“A couple that can no longer stands each other’s annoying habits can divorce and live happy separate lives. For people suffering daily from discriminations and racism, there's no divorce.”
Speaking at the commemoration that marked three years since the murder of Lassana Cisse, I exposed the reality of Coloured people in Malta.
"Every time I have to speak about institutionalised racism or discriminations, I feel the same emotions that a long-time married couple probably feels about each other’s annoying habits.
They have spoken about them so many times, without any improvement and they have come up with a compromise: accept each other as they are, or get divorce.
Me, we, people from African descent, Coloured, Brown, Black people, we have spoken so extensively about racism and discrimination based merely on our skin colour, that it is incomprehensible why there is not yet a viable solution to all the ills that we denounce. Here in Malta, Black people are barred from entry in nightclubs, they are treated with criminal negligence at the hospitals, they have to seek help from their White friends to rent an apartment, to book a restaurant, even to open their own businesses. Every aspect of their daily life can turn into misery, and no one is held accountable.
Speaking about negligence and unaccountability:
On the 6th April 2019, Lassana Cisse and two other migrants, Ibrahim Bah and Mohammed Jallow were shot in a racially-motivated drive-by shooting in Halfar. Laasana Cisse succumbed to his wounds. He died.
Francesco Fenech and Lorin Scicluna, two soldiers of the Armed Forces of Malta were arrested and charged with alleged murder and attempted murder.
As we speak today, Lassana Cisse’s body is still at the mortuary at Malter dei Hospital and the two suspected murderers walk free. That is how bad it is.
We all here today know that if Lassana Cisse , Mohammed Jellow and Ibrahim Bah were White people with blond hair and blue eyes, the story would be totally different.
We hear that Lassana’s body is still in Malta because of travel restrictions due to Covid. Ivory Coast, where Lassana comes from, is a Dark Red zone country. Meaning that no one from Ivory Coast can enter Malta without going through strict screening, and only with the special authorisation from the health authorities.
We also hear that Ukraine was in the Dark red zone list prior to Russia invasion, but all restrictions were lifted in order to allow people fleeing to easily find safety, as they must, as they deserve. Lassana’s family deserves to have their son’s body. They deserve to bury and mourn him with dignity. He was killed because the system failed him, and even after his death, we still see that failure.
A couple that can no longer stand each other’s annoying habits can divorce and live happy separate lives. For people suffering daily from discriminations and racism, there's no divorce. We are bound to live together and we must create decent life opportunities for all. The planet earth belongs to all of us humans, and we have the right to live in it as happily as we can be.
While fleeing from Russian bombs in Ukraine, African students were barred from crossing the borders into the EU. Black Lives matter as much as White Lives.
There is work to do in our fight for a fair world and we will continue to do it, to speak up, because simply, we cannot divorce. "