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Violence and Racism Between Immigrant Communities: a Taboo by Hélène de Lauzun

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Violence and Racism Between Immigrant Communities: a Taboo

The explosion of violence observed in several European countries, strongly correlated with uncontrolled immigration, is often summarised as a confrontation between native-born populations and non-European populations. But a parallel phenomenon should not be underestimated, also directly linked to immigration: the existence of racism between different immigrant communities, which can lead to serious violence, even murder. The union of mixed couples often fuels racist and violent acts. 

A recently resurfaced sordid story from April in the northern suburb of Paris, in Garges-les-Gonesse, illustrates this dramatic situation which is often hidden by the media and politicians. Brandon, a 19-year-old man of Indo-Ivorian origin, was stabbed to death outside a supermarket. At the time, the press thought it was a “sentimental drama,” but the reality appeared to be quite different: he was killed because he was dating a girl of Algerian origin. The author of the fatal blow was none other than the girl’s brother. “He couldn’t stand the relationship because Brandon was not from their community. My son died because he was black,” said Acha, the victim’s mother.

Since the murder of her boyfriend by her own brother, the young girl, called Wassila, has cut ties with her family, whose racism and exclusiveness she denounces: “They think that women have no rights and that you have to marry Algerians. I also have cousins who share this opinion.” 

Her sisters followed her path. Wassila’s older sister suffered the wrath of her father for being in a mixed couple. She says today that blows “rained down” if she or her sisters dared “to date black boys.” The young woman, now 25, agreed to testify in the columns of Le Parisien, a newspaper distributed in Paris and throughout the Ile-de-France region, to denounce the taboo of mixed couples in the suburbs: “I know that this rejection of mixed couples concerns other families in Garges,” she says. 

The media outlet also collected testimonies from several women from Garges-les-Gonesse, belonging to different communities. For many of them, the very idea of a mixed couple is unthinkable. “It would be unthinkable for me not to marry a Kurd like me. My family would not forgive me,” says 18-year-old Lilia.

Wassila’s sister, Meriem, was insulted by her father in the worst possible way: “You want to be French!” French, in this instance, signifies the occidental other, the foreign element that threatens to contaminate Algerian identity. His behaviour is clear evidence of the absolute failure of western integration and assimilation policies. But the entrenched racism within these immigrant communities also proves the inanity of the anti-racist discourse widely spread on public funds

Hélène de Lauzun studied at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris. She taught French literature and civilization at Harvard and received a Ph.D. in History from the Sorbonne. She is the author of Histoire de l’Autriche (Perrin, 2021).