Growing anti-immigrant sentiment and the flourishing of racist rhetoric in Western politics is beginning to take a heavy toll.
Six African immigrants were shot during a two-hour shooting spree by Luca Traini, a 28-year-old man who tied an Italian flag around his neck before going on a rampage in the city of Macerata, Italy.
All six victims – five men and one woman – have been hospitalized, one in critical condition.
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When he was finally stopped by the police, Traini gave a fascist salute before submitting to his arrest; authorities later discovered that he was “previously affiliated” with neo-fascist political parties like the Forza Nuova and CasaPound.
Shootings like this are fairly rare in places like Italy, where firearms are not widely available to anybody who wants them, but attacks on immigrants and refugees have been on the rise in Europe as the continent’s far-right fascists emerge from the woodwork and rise in prominence as Europe struggles to deal with the endless migration of refugees and opportunity-seekers from Africa and the Middle, the children of colonialism coming home and asking for a seat at the table.
The issue of immigration has become the dominant theme of modern politics as the chronic instability left in the wake of the West’s imperialist ambitions, the concentration of resources and opportunities by Western elites and a rapidly changing climate all have contributed to high levels of immigration as millions of people, neglected and abused by the unfeeling hand of capitalism, move in search of their share of the wealth and the opportunities they deserve.
In both the United States and in Europe, far-right wing politicians like Donald Trump are hard at work attempting to convince the populace that the immigrants are culturally incompatible and undeserving to share their societies with them.
We know where that kind of rhetoric leads all too well. It begins with street harassment and progresses to shooting sprees, targeted hate crimes, and pogroms. Under President Trump, the frequency of hate crimes and especially anti-Muslim sentiment has skyrocketed in his first year in office.
Liberal and leftist groups must fight tooth and nail to protect immigrants and to ensure that they feel welcome in our nations; we cannot and must not continue to allow the superficial differences of nationality, skin color, religion, or culture to keep us from recognizing the inherent humanity within each person and to divide us from our human family out of selfishness, fear, and ignorance.