying about the story is the fact that the Broadcasting Authority approved the video and only after public outcry did it decide to ban it.

The video is available elsewhere, on Facebook and YouTube. I’m sharing it (and I have given this a lot of thought) because anyone with two brain cells can find it and because I cannot stand this having 15 thumbs up on YouTube and only 2 thumbs down. Comments are also disabled on the video (surprise, surprise).

Below is the banned advert, however if you do choose to watch it and feel like Imperium Europa might have a point then you owe it to yourself to have a look at the picture and video further down.

The picture is a screen grab from a video released by an Italian newspapers La Repubblica. In it you can see two victims of the sunken boat off Lampedusa, a man and a woman hugging each other. Death is what migrants from Africa face when crossing the Mediterranean sea. Pushbacks, which is what Imperium Europa stand for, is a barbaric act.

Lampedusa tragedy

The images in the video below are disturbing so please proceed with caution.

Finally, I know I will probably get bombarded through the comments section by Imperium Europa fans for this post. I will be removing any comments which break the rules of common decency. Remember that your freedom of speech is not universal.

 

  • Robert Callus

    Good article but I have to disagree when you say Imperium Ewropa are the equivalent of Nigel Farge’s UKIP.

    I find the UKIP a disgusting and cheap party however they are much, much, less extreme and fundamentalist than Imperium Ewropa. Among other things, denying the Holocaust, drowning migrants and hanging traitors are not on their agenda.

    Imperium are the equivalent of Greece’s violent, fiercely anti-Semitic Golden Dawn who are at present being investigated for being a criminal organization.

    This was my take on Golden Dawn after they got 7% of the vote.

    http://robertcallus.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/its-time-for-fear/

    Since then things have got much worse, the culmination of which being the murder of a left wing musician by a Golden Dawn employee.

    • melahart

      That is true Robert, Ukip are more of a mild version of Imperium Europa.

    • http://www.melahart.com melahart

      You are right Robert, UKIP are a very very mild version of IE unluckily for us

  • Terry Gosden

    Thanks for posting this, very informative. Many people are scared of the ” unknown” and this is where these power junkies try their best to capitalise. It’s not a new strategy. If we look closely at the media and education system there is a large fault line which I believe actually enables these sad groups to grow. This being a system where oft times real historical events, no matter how unpalatable are either omitted or made tidier. And the partisan reporting of Word events . Human beings are not machines, and we question what we are told, if we do not get the correct answers there is a danger we will
    ‘make it up’ . And these people are merely pandering to that part of society which are ill informed, or in a lot of cases miss informed. And that leaves a knowledge vacume which some are only to willing to take advantage of.

    • http://www.melahart.com melahart

      Very well said Terry we all know what happened when far right groups dealt in fear.

  • RZammit

    I do not support Imperium Europa at all. I managed to watch just a part of the feature, the part where it says that illegal immigrants have certain diseases such as HIV and TB. I must agree with that because that is the reality and nobody can deny it. Speaking the truth isnt racism but it is good for prevention. People must know what is happening in their own country. We must also educate the people who are infected with such diseases so no more people gets infected. Have a look at the articles below and I hope you understand what I am saying.

    http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20140325/local/TB-awareness-for-immigrants.512041

    http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20090301/local/50-of-hiv-cases-involve-african-immigrants.246926#.U3XcGSUuwAQ.facebook

    • http://www.melahart.com melahart

      Mr Zammit, viruses such as HIV are not only found in migrants, also they are sexually transmitted so yes you are right we need to educate not only the migrants but also ourselves.

      • RZammit

        Of course it is not found only in immigrants, however my worry is all about how many of them are arriving in Malta already infected. This article is very worrying which is saying that 50% of the illegal immigrants are infected with HIV. (http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20090301/local/50-of-hiv-cases-involve-african-immigrants.246926#.U3XcGSUuwAQ.facebook)

        That article was created in 2009 and by now, we have more illegal immigrants and based on statistics and articles I have read recently, HIV and TC cases are increasing on a yearly basis. Surely that means that the ones infected are transmitting their disease or else more people who are infected are arriving in Malta. This is not racism but these are facts. I do not mind that our country is helping the ones qualifying for asylum, but on the other hand, we have to take care of our health and make everyone aware of certain diseases. By hiding or denying a problem, will make the problem worse. Awareness is not racism but it is a way to prevent others from getting infected and ask them to take precautions. To give you a short example, lets say my daughter wants to hang out with a person from Africa who is an immigrant. As a father I will surely worry, not because she is hanging out with an African but because of the probability of being infected. I am not a racist for just protecting my daughter and making her aware. To be realistic, not only illegal immigrants can be infected but also tourists arriving in Malta however, the big portion of people who are infected in Malta are illegal ones and that is why I am talking more on these people.

      • http://www.melahart.com melahart

        Mr Zammit, please stop using the term illegal. This is not right as most of the people who cross the med are refugees or asylum seeker and hence not illegal. Every person on earth has right to asylum.

      • RZammit

        It is still illegal, not matter what the reason is. If I kill someone to defend myself, I am still a killer because I have killed and I did an act of killing. If I steal a loaf of bread because I have nothing to eat, I am still a thief. Immigrants looking for asylum, does not change the fact that they are coming here illegally.

  • Rodney

    Quite misleading and not at all factual.

    It is a known fact that much larger(and stronger) countries have crumbled under the weight of illegal immigration.

    As regards health, which I hope we all agree is of paramount importance, one cannot easily challenge the fact that our population has become exposed to a wider range of life-wrecking diseases as a result of this migration problem.

    So please, start by being a responsible writer and stop deluding your readers.

    The incubation period for Ebola Virus can be up to 21 days. So, yes, I’m afraid the Ebola argument is justified. Such subjects can and will eventually arrive on our shores. And when they do, it is the men in the maritime who will be the first to contract such diseases, very soon followed by the general population, including you.

    There are millions residing in war-torn countries in the African continent. Your solution seems to be as simple as “Keep them coming”.

    Instead of labelling anyone who speaks out against immigration as the eternal evil, wouldn’t it be better if we poised a fair(and fact-rooted) argument now and again?

    • http://www.melahart.com melahart

      Rodney I think you didn’t complete your second sentence… which are the countries you’re talking about. When speaking about facts one tends to give examples.

      Speaking about health, once again you forget to take into consideration the bigger picture. Our population is exposed to a wider range of diseases not because of migration but because we don’t have a suitable educational system that teaches us about these diseases such as HIV which are sexually transmitted (and HIV is not only found in migrants). And with regards to Ebola having an incubation period of up to 21 days, do you know how long it takes for a migrant to even start crossing the sea, let alone arrive in Malta?

      I never said that the solution is to keep them coming. What I said is that a pushback is barbaric and a pushback is IE’s solutions so before you go and tick next to Norman Lowell’s name make sure you know what they stand for.

      Finally none of us should be speaking out against immigration as it is a natural phenomenon. What we should be doing is debating how we can help these countries. We need a representative in the EU that can make their voice heard not one who will scream and shout and threaten with pushbacks.

      • Rodney

        England, France, Germany….need I drop down a list for you? This is common knowledge, which you should be aware of before even starting to address this matter.

        Once again, you proceed with a factually-void argument.

        First off, it is laughable at best to blame increasing rates of blood-borne(or bodily-fluid-transmitted) diseases on education. A whole range of diseases are on the rise because of the increased prevalence of the same diseases in people from the African continent, which are rapidly increasing in number in our country. What you mean to say is that it is acceptable to increase our the prevalence of infectious diseases in our country, on the pretext of improving education. In other words, you are trying to cure a disease instead of preventing it.

        As regards Ebola, my main argument was that you are distributing medically incorrect material which is a dangerous thing to do. Please do correct that term in your article.

        Regarding travel time, if you mean to make your readers sleep easy on the pretext that every migrant has spent more than 21 days at sea, think again.

        And finally, who are you to dictate what I or the general public speak out against? I have a right to my opinion, as do you.

        And no, illegal immigration is NOT a natural phenomenon. It is a breach of Maltese law. I would like to see you waltz through airport security without a passport, just because you are NATURAL.

        Please. Go. Inform. Yourself.

      • http://www.melahart.com melahart

        Rodney, you have a right to your own opinion but not to your own facts.

        Show me studies and don’t just say this is common knowledge as it is not. I assure you that the last economic crisis had nothing to do with immigration.

        And with regards to your argument about health, just FYI education is prevention when it comes to diseases.

        Oh and you know what is illegal… PUSHBACKS!

      • Observer

        I feel quite sorry for you as it seem s that you are living in some kind of twisted reality. If any argument is deluded and devoid of facts as you claim, it is that England, France and Germany have crumbled under the weight of illegal immigration, they have not, as any visitor can see for him or her self.

        It is laughable and self delusional to claim that any increases in the rate of infectious diseases is due to irregular immigration by people from the African continent and to claim that diseases like Ebola are prevalent. Anyone involved in public health knows that this is simply not true. Melahart is saying exactly what the health department has been saying for years, and not only in Malta, about the importance of education in controlling such diseases, most of which originate from loose sexual behavior both here in Malta and on visits abroad to non-African countries.

      • rodney

        @Observer.

        First off. “Prevalence” is a technical term used to define the proportion of a population affected by a particular disease. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but yes all the above-mentioned diseases are highly prevalent in Africa. Just check the sheer amount of vaccines you have to take before entering the continent

        I say again. England , France , Germany, Bulgaria, U.S, Italy. All are all suffering serious repercussions due to illegal immigration. The parent cultures in London and Paris are dead. All you can see is a culture alien to the country, an African culture, being imposed as a priority above the native culture and people.

        I imagine you are an astute observer, so I prompt you to read some books and do some research. Any country is defined by a distinct and independent political entity and a defined territory. Both concepts are failing due to illegal immigration, more so, because the likes of you base their perception of a country’s welfare on economy alone.

        Prevention is keeping diseases OUT of the country. Educating people once prevalence rises(and it is rising, with regards to particular diseases), is a risk to our nation.

        @mel.

        Please review my answers and tackle each point constructively. Your furious unbacked outbursts do nothing either for your argument, more less for your image as a blogger/journalist.

        Who are you to assure me of anything? You just published an article which conflicts heavily with the reality in Malta. And I repeat. You published medically incorrect material.

        And again Economy is not the question here. Politics and territory are the matters at hand. And we are losing both.

      • Observer

        Rodney, it is not enough to just keep on repeating pre-canned arguments. Just because a disease is prevalent in Africa does not mean that the African migrants arriving in Malta or the rest of Europe are carrying and spreading these diseases. Apart from anything else, they are given a medical check on arrival and if necessary given treatment. However despite all the talk from people like you, actual cases of African migrants carrying these diseases let alone infecting Maltese are unheard of, which given the society and times that we live in, clearly indicates that there are none. True there seems to be an increase in infectious diseases, but if you research a little, you will find that they are mainly due to influenza type respiratory viruses, sexually transmitted diseases (the old ones as well as HIV) and a whole range of previously easily treatable diseases which have developed into drug resistant diseases exacerbated by overuse of antibiotics. A lot of the diseases that we suffer from are a result of our change in lifestyle, and yes, some of them are due to more travel and mixing with people from other countries and cultures, not necessarily African. As Melahart quite rightly pointed out to you several comments ago, the control and prevention of infectious diseases is based on education, leading to good hygiene, safer sexual practices and the proper use of antibiotics. Your idea of enclosing Malta in a bubble and only allowing white Ayran’s in to gawp at the poor backward locals, is just a fantasy.

        You repeat the mantra that England, France and Germany amongst others are all suffering serious repercussions from illegal immigration and your evidence for this claim is the culture change, but what you fail or do not wish to recognize is that cultures do change and evolve with time and the fact that most capital cities have areas and districts influenced by Chinese or Arab or Turkish or African areas is not a bad thing and enriches the local culture. Furthermore most of the changes started well before the phenomenon of irregular immigration, where most of the migrants were welcomed into these countries and have been assimilated into the local ‘native’ population, in much the same way as the Maltese migrants were assimilated into the UK, USA and Australia during the last century. You accuse me and people who think like me of being responsible for the failure to retain our grandfathers culture and way of life because we base our perception of the welfare of a country on the economy, without realizing that it is the economy which allows cultures to develop, without a healthy economy, life would be dreary, hard and short lived.

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  • XPA.pps

    Sadly both arguments in favour and against are correct. Yes, illegal immigrants are human and deserve to be treated as such. Yes, everyone has a moral (and possibly legal) obligation to assist those in need, especially those who are escaping from countries in life-threatening conditions. Human dignity is, after all, paramount.
    However, I do feel that the arguments presented by IE, immaterial of whether one like or hates the the individuals behind the party, or the unstated solutions they may have and which we can easily assume, are a reality.
    Most (and I feel it safe to generalise in these circumstances) illegal immigrants come from countries that have poor education and hygiene systems. In many cases these are not even apparent. Disease is a natural result of this lack. Therefore I do not think we need to source statistics to come to the conclusion that if illegal immigrants are on the increase, then the vulnerability of a hosting country’s healthy is at a higher risk.

    Crime – given that most (again I am deliberately assuming but again feel safe doing so) of the illegal immigrants come from countries that have very poor education systems, find it hard to cope with higher standards of living without the right resources. Theft could be a possible solution (and probably justified in their minds). It is also a fact that the crime rate in undeveloped countries is much higher than in developed ones. Here I am assuming that Malta is a develope

  • XPA.pps

    d country and I may be over-assuming now. Hence illegal immigrants could easily be contributors to increasing crime. Even the nature of the crimes themselves could change to be more in line with criminal activity mostly associated with undeveloped countries.

    Property devaluation – Again, I feel this is pretty much fact. If we had to move the Hal far tents to Madliena, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover a hefty drop in property prices for the area. I mean, I am not being racist here. If we build a housing estate (not for immigrants but for Maltese) and place it alongside upper market housing, adjacent block prices would be expected to dip. It’s a natural repercussion, no?

    So I feel that the facts in IEs video are pretty much right. Whether it is considered morally and ethically correct to accept them is a different thing altogether.

    But both arguments (in favour and against) do not provide sustainable solutions. Push-back is as extreme as allowing them to freely drift in.

    I’d love to know what illegal immigration costs governments internationally. I’m sure it costs mind boggling figures. If those figures were used as aid for undeveloped countries, there would be less need to escape. Yes, a very simplistic solution but I’d like to see more solutions and justifying problems is all we have so far and again I state, both are rightly justified but do not present acceptable solutions.