May their souls live on in our struggle!

Thousands of people marched in Hamburg to protest the racist attacks in Hanau on February 21, which targeted the Kurdish community and resulted in the deaths of 9 people. Photo: ANF English.

The following is an abridged version of a speech by German activist Ferat Ali Kocak, who was a victim of a far-right firebomb attack in 2018. The speech, translated by Green Left correspondent Sibylle Kaczorek, was broadcast from Berlin on social media on March 21, the International Day Against Racism. The rally planned to mark the day had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Today, March 21, is the International Day Against Racism.

Exactly a year ago, we mourned the people killed in Christchurch, New Zealand. Today, we mourn the people killed in Hanau on February 21 and will not forget others.

We will not forget Mölln [the 1992 deadly, anti-migrant arson attack], Solingen [1993], Rostock Lichtenhagen [1992], Hoyerswerda [1991] nor Halle [the 2019 synagogue shooting]. We will not forget the National Socialist (Nazi) Underground (NSU) murders [2000–07].

We will not forget any individual killed by racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Roma, queerphobic, misogynistic, inhuman ideologies, nor their intellectual apologists sitting in parliaments stirring the fire or their thugs willing to use violence or their supporters in government departments.

In particular, the radical right-wing of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) was the first to reduce the killing in Hanau to the psychological state of the killer and thus endeavour to serve the “lone wolf” narrative of the conservative, centre parties.

For us, however, there is no doubt: The AfD, the corporate conservative media that stirred hatred, the racist, mainstream political discourse on migration and the supposed “refugee crisis” were all part of the shootings in Hanau on February 19.

If the question was asked whether the attacker was part of a network, we would answer with a resounding “yes”. Not a right-wing terror network, like Combat 18, the NSU or the Hannibal network, all of which maintain contacts within the state apparatus, but an everyday life, racist network, that supplied him with the ideological ammunition for this act of violence.

Similarly to the far-right terror attacks in Oslo, Norway [2011], Christchurch and Halle, the Hanau killer also publicly released a manifesto, soaked with racism, nationalist-fascist conspiracy theories and neoliberal, social-chauvinism.

In it, he spoke approvingly and explicitly of the extinction of whole ethnic groups, particularly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Entirely in the style of [Islamophobe] Thilo Sarrazin and [racist former mayor of the Berlin suburb of Neukölln, Heinz] Buschkowsky from the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), he divides people into cultural groups that are “efficient” and those allegedly “not efficient”.

According to the attacker, the list of countries whose populations “must be completely destroyed” was made up of those with majority Muslim populations. Further, he denied people like me, who have already lived here for generations, the right to be “Germans” and propagated our extermination.

The Hanau attacker got political inspiration for his killings straight from the headlines of nationalists and neo-fascists, right-wing extremists on YouTube, as well as the ever-present, racist AfD discourse that frequently receives television airtime.

The locations for his attacks were provided by hatred stirred up by the mainstream media and racist local government campaigns — like in Neukölln — against shisha bars, alleging they were places of “clan criminality”.

The far right feeds on the racism of the conservative centre of society. Far-right terror is the implementation of the right-wing’s and thus also the AfD’s hate and agitation.

The racism of the conservative centre and its parties also must take responsibility for far-right terror because their anti-immigration politics add fuel to the fire of the AfD.

Their decision to keep the NSU files closed to the public for 120 years protects the far right and its helpers acting in the background, and ignites further acts of terror.

Because of this, we need broad alliances against far-right terror and its political arsonists — alliances that name and fight the right wing.

National alliances including Stand Up Against Racism, Indivisible and Sea Bridge as well as movements such as Welcome United, Links*kanax [an anti-racist network campaigning for people of  Turkish, Kurdish and Arab backgrounds] and Migrantifa have to be the answers to this racism.

That is why you should get active. Follow the social network media of these movements and take part in actions.

On this day today, let us also remember Gökhan Gültekin, Ferhat Ünvar, Mercedes Kierpacz, Sedat Gürbüz, Hamza Kurtović, Kalojan Welkow, Vili Viorel Păun, Fatih Saraçoğlu, Said Nessar El Hashemi, Jana L, Kevin S, Burak Bektaş, Luke Holland and Heather Heyer.

May their souls live on in our struggle!

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