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How dare a black man tell us to stand in line?

Daboma Jack with his wife and child following the incident.

Daboma Jack with his wife and child following the incident.

I could bet my bottom dollar that were it a Maltese burly, foul-mouthed bully who was believed to have caused some commotion at the Valletta bus terminus, the police would have let him off with a friendly shoulder pat and the template ‘ejja nimxu siehbi’.

But Daboma Jack, a black Hungarian on a study holiday in Malta, falls into a different category and in the eyes of too many, his crime was unforgiveable. As he tried to organise an unruly queue of angry commuters as they attempted to top up the new Tallinja bus card, a Maltese woman first spat at him three times, then screeched at him to go back to his country (of course) and then slapped him… before the coward run away.

According to witnesses, the policeman present just watched the spectacle before three RIU officers swooped in to - wait for it - arrest the black man!

Just when you thought it wasn’t possible, the police managed to plummet to new pits.

As much as I and several others will find this incident outrageous, we are already seeing an army of racists going through great pains to condone both the police’s and the Maltese woman’s behaviour.

It’s symptomatic of a pitiful island mentality, where many have refused to acknowledge anything different to us, living among us. If he ain’t white and Christian, then he has no place on this island.

Too many of us still categorise individuals in terms of skin colour. Daboma Jack is a Hungarian chemical engineer on a one-year study trip to Malta, but for many he is just a black man and therefore only good enough to collect our rubbish.

If sticking up for the most basic human dignity, irrespective of colour or creed makes me a traitor to my country, then I’m proud to be called one

How dare he tell us to stand in an orderly line when we are so disciplined? How dare he even utter a word to try to get a basic public service in a fellow EU country like his?

What’s scandalous is that the police seen using excessive force to arrest the Hungarian man have not yet been suspended, or at least heavily reprimanded, pending the outcome of the investigation. That’s what would have happened in any other country, which has a semblance of respect for law and order.

Fine, the police have since apologised, fine we will wait for the outcome of the investigation, but I’ve been in this business long enough to fear that such investigations will often go to great lengths to exonerate the public officer.

I know. I was present in January 2005 when a group of migrants were beaten with batons by army officers for merely holding a peaceful protest at a detention centre months before we witnessed an embarrassing whitewash of an inquiry.

It’s sad that in 2015 we Maltese remain imbued with this misguided superiority complex, where we still listen to cretins take great pleasure in telling foreigners to go back to their country while the rest of us watch on in constrained silence.

This is the core of the problem. Too many of us remain reluctant to do anything, to speak out against what is blatantly wrong, to protest about this disease lest we are branded traitors.

Well, if sticking up for the most basic human dignity, irrespective of colour or creed makes me a traitor to my country, then I’m proud to be called one!

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