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FYEG’s statement on the shooting of black people in Macerata, Italy

Last weekend, a fascist shot six black people in the town of Macerata in Italy. None of the victims is reported dead, but at least one is in a critical condition. FYEG extends its full solidarity to the victims of this heinous attack and their loved ones and wishes them a speedy recovery.

After the shooting, the perpetrator did a fascist salute before he was detained, wearing an Italian flag as a cape. Italian media is reporting that the perpetrator was a candidate of the far right Lega Nord in regional elections last year. 

Matteo Salvini, leader of the political party stated: "It's clear and evident that uncontrolled immigration, an invasion like the one that was organised, wanted and financed these past years, leads to social conflict." Another far right party, Forza Nuova, has reportedly offered financial support to the shooter, while former Prime Minister Berlusconi immediately promised to deport 600.000 immigrants.

It’s unbelievable that a horrifying attack on black people, by an extreme right fascist, has led to yet another debate about refugees, stronger borders and deportations, rather than about how to counter the increasingly militaristic far right. The media explains the shooter didn’t have a criminal record and was touched by a recent murder of an Italian woman, of whom the alleged murderer was from Nigeria. 

Black people are hunted and gunned down in the middle of a European city. A disgraceful fact, which is portrayed as an effect of “mass immigration”, rather than far right political violence.

This shooting comes at a crucial time in Europe. Italy is holding a general election on 4 March, which will determine the direction of one of the EU’s largest member states. Who is in power in Rome is a question of European importance.The biggest block in recent opinion polls is a right-wing block, composed, among others, of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Salvini’s Lega Nord. An outcome, which could mean another big country flirting with far right ideas. 

Right wing conservative opportunists must stop immediately to instrumentalise violence for their own election campaigns. It’s them parroting far right ideas and fishing for right wing voters, who push the bar of what is acceptable to say and think.  

We call upon all democratic political forces in Italy to distance themselves from fascists and from the politicians who are thriving on hatred towards migrants, and not to ally with these political groups in pursuit of power.

We call upon the institutions of the European Union and Council of Europe with competences regarding human rights to closely monitor the use of hate speech in the general election campaign and the development of far right violence targeting people with a migrant background in Italy.

This also raises some questions regarding the media. How is it possible that when a racified person commits a crime, immigration is portrayed as the problem, and when a white person does it, immigration is also the problem? Do some politicians and journalists consider that generalisation and vilifying of entire groups is alright when it concerns racified people, and that white people do not carry any responsibility for the most brutal of actions they undertake?

The media bear their part of the responsibility for carrying far right ideas into the mainstream. The different approaches to report on Islamist extremism and far right extremism are striking. Islamist extremists are mostly portrayed as contextless monsters. Racists and fascists like the one in Macerata are given a history and context that can be understood as an excuse for their acts. 

It’s not the refugees dividing us, but those who copy the far right’s divisive ideas, because of opportunist reasons. We call on all European leaders, media and civil society to stand up firmly against hate. Violence is nothing to be used in election campaigns. 

We strongly condemn all attempts at justifying a racist attack with a completely unrelated killing.

We call upon political leaders and media outlets to stop portraying immigration as a cause of a shooting of people in the street by a fascist.