When Will We Ever Learn?I always disliked Racism and Discrimination. Who is really to say that you can't do something or can't be something just because you are black, white, asian, large, tall, skinny, fat, jewish, muslim, christian, german, english, french, russian, andsoonandsoforth? Who is to say that you are of lesser value just because you are not ?
Luckily, the governments of most western nations established laws against discrimination. And of course, the people happily accept those laws and with those laws discrimination was a thing of the past...
... or was it?
As a citizen of the federal republic of Germany, I know that my country has taken Racism and Discrimination to the most extreme in the first half of the 20th century. Everybody knows what happened in concentration camps that spread throughout Germany and the areas occupied by the German military back then. Although I am too young to have taken any part in this, reading about it in history books or seeing it on TV documentaries gives me the goosebumbs, and I wonder what I would've done if I had lived in that time. However, one thing I and most of my countrymen know: Such a thing cannot be allowed to be repeated under any kind of circumstances.
Luckily, I was raised kinda protected from all this. Sure, there was this family on our street which was italian - that kid was fun to play soccer with. There was this turkish kid in kindergarten who was a whizz when it came to building stuff out of legos. To me, they were just normal kids like myself, I didn't give a hoot or holler about their background. Later, I actually enjoyed hearing their views on different matters, even though sometimes I had to regard them as absolute nonsense. However, I enjoyed growing up with Luca, Ibrahim, Yussuf and the others I knew. I enjoyed their diversity of opinions. I never would've thought of hating them because they are different - and racism is just hatred due to cultural difference, while discrimination is for me to give someone a hard time because he or she is different.
I noticed how things began to change a couple of days after my 18th birthday. It was the 11th of September, 2001. We all know what happened there. We all saw those planes flying into the Twin towers, and we all learned shortly after that terrorists of arabic descent caused this disastrous event.
Ever since then I noticed - or maybe I just became aware of - how much we are still capable of racism. Although Germany wasn't attacked on that day, it can be argued that the destruction of the WORLD Trade Center was an attack on the entire world. 11 German citizens died in there as well. 372 victims were not US Citizens. That would support this kind of argumentation.
Ever since then, I noticed how people of Arab heritage are regarded, both in the US as well as in Germany. They seem to be regarded as if they too could be terrorists. Further attacks or attempted attacks like the one in Bonn last year seem to be increasing this behaviour.
If we are afraid enough of something, it will lead to hatred. If we are afraid long enough, our hatred will spur into actions. And our actions, motivated by hatred, will cause hatred on the other side.
All it takes for us to fall back into a behaviour pattern that we thought of as a relic of the past and unacceptable is very little. 9/11 can be regarded as a hatred-motivated, maybe even racist act itself, which in return caused more racism...
It seems to be a vicious circle.
When will we ever learn?