Three Years Anniversary of the Hanau racist Massacre

Read our speech at the rally in Gröpelingen on 19-2-2023

On behalf of TWAB, I would like to thank you all for coming out here today just like many others across the country in memory and honour of the victims of the racist massacre that took place in Hanau three years ago.

Exactly three years ago, nine innocent lives were brutally snuffed out of existence in Hanau. The nine of them were mercilessly massacred while their friends, families and community were forever left devastated by the senseless killings. They had no chance to escape to save their lives. Or let’s put it like this: The only slim chance for some of them to survive was compromised by the institutional racism that is prevalent and was evidenced by the reaction of the police and other relevant services on the day.

These lives were ruthlessly taken from us for no fault of theirs. These innocent people were murdered because somebody acted on the dangerous and deadly ideology of white supremacy, blatant racism and the violence that flows from that ideology.

Dear friends, the violence we saw in Hanau is a manifestation of the daily violence upon which this society is built and maintained. The whole system and the entire structure of this society is built on the ideology of white supremacy and racism. It is therefore not surprising that there is a vibrant and functioning institutional racism because state institutions are carefully crafted and developed to nurture, sustain and implement this racist and dangerous ideology. This is why racism is pervasive in state institutions like the police, the Foreigners Office, the Social Office, the Standesamt, Schools and Colleges and the labour market amongst others.

Unfortunately, Blacks and People of Colour bear the brunt of this deadly ideology more than anyone else. But the question is: How long is this country going to live in denial of this crystal-clear facts? How many more racist attacks and how many more senseless killings? For those who care to listen, let me say it clear and loud: We are sick and tired of it and it must stop now!

We are tired of hearing that what happened in Hanau and countless other places are single incidents because they are certainly not. It was a racist attack; an attack that flows from the very comfortable home of white supremacy and societal racism in this country. The Hanau massacre reflects the daily violence on us that has steadily become accepted as the normality. We totally refuse to accept this normality and we call on you all to vehemently reject it.

To our white friends and sympathisers, we are tired of your ignorance and arrogance, and your inability to see your own racist behaviour every day. We do not need your prayers and empty sweet words when we are attacked or killed. Keep those prayers for yourselves please. What we need is action. We want action against racism because racism is killing us. What we want from you is to take actions that would lead to destroying racism.

This society did not need any reminder of how horrible white supremacy and racism can be, given the history of this country. Yet, that is exactly what we were all reminded of three years ago in Hanau. Today, in this memorial event, we again express our heartfelt condolences and stand in solidarity with their families, friends and their communities. We condemn that horror and other similar attacks all across this country in the strongest possible terms. 

Of course, it is almost impossible for much of the dominant white society to understand what we, as Blacks and People of Colour feel and what we are talking about, more so as many of them enjoy the fruits (consciously or unconsciously) of white supremacist ideology. Nevertheless, we all have a part to play in destroying racism and certainly white people have a lot of work to do on racism.

Black people and People of Colour did not create the problem of racism, it is white people who did. It is white people who believe they are superior and believe in white supremacy, with a structure to match. And it is that belief that gave rise to the horrors in Hanau three years ago. The facts are clear and they must be duly acknowledged without further delays, and I urge you not to pretend about it.

White supremacist ideology and institutional racism may be on one level, but there is also the individual level. So, while I sincerely thank everyone showing true solidarity with the family and friends of the victims, may I use this opportunity to challenge our white friends and sympathisers to look inwards. I ask you to look at yourself and how you relate to refugees, Blacks and People of Colour on a daily basis even here in Bremen. I invite you to engage in critical self-reflection, your racist prejudices and socialisation. These are only the minimum steps you must take if you are serious about fighting racism and dismantling white supremacy. Otherwise, your actions risk being mere performance activism without content.

It is not enough, and I repeat, it is not enough to show up every year at the memorial anniversary for victims of racist police killings like that of Laye Condé here in Bremen every January 7th. Or for the innocent victims of white supremacist massacre in Hanau without you questioning your own racism. It is time for you to take action on racism to stop it. That action must necessarily include you as individuals and it must begin now if we are to take you serious in the fight against racism.

Make no mistakes about it because, we as Blacks, People of Colour and refugees call it what it is. If it sounds like racism, smells like racism, feels like racism, it is racism. We live it and we know it. But it must stop and it must stop now. Not a minute longer!!!

May the soul of the Hanau massacre victims rest in power and peace.

Thank you!