I CARE - Special Report
1st European Conference about Anti-Black Racism - CERAN '06
March 17th and 18th 2006 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, allowed the problem of Anti-Black racism to be more visible. Today, Anti-Black racism emerges from the general problem of racism and benefits from specific recognition and treatment." In the forest, when the branches are fighting, their roots are kissing "
In this context, the Crosspoint of Reflexion and Action about Anti-Black Racism (CRAN), Observatory of Anti-Black Racism in Switzerland, organised a 2-day conference with organisations and specialists from the Black community and others interested in this subject.
Illumination of the the shadowed part of European History - especially Slavery and colonisation, construction or re-contruction of the Black identity, the mecanism of anti-Black racism (origins, fundamentals and justifications) - yesterday and today, acknowledgement of the specificity of anti-Black racism, stereotypes, racial hierarchy…these are some of the themes that were covered during this first conference on anti-Black racism.
A pity that no Swiss journalists or, for that matter, any journalist - showed up to cover this event. Not even for the French footbal player and activist Lilian Thuram. Is this a sign of the small interest of journalism or society for the subject ?
Te diversity of subjects on day 1 gave a broad view of the actual situation of anti-Black racism in Europe.
Mr Doudou Diène - Special rapporteur on racism for the UN - and Mr Dembélé Yaré from the European Observatory against Racism and Xenophobia positionned the problems of anti-Black racism within the global and european context.
After this, members of NGOs from several European countries reported on the situation in their own countries and on the programs and activities they develop and use to combat anti-Black racism. Amongst others, Mr. Derty from France talked about the problems of representation in the media, politics and government as well as about the november riots in France; Mr Tshakala from Italy mentionned that a lack of knowledge and education is one of the main reasons for racism in Italy ; Mrs Meierhofer-Mangeli, from the English organisation Akina Mama Wa Afrika dealt with the difficulties encountered because of the various origins of the Black population in England, when dealing with the issues of education and women.
Finally, two 'thematical sessions' dealt with 'Racism against Blacks and the three religions of the Book', 'Utilization of the image of Blacks in the European media : permanence of the racial hierarchy, subliminal messages, reflexion and action points', European directives and fight against anti-Black racism' together with a screening of a movie about the genocide of Herero Tribe…
Day 1 ended quite late with a cocktail and a musical entertainement (M.G.Florentine, 'My resistence', 2002).
" Knowing who you are, it is locating oneself in the space and the time of a human comunity,
that means becoming aware of its place in the 'globalization' "
Day 2 started with 'strategic sessions'. During those sessions, Mr Lavodrama (French political scientist) developed the " Historical basis and developments of anti-Black racism, from yesterday till now ". He spoke in detail and chonologically about the origin of 'racism', underlining that it was a intellectual construction, a product of modern times.
After that Mr. Mutombo Kanyana (Swiss political scientist) talked about " Deconstruction : for a paradigm of the fight against anti-Black racism " and defined two axes. A vertical one dealing with the racial hierarchy at the core of the phenomenon of racism ; a horizontal one that cut into steps the construction and the deconstruction of racism.
He ended his speech by making a few recommendations : denounce racism by being organized and by monitoring ; work on image by giving a positive personality to blacks and by affirming African identity ; finally, to repair, on the one hand a self reparation to find your own identity and on the other hand to repair what he called the 'double holocaust crime against Blacks'.
In the next part of the conference, participants joined different workshops about :
-Discriminatory policies and practices of States,
-Integration and discrimination,
-Globalization and racism,
-Stereotypes and prejudices,
-Memory and justice,
-Strategies and networking.
At the end of the day, the reporters presented the results of the workshops. After this the Report of the conference was presented as well as the Action Plan against anti-Black racism in Europe and the Declaration of Geneva on Anti-Black Racism in Europe.
After a vote that validated the final documents, the presidents of the session and the General Secretary of the CRAN ended this First Conference on Anti-Black Racism in Europe with a few words of thanks and hope.
Read the Declaration of Geneva about anti-Black racism in Europe.
Video 1: Mr Endrias Yonas from the Internale Liga Für Menschenrechte, Berlin, Germany.
Video 2: Mr Petar Hadji-Ristic, Associate Editor of The African Courier.