IRR News (19 June – 2 July 2019)
Institute of Race Relations weekly digest - Against Racism, for Social Justice
Dear IRR News subscriber,
The law-breaking captain of a pirate ship, she is not! But that is how far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini described German national Carola Rackete, captain of the SAR NGO vessel, Sea Watch 3 who, in a series of dramatic events, was arrested, placed under house arrest, then released only to be threatened with deportation, all because she brought ashore in Lampedusa forty exhausted refugees rescued in the central Mediterranean Sea following a perilous voyage from Libya. This week on IRR News, Joseph Maggs reviews the London P21 gallery exhibition ‘Sink Without Trace’, which features the work of eighteen artists (seven of whom are refugees). In providing a comprehensive antidote to the western cultural treatment of tragic deaths as ‘spectacle’ for circulation and consumption, this important exhibition provides background to why humanitarians like Carola Rackete risk prosecution for ‘crimes of solidarity’.
Deaths and structural violence are not confined to the Mediterranean Sea, as we report in our calendar of racism and resistance which features news of two important inquests, that of a Polish man, Rafal Sochacki, who died of excessive body temperature after being transported in a hot custody van by a Serco driver and subsequently held in a cell at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, on one of the hottest days of the year, and Darren Cumberbatch who died following restraint, including the use of tasers and batons, by Warwickshire police – just one in a long line of deaths resulting from the systematic disproportionate use of force against black men.
Meanwhile, Sophia Siddiqui, in the wake of Newham Council’s decision to ‘decommission’ refuge services from the London Black Women’s Project, reminds us that BAME and refugee women experience higher rates of domestic homicide and are three times more likely to commit suicide than other women in the UK. Additional barriers around racism, cultural expectation, language and immigration issues, make it more difficult for BAME women victims to access support. Despite these shocking figures, 50 per cent of shelters for BAME women in the UK have been forced to close due to government cuts. Sign a petition to show your support for London Black Women’s Project, which has been a lifeline for the community for thirty-two years.
IRR News team