Also: I love how all these Europeans are saying “RACISM IS DIFFERENT HERE STOP BEING USCENTRIC” regarding to (not just American) people saying that if Lubitz had been a muslim they would have called him a terrorist, because by calling that uscentric they’re totally implying that there’s no Islamophobia in Europe. Which is fucking hilarious like do you even live here?
Yes, I do live here. I don’t like you saying I’m playing into the hands of Europeans who don’t think there’s racism here. Like, obviously my POV is just one POV, but I’m writing from what I experience and see myself, not what (white) Europeans tell me. How many times have I spoken about what is probably the oldest variant of European racism- antisemitism? So how do you get the idea I don’t think racism exists here? I’d say racism here is even more complicated than the US because in addition to the colourist variant people like me face, there’s all sorts of ethnic +cultural fault lines (so like white-passing Muslims/Jewish people can get shit on to if ppl know they’re Muslim/Jewish).
1. The accusations of UScentricism- The entire problem I have with how Americans are talking about European issues is that while general points such as ‘islamophobia exists’ and ‘racism exists’ are obviously correct, people don’t take into consideration the different context so they fixate on the wrong things to prove it or don’t accurately describe its dynamics. Like with Charlie Hebdo, for example- people were suddenly experts on racism in France and the magazine, but many of these newfound experts had very little to say about the most dangerous far right party, the Front National, which won elections and whose leader has ambitions to be President.
2. Of course due to the War on Terror racialising the ‘terrorist’ as Muslim + Middle Eastern, our idea or ‘terrorist’ is not just the IRA member anymore. Obviously if the pilot had been Muslim, as I’ve said so many times, the media might not have so easily taken the prosecutor’s word that ‘so far we have found no terrorist links’. But the fact remains that the high profile of far right and other forms of terrorism means that our definition of terrorism is first and foremost: did the person commit violence to further an ideology? This is why Anders Breivik was considered a terrorist once his far right links were discovered. If he’d been Muslim, definitely people would probably have presumed terrorism faster, of course, unfortunately.
3. But the prosecutor was entirely correct in this case to charge it as murder in absence of evidence of ideological links, yet people were demanding Lubitz be called a terrorist. It would be different if they said, ‘observe how he wasn’t ASSUMED to be a terrorist the way a non-white or Muslim pilot would have been’. See what I mean? Many were further completely distorting the media portrayal: as if him being called a murderer instead of a terrorist was treating him more positively, as if ‘terrorist’ is a higher form of ‘murder’ rather than a specific crime requiring political/ideological ends in our law. Like ok, people are angry with him here because one of the Britons killed was a 7 month old baby boy! We need to use the term ‘terrorist’ LESS, not more, full stop. The point is that we need to push back against Muslims being labelled terrorists, not flinging around this term EVEN MORE when it’s bad enough it’s used to erode civil liberties. I study law. I’ve read the Terrorism Act. It’s disturbing how many civil liberties can be curtailed if the government designates you a ‘terrorist’. Which is why I am VERY against the way some Americans were failing to realise they’d basically bought into the way their government has made ‘terrorist’ the Big Bad and forgot terrorism requires specific type of motive.
4. Discussions about Islamophobia in this case should have been centered around the media speculation prior to the release of his identity, rather than demanding the prosecutor call him a terrorist, or insisting that European papers are viewing him more positively because he’s called ‘murderer’ instead of ‘terrorist. Like what even? It would be one thing if they refused to call him a terrorist and said ‘he was just a victim too’. Like no. He’s being labeled a murderer. In this case, him being mentally ill isn’t exactly getting him sympathy because he killed 149 other people and seemed totally calm about it.