“Racism is notorious for making what should be an aberration look as if it were something natural.

………Aleppo, Samarkand, Cairo, Isfahan, Fez, Timbuktu, Damascus, Baghdad, Toledo, Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Marrakech, Carthage, Bukhara, and scores of other cities were shining with the light of learning and civilization centuries before Europe saw the light of Renaissance, let alone the wisdom of Enlightenment. 

This is not about who was civilized before whom, but about a Eurocentric racism that sees civilization only through the prism of blue eyes and fair skin.”

AMEWA AT THE GATE; Kwaku Opoku, 100 x 80 cm, Acrylic, Gouache & Pastel on canvas; 2021. Courtesy of the artist.

“At the time when Ukrainians are suffering from an unjustified war waged by Vladimir Putin, you would think that reporters, journalists and commentators would resort to what is common to humanity to defend the right of Ukrainians to life, as a sovereign people; but unfortunately, racism is like poverty, you chase it out of the door and it will creep back through the window. 

Racism shows itself not in normal situations when people painstakingly hide their real attitudes but in dire situations, i.e. when the specter of war is at the doorstep of Europe again, something unseen since WWII. 

When fear and anguish overcome reason, the demons of bigotry find their way to the surface. 

The Hungarian photographer could not help but kick a Syrian refugee a few years ago although her role was to report an event rather than prevent it. 

In the heat of action, visceral reactions overcome calm and professional attitudes.”

UNTITLED: Benjamin Bio, leaves pigments, charcoal and paper collage on canvas; 30 x 45 inches, 2022. Courtesy of Defia Gallery.

“If reporters, journalists, and commentators lead the way in reproducing an orientalist rhetoric of racism and ethnocentrism, what will the layman say or do? 

If opinion leaders are blatantly racist, especially Westerners who never cease to lecture others about universal human rights, that should be worrying to everyone but especially to political leaders who want to use the moral high ground to defeat Putin and his oligarchs. 

Europe and the West need to do a lot of soul searching when it comes to their hidden and not so well hidden attitudes towards others be they Blacks, Arabs, Latinos, Muslims, Asians, and Jews. 

It is easy to have ready-made stereotypes that help us navigate the thicket of modern day politics amid a plurality of voices, interests and shifting alliances. 

But it is challenging to have a critical attitude towards one’s prejudice, a deconstructive stance that would put the World and how we conceive it in a dynamic perspective that we critique as we move on.

 The former is complacent but dangerous. 

The second is unsettling but important for a multicultural and hyper-connected world.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *