“The hate that killed our children was not an isolated incident” March 22, 2011Posted by cristobalgomez in Uncategorized.
Victims of xenophobic crimes demand that the crimes not go unpunished and warm of the fascist growth on the Internet
SUSANA HIDALGO – MADRID
Guillem Agulló, an 18 year old anti-fascist, was killed by a neo-Nazi in the municipality of Montanejos (Castellón). It happened on April 11, 1993, and the attacker, Pedro Cuevas, fled with his arm raised, singing “Cara al sol.” The murder, linked to right-wing extremist parties, only served 4 years of the 16-year sentence he was given.
Another 11th, but this time in November of 2007, another young anti-fascist, Carlos Palomino, was killed on the Madrid metro at the hands of Josué Estébanez, a member of the extreme right. The Supreme Court confirmed a sentence of 26 years in prison for Estébanez. Guillem and Carlos both died in hate crimes. Year later, their families continue to fight so that their memory lives on.
The only one who lives to tell his own story, although from his wheelchair, is the Congolese Miwa Monake, 43 years of age and quadriplegic since February 10, 2007, when another neo-Nazi delivered a blow to his back that left him paralyzed. His attacker, who called him “money” and told him his place was in the zoo before knocking him down, is serving 10 years in prison.
Yesterday, we celebrated the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination with ceremonies in different cities around the world. Público recovers the stories of three families left destroyed because someone who hated the victim’s way of thinking of the color of their skin crossed their path one day.
Carlos Palomino: His mother keeps up the fight
Mavi Muñoz remembers that she began to learn about the neo-Nazi network “by means of the Internet.” November 11, 2007, her son, Carlos Palomino was killed by a neo-Nazi. “I buried Carlos and I connected to the Internet; I wanted to know many things,” says Mavi, who after the murder of her son created the Association of Victims of Fascist, Racist, and Homophobic Violence. Through that, she tries to make sure that xenophobic aggressions do not go unpunished, something that is not always easy.
Spain does not count on the official data on crimes that have their basis in racism or fascism. The police do not recognize it as such, so that it is associations such as Movement against Intolerance that have their own speculations. This association, directed by Esteban Ibarra, estimates that each year there are some 400 aggressions of this type. “We demand that there be a police registry to know exactly how many of these crimes occur,” insists Ibarra, who recently published the book The Racist Spain: The fight in defense of the victims of hate. On a European scale, over 9 million citizens have at some point been involved in a xenophobic altercation, according to the European Agency of Fundamental Rights of the EU.
Ibarra has supported Mavi Muñoz since the death of her son and shares her daily fight to ensure that these attacks do not happen. “What happened to my son, to our sons, are no isolated incidents. We must get other victims to break the silence,” says Mavi.
Guillem Agulló: Symbol of anti-fascism
The parents of Guillem Agulló, Guillem and Carmen, educated their son in tolerance and freedom. And, suddenly, April 13, 1993 a neo-Nazi stabbed him to death. “It was a nightmare, we couldn’t believe what had happened,” say his parents.
Since then, Guillem Agulló has become a symbol for the Valencian anti-fascist movement, and his death inspired the creation of defense for human rights such as Acció Popular contra la Impunitat.
“The victims of these crimes feel helpless. Many government officials do not even ask the motivation of these attacks when they are reported. The politicians also do not explain well the damage that prejudice inflicts. They hide the figures and deny the racist practices of police and politicians,” reports a spokesperson of the organization. Guillem’s father corroborates the report: “In Valencia, neo-Nazi groups are rampant.” Ibarra, for his part, adds that this impunity is now extending to the Internet. In Spain there are hundreds of racist and homophobic web pages, but they are hosted on Canadian or American servers,” he warns.
Acció Popular contra la Impunitat also reports the proliferation of right-wing extremist web pages and adds, “Many times, racism hide and evident classism. They attack poor black, not soccer players, for example. The mercantile vision of humanity, which treats immigration as a tool and forgets its human character, does not help to neutralize these prejudices.”
Miwa Monake: Quadriplegic for life
The last words that Congolese immigrant Miwa Monake heard from his aggressor were: “Black, damn black, monkey, go to a zoo, monkey! Long live Spain!” After that, he collapsed to the ground. From that tremendous hit from a neo-Nazi at the exit of a discoteca, he was left quadriplegic. His attacker, Roberto Alonso de la Varga, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The events occurred in February of 2007.
“I had never heard the word quadriplegic before,” tells Miwa, 43, who Esteban Ibarra always gives as an example of overcoming. The praise is not free. Miwa, during his convalescence, thought many times of taking his own life. He had help in overcoming this bad time from Ibarra and his wife Mirella, who has stayed be his side all this time.
Miwa is almost 2 meters tall and will have to remain forever in a wheelchair. Conscious of the violence of extremist groups, he closes emphatically with one sentence: “May there never be another Miwa, another Carlos, or another Guillem.”