In solidarity with Asian communities under racist and sexist attack, we also publish the open letter of April 16th 2021 of the project group of the Asian Film Network (BAFNET), Deutsche Asiat*innen Make Noise (DAMN*), DIASPOR.ASIA, ichbinkeinvirus.org and korientation, the network for Asian-German perspectives e.V.:
For Daoyou Feng, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Soon Chung Park, Xiaojie Tan and Yong Ae Yue
Atlanta – what exactly happened?
Against anti-Asian racism and silence! For cross-community solidarity and decolonized remembrance!
Exactly one month ago today, on March 16, 2021, six Asian immigrant women from China and Korea and two white clients were murdered in three Asian massage parlors in Atlanta, Georgia by a young white Christian fundamentalist. Activists from Asian-diasporic communities held a candlelight vigil for the victims of the racist and sexist attacks at the Peace Statue Against Sexual Violence Towards Women in Berlin on March 23, 2021. A rally was also held in front of Brandenburg Gate across from the U.S. Embassy on March 28, 2021.
We are a diverse group of people with different stories, from different Asian German communities, as well as from other Asian diasporas. We demonstrate transnational solidarity with Asian American communities. With our political engagement and action, we want to raise awareness for and oppose anti-Asian racism. This can only be done in solidarity with the fight against other forms of racism as well as sexism and classism!
With dismay, we notice that the socio-political significance of this anti-Asian mass murder continues to not be recognised in the U.S. and, to an even lesser-degree, in Germany. Politically, the massacre of innocent and unarmed victims has not yet been classified as a terrorist attack, nor has it been prosecuted as a racially-motivated hate crime. Yet, there is no question that the murders were premeditated and targeted Asian women in Asian-diasporic areas with inhuman brutality. Given the scale and gravity of this event, we are disappointed and angry; however, we are not surprised that the majority of German media has paid little to no attention to it. Furthermore, insufficient information was reported on the historical and social context and background. German politics and society have also failed to acknowledge these murders. These failures perpetuate a tradition in which anti-Asian racism is systematically underestimated in society, institutionally negated, and still, too often, made invisible.
We reject the vilification and refuse to be scapegoats for the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 3,750 attacks against Asian Americans have been recorded in the U.S. since the beginning of 2020. In Germany, too, verbal and physical attacks on Asian Germans have risen drastically. The fact that statistics on anti-Asian racism only started to be gathered and documented recently, is telling. Yet, anti-Asian racism is not a new phenomenon in Germany. A system of anti-Asian racism established roots in Germany when Germany colonized Chinese and Pacific territories in the 19th century. The racist pogroms in Hoyerswerda in 1991 and in Rostock-Lichtenhagen in 1992, as well as the murders of Nguyễn Ngọc Châu and Đỗ Anh Lân in Hamburg in 1980, Phan Văn Toản in Fredersdorf in 1997, Duy-Doan Pham in Neuss in 2011, and the rape and murder of Yangjie Li in Dessau in 2016, among others, demonstrate examples of historical continuity. Our commitment against anti-Asian racism is fundamentally connected to anti-racist struggles and historical experiences of other communities of color. This includes, for example, confronting NSU terrorism, the attack in Hanau, and our support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
One year after the racist terrorist attack in Hanau, there is still no federal strategy to combat racism. It remains unclear how the measures presented by the Kabinettausschuss gegen Rechtsextremismus und Rassismus (Cabinet Committee for the Fight Against Right-Wing Extremism and Racism) are to be implemented. The CDU’s blocking of the Demokratiefördergesetz (the Democracy Promotion Law) also demonstrates, once again, that the fight against racism and right-wing extremism is not prioritized and that the commitment of civil society organisations is not valued.