AN APPEAL FOR SOLIDARITY DURING THE EPIDEMIC

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is appealing for solidarity with all those who have suffered violence and discrimination because of their origins or ethnicity in connection with the coronavirus epidemic in the past days and weeks.

 

Members of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association have documented cases such as the aggressive behaviour towards students from China from Polish students of the Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport or the brutal beating of a Chinese-born cook who has lived in Wroclaw (Poland) for 25 years. In Warsaw, a group of young men and women shouted ‘coronavirus’ in the faces of three young Vietnamese women studying at the Polish university Collegium Civitas. Three teenagers in the Polish town of Lukow attacked a Vietnamese woman living there. They shouted ‘you are from China’, ‘you have coronavirus’, ‘get the f.ck out of here you Chinese slut!’, threw garbage at her, spat in her direction and when she tried to walk away, they followed her. Similarly, people belonging to other minorities have been experiencing xenophobia. For example, many hostels have used the new health regulations as a reason for insisting that all non-Polish nationals, mainly Ukrainians, vacate their rooms immediately. Xenophobic comments and conspiracy theories are becoming increasingly common on the internet.

NEVER AGAIN’ has noted similar acts of hostility towards people of Asian origin occurring in other countries all over the world, including France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, and the USA. The victims have suffered physical and verbal abuse. Examples include: in Berlin (Germany) two women brutally beat up a Chinese woman who then needed hospital treatment for head wounds. In Bologna (Italy) four people attacked a 15 year old boy of Chinese origin. They kicked his whole body shouting ‘What are you doing in Italy? Get out! You are spreading disease.’ In Brussels (Belgium) near the Southern railway station, an attacker punched a man of Asian origin in the face. In London (UK) a Singaporean man was punched in the face while the perpetrator shouted at him: ‘I don’t want your coronavirus in my country.’ In the USA, one of the passengers on the New York subway attacked a man of Asian origin demanding that he leave the train, hurling insults and spraying him with an unknown substance. On a San Francisco bus an elderly lady verbally abused a 14 year old girl, accusing the Chinese of spreading the virus.

-‘The virus of racism and hatred can be as dangerous as the coronavirus’ – states the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association. -‘In difficult times, we need global solidarity and cooperation to meet the common global challenges more than ever.’

On 21 March 1960, in Sharpeville (South Africa) the police shot 61 peaceful demonstrators who were protesting against the racist system of apartheid. The United Nations General Assembly declared a Week of Solidarity with the People Struggling Against Racism and Racial Discrimination beginning on 21 March.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has campaigned against racism, antisemitism, and xenophobia, both in Poland and internationally.

Additional information:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ 

‘NEVER AGAIN’ WELCOMES ICJ RULING ON MYANMAR GENOCIDE AHEAD OF INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has welcomed the International Court of Justice ruling on the case concerning genocide against the Rohingya minority committed in Myanmar (Burma).

The ICJ, based in The Hague (Netherlands), ruled on 23 January that Myanmar must protect the Rohingya population. The court ordered Myanmar to take emergency measures to prevent genocide against the Rohingya.

Co-founder of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Rafal Pankowski was present in The Hague on the day of the ruling. He said: – ‘We welcome the ICJ decision and hope justice for the Rohingya will be delivered. Myanmar’s greatness is to be found in her diversity and the Rohingya must be treated with respect, their rights as citizens must be fully restored, their suffering must be recognized and compensated. Symbolically, the ICJ ruling was announced just days before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on 27th January, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Genocide and genocide denial must not be ignored by the international community.’

The Rohingya have been described by the United Nations as the world’s most persecuted ethnic minority.

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Members of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association had visited Myanmar in solidarity with the local human rights activists in August 2018. In November 2019, representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Rafal Pankowski and Natalia Sineaeva visited the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar (Bangladesh). During the visit, representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ met with refugees as well as medical personnel and civil society representatives.

Also on 23 January, in the run up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association’s representative Anna Tatar delivered a keynote speech at a conference on ‘The Rise of Hate Crimes and the Role of Youth in Countering Them’, co-organized with Warsaw’s Collegium Civitas university and the Youth for Peace student group under the heading ‘Varsovians against Violence’. Students coming from numerous countries and continents demonstrated their solidarity with the victims of hate crimes and hate speech in Poland and elsewhere.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. It has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.neveragainassociation.org

www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity

www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

‘BROWN BOOK’ – A MEMENTO

To mark the International Human Rights Day, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has published a new edition of the ‘BROWN BOOK’, which constitutes documentation of hate crimes, racist and xenophobic incidents. This report collects acts of violence and examples of extremist hate speech in Poland in 2019.

– ‘Memory of the tragic past obligates us to take responsibility for words, especially in the age of the internet and its unlimited range’ – said Dr. Anna Tatar from the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, the main author of the ‘Brown Book’. She added, ‘In this monitoring project we note numerous cases of language used in order to incite hatred against entire groups. This propaganda is conducive to physical aggression’.

In the ‘Brown Book’, during the last few months the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association noted numerous acts of violence against people belonging to sexual minorities in particular. Contempt for these people manifests itself in public announcements of politicians and journalists, as well as members of the clergy. In recent elections to the Sejm (the Polish Parliament), seats were won by extreme-right activists under the banner of the Confederation (Konfederacja) group, which demands punishments such as ‘flogging’ for homosexuality (Grzegorz Braun), announces ‘kicking out of LGBT from Polish public space’ (Robert Winnicki), or ‘slaughtering of those elite groups which promote deviancy’ (Janusz Korwin-Mikke).

The ‘Brown Book’ documents selected incidents from 2019, such as: beatings, damage to cemeteries and monuments dedicated to minorities, extreme nationalist demonstrations, racist and homophobic insults, cases of hate speech in the media, and acts of discrimination, as well as ideologically motivated signs of hostility towards minority groups. The list also includes examples of incidents in which football fans took part, amongst other acts, the unfurling of racist and xenophobic flags in stadiums, or shouting offensive slogans during football games.

Some of the many incidents documented in the ‘Brown Book’ include:

On a Warsaw municipal public transport bus, two men attacked a sixteen-year-old high school student for homophobic reasons. (Zabki near Warsaw, 3rd January).

A group of assailants shouted xenophobic abuse and assaulted a citizen of Ukraine who was an employee of a transport company. During a taxi ride, they demanded that the driver change the music to ‘disco polo’. When he refused, they stated that he ‘does not respect the country, to which he came’, abused him verbally, and shouted ‘You f…ing Ukrainian, go back to where you came from,’ (Warsaw, the night of 8th March).

One resident of a housing complex attacked his neighbour for homophobic reasons. He shouted, ‘You faggot!’, and punched him in the face with his fist (Warsaw, 14th March).

Unknown perpetrators damaged a plaque commemorating Jews murdered by the Nazi Germans during World War Two. Two swastikas were painted on the stone plaque (Otwock, 6th April).

Residents of the town of Pruchnik took part in a rite known as the ‘hanging of Judas’ which has antisemitic undertones. They dragged an effigy through the streets, flogged it with sticks, and finally set fire to the huge straw doll, which resembled a stereotypical Orthodox Jew (Pruchnik, April 19).

On the wall of a Jewish cemetery, someone painted a set of gallows with the word ‘Jude’ (Jew in German) hung from them (Oswiecim, 21st April).

Two men attacked a black student from the United States who was participating in a Holocaust research tour (Warsaw, 30th May).

In an elementary school, an eleven-year-old pupil with Asperger’s Syndrome, was harassed. The school principal as well as one teacher reportedly humiliated her, derided her, called her names, and threatened her (Szynkielow, 11th June).

An unidentified man used racist name-calling and brutally attacked a citizen of India (Aleksandrow Lodzki, 21st June).

A man attacked a woman wearing a hijab and her three-month-old baby. He shouted: ‘Get the f…ck out, you dirty people,’ and made the gesture of the fascist ‘Heil Hitler’ salute, shouting ‘White power!’ (Rzeszow, 2nd August).

Four assailants mugged and verbally abused an employee of a kebab bar who was a citizen of Bangladesh (Lodz, night of 21st September).

A parking attendant attacked a citizen of Egypt for racist reasons. He shouted at him, ‘F…k off from our country’ (Lodz, 15th October).

The initiator and creator of the ‘Brown Book’ for many years was the late Marcin Kornak (1968-2014), the founder of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association. Its title was inspired by the history of anti-Nazi resistance. This documentation has continued for over twenty years, and has earned international recognition as the most reliable and independent source of information related to xenophobic violence in Poland.

In 2019, the ‘Brown Book’ has won the support of the Citizens Fund, governed by the Fund for Poland under the honorary patronage of Adam Bodnar, the Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman). In 2018 he received the Norwegian Thorolf Rafto Prize, awarded for championing human rights and independent judiciary in Poland. In accordance with the wishes of Adam Bodnar, this prize was donated to the Citizens Fund to promote human rights activism in Poland.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organisation established in Warsaw in 1996. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has campaigned against racism, antisemitism, and xenophobia, both in Poland and internationally.

The selection of racist and xenophobic incidents for 2019, documented in the ‘Brown Book’ can be found in: https://www.nigdywiecej.org//docstation/com_docstation/172/brown_book_2019.pdf

More information:

www.neveragainassociation.org

www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity

www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

 

‘NEVER AGAIN’ ACTIVE IN BANGLADESH

Members of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association participated in the international conference ‘Genocide and Justice with a special focus on the Rohingya persecution’ held at the Liberation War Museum in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. They also participated in meetings in other Bangladeshi cities.

The conference was opened by the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr A.K. Abdul Momen and attended by academics and activists from the countries of South Asia and beyond.

It took place on 16-18 November 2019. The discussions covered a broad spectrum of topics related to genocide and human rights.

In her speech during the concluding ceremony Natalia Sineaeva remembered the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto. She stressed: – ‘It is our task, genocide scholars, museum workers, and human rights activists to apply the experience of the past atrocities to prevent future violence and to address contemporary examples of human rights violations.’ Natalia Sineaeva (who is a Rotary Peace Fellow Alumni and IEP Peace Ambassador) was also a panelist during a conference session on ‘Ensuring Justice through Art Forms and Memorialisation’ where she presented several case studies of genocide museums and memory sites in Europe and Asia.

‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association co-founder and Collegium Civitas Professor Rafal Pankowski provided a presentation entitled: ‘The Holocaust in Poland and Genocide in Asia: Does the Tragic Past Bring Us Closer?’ Among other things, he highlighted the current ‘White Rose’ initiative of Buddhist Burmese youth in solidarity with the persecuted Muslims in Myanmar. It was apparently inspired by the anti-Nazi resistance group under the same name during the Third Reich.

Ven. Thirasattho Bhikkhu Lablu Barua, a Buddhist scholar and peace activist based in Thailand (a PhD candidate at the Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University and an IEP Peace Ambassador) who is a longtime friend of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association‎ also actively participated in the conference discussions. He emphasized the importance of intercultural understanding and awareness in addressing conflict and warned against the frequent manipulation of religion by extremist propaganda.

Moreover, members of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ partook in a number of meetings with Bangladeshi‎ intellectuals and community leaders discussing future cooperation. It included a meeting with Shahriar Kabir, the president of the Forum for Secular Bangladesh and Trial of War Criminals of 1971 and general secretary of the South Asian People’s Union against Fundamentalism & Communalism. The veteran writer, journalist and film maker reminisced how the knowledge about the Holocaust and World War II in Poland inspired him in his quest for justice for the victims of the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh.

The representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ also joined in an activity organized by Mohra Century Morning Friends – a unique project in the southern city of Chittagong bringing together members of the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian communities of all ages through joint sports and music activities‎ in a region threatened by communal strife and conflict.

Importantly, members of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ visited one of the world’s largest refugee camps located in the region of Cox’s Bazaar‎ near the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar. The Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are survivors of the ongoing genocidal campaign conducted by the Myanmar military. They have been described by the United Nations as the world’s most persecuted ethnic minority. Bangladesh accepted almost one million Rohingya refugees in the recent years. During the visit, representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ met with refugees as well as medical personnel and workers of humanitarian organizations. They talked about the most pressing needs and challenges of life in the camp as well as ways to express solidarity.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.neveragainassociation.org

www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity

www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

A CLEANUP OF ANTISEMITIC PROPAGANDA ONLINE

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has managed to remove more than 3,500 items with fascist and antisemitic content through its cooperation with the major online sales platform Allegro. These included numerous copies of contemporary editions of Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ without critical commentary as well as books by David Irving, a rabidly antisemitic pseudo-historian who has denied the existence of gas chambers in Auschwitz and the extermination of six million Jews during World War II.

 Irving calls Auschwitz a ‘Disneyland’. For peddling such ideas in public, in 2006 he was sentenced to prison by a court in Austria. In 2007, thanks to an intervention by ‘NEVER AGAIN’ and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, he was removed from the International Book Fair in Warsaw. In September 2019, Irving with a group of followers planned another ‘sightseeing trip’ through the former death camps. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that his theories are unacceptable under the Polish law and he would not be allowed to enter Poland.

– ‘Upon our recommendations, Allegro removes such items, even though new ones continue to pop up and need to be removed, too; this requires much effort and commitment,’ said a member of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ team Jacek Dziegielewski. Dr Anna Tatar, also a ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association representative, adds: ‘The final decision on removal is always taken by Allegro, but in almost all the cases our interventions were successful. We have formed a partnership which allows us to counter racist and fascist propaganda very effectively. And we are talking about the biggest internet sales platform in the region of Central and Eastern Europe, with more than 21 million registered users, at a time of a general growth of antisemitic and racist hate speech in our society.’

The offers reported by ‘NEVER AGAIN’ included newly-made Third Reich flags and SS uniforms, records with Nazi music, lighters with an image of Hitler, or pendants with Mussolini.

Moreover, in cooperation with ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Allegro removed books by SS officer Leon Degrelle who praised Hitler after the war and denied the Holocaust, by Hennecke Kardel who claimed that the Jews themselves were responsible for the Holocaust, and publications glorifying the Iron Guard, a Romanian fascist group who murdered many Jews.

The legal basis for deleting the auctions are Articles 256 and 257 of the Polish Penal Code together with the provisions in Appendix No. 1 to the Allegro Code of Conduct. In 2018, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association became a partner to Allegro’s programme of ‘The Rights Protection Cooperation’ and since then helps eliminate offensive content from the platform.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent anti-racist organization established in Warsaw in 1996. Among others, it is a member of the International Network against Cyber Hate (INACH), which brings together organizations from twenty countries fighting hatred and discrimination on the Internet.

Additional information:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

‘NEVER AGAIN’ AS AN INSPIRATION FOR CIVIL SOCIETY IN ASIA

The activity of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association was the subject of a special workshop held at the prestigious Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

The two-day workshop took place on 14-15 September 2019 under the title ‘The People vs Extremism & Populist Radical Right in Europe: Impact and Experiences of European Civil Society Networks’. It focused on the experiences of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ in the field of international cooperation against racism, hate speech and hate crime. The session was conducted by Rafal Pankowski, co-founder of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association and sociology professor at Warsaw’s Collegium Civitas who has been a visiting lecturer at Chulalongkorn University in 2018 and 2019. The workshop was attended by several dozen participants from Thailand and other countries including Bangladesh, China, and France.

Chulalongkorn University was established in 1917 and its name commemorates king Chulalongkorn (Rama V), the monarch of Siam (Thailand) who abolished slavery. It is ranked among the best universities in Southeast Asia.

The workshop is one among numerous activities recently undertaken by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association together with its friends and partners in Asia. On 25-30 August, Rafal Pankowski participated in the Flying University of Transnational Humanities under the title ‘The Holocaust meets the post-colonial in the global memory space’ held at Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea. During a heated debate at that international forum, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ representative defended the importance of genocide memory as a cognitive and discursive tool and point of reference in the current-day struggles for moral, social and political progress. On 2 September, Pankowski delivered a lecture entitled ‘Nationalist populism in Central Europe: the case of Poland’ at the University of Tokyo, Japan. The model of Polish-German reconciliation was mentioned by several participants as a possible inspiration for the Korean-Japanese relationship.

On 28-30 August, Natalia Sineaeva represented ‘NEVER AGAIN’ at the international conference on ‘Genocide, Memory and Peace’ organized by UNESCO at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (the former Khmer Rouge prison and extermination centre) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. On 17-20 September, she shared the experiences of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association during the Informal Training Seminar on ‘Human Rights and Prevention of Violent Extremism’ hosted by the Asia-Europe Foundation in New Delhi, India.

Meanwhile in Poland, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has been a partner of a new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw entitled ‘Never Again. Art Against War and Fascism in the 20th and 21st Centuries’. The exhibition provoked another attack against ‘NEVER AGAIN’ on the Polish (state-controlled) television which called it ‘stupid propaganda’. Polish state TV has attacked ‘NEVER AGAIN’ already several times this year. The Polish Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman) Adam Bodnar protested against the defamation. In a formal letter to the National Council on Radio and Television, the Ombudsman wrote the attacks had ‘no substance’ and they ‘could be considered an attempt to discredit (…) actions against racism and antisemitism in Poland. The statements (…) are problematic in the light of the mission of the public media and they trivialize the danger of such harmful phenomena as hate speech and antisemitism.’

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.neveragainassociation.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

MYANMAR GENOCIDE IN FOCUS IN SEOUL

An international sports boycott of Myanmar was debated during a discussion led by a representative of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association in Seoul.

On 23-25 August 2019, ‎human rights activists from across the world gathered at the conference on ‘Protection of Rohingya Survivors and Accountability for Genocide’ held at the Sogang University, one of the leading universities of South Korea, established by the Jesuits. The opening keynote speech was delivered by Professor Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar.

Co-founder of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association Rafal Pankowski chaired the conference session ‎on ‘Travel, Culture and Governmental Relations’ which discussed the international campaigns to end genocide against the Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim minority in Myanmar.

– ‘The newly announced initiative of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) to organize a future football World Cup in Southeast Asia is an interesting opportunity for the promotion of the region, but the ongoing atrocities in Myanmar make it currently next to impossible for the proposed bid to have any credibility from the human rights perspective’ – noted Rafal Pankowski. – ‘Football can be a positive tool for peace and intercultural understanding, but FIFA must not legitimize human rights abuses. The same applies to the idea of Myanmar as a co-host of the U-20 World Cup in 2021.’

The meeting was co-organized by Korean civil society groups together with the Free Rohingya Coalition, FORSEA (Forces of Renewal of South East Asia), EuroBurma Office and Human Rights Action Centre. It was attended by over one hundred participants, including a large group of Catholic nuns and ended with a joint Buddhist-Christian-Muslim demonstration outside of the Myanmar embassy in Seoul.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent educational and research organization established in Warsaw in 1996. It has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia in Poland and internationally. Among others, it implemented the UEFA Euro 2012 ‘Respect Diversity’ programme: major educational and awareness-raising activities that took place before and during the European Football Championships in Poland and Ukraine. It also cooperates with partners in Southeast Asia in the field of genocide commemoration and prevention, peace and intercultural dialogue.

More information:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

THE MISSING PICTURE: RETHINKING GENOCIDE STUDIES AND PREVENTION

Members of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association were honoured by the invitation to speak at the global congress of the International Association of Genocide Scholars held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The IAGS conference entitled ‘The Missing Picture: Rethinking Genocide Studies and Prevention’ gathered around 500 intellectuals, researchers, and civil society representatives from all over the world. It was held at the American University of Phnom Penh on 14-19 July 2019. A special meeting with the Oscar-nominated renowned Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh was a highlight of the conference programme.

During the conference, Natalia Sineaeva presented a paper on ‘Museums as Spaces for Dealing with Difficult Knowledge: Examples from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia’, Rafal Pankowski spoke on ‘Polish Entries at Tuol Sleng in 1979 and the Issues of Polish-Cambodian Genocide Analogies’. Nickey Diamond, a friend of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ from Myanmar, presented the subject of ‘Securitization of Islam in Myanmar: Security Discourse Analysis on the Mass Atrocities against Rohingya Muslims’.

After the conference, Natalia Sineaeva, Rafal Pankowski and Ali Al-Asani conducted two full-day workshops in Phnom Penh under the heading ‘An Introduction to the History of the Holocaust’. The well-attended workshops (in English and Khmer languages) were co-organized by ‘NEVER AGAIN’ and the Heinrich Boell Foundation Cambodia and took place at the office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation on 23 and 27 July. Around fifty participants included Cambodian human rights activists, academics and students. The themes of genocide, resistance and dealing with the past were discussed alongside the parallels and differences between the tragic chapters of European and Asian histories.

– ‘We want to share our knowledge, but our aim is also to learn from our Cambodian friends, from their unique perspective and experiences’ – said Natalia Sineaeva, a ‘NEVER AGAIN’ member and International Rotary Peace Fellow 2018.

The activities in Cambodia illustrate the long-standing commitment of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association to support genocide commemoration and prevention, peace and intercultural dialogue both in Europe and in the region of Southeast Asia. Future Polish-Cambodian meetings, publications and other activities are planned, also in cooperation with the Cambodian diaspora.

Other international events with the participation of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association members and supporters are scheduled to take place over the next weeks and months in Thailand, South Korea and Japan.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent educational and research organization established in Warsaw in 1996. It has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.nigdywiecej.org

www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity

www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

‘NEVER AGAIN’ ASSOCIATION ON A US STATE DEPARTMENT VISIT

The United States State Department and the US Embassy in Warsaw invited a representative of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association to participate in the prestigious International Visitor Leadership Program devoted to combatting violent extremism. During the three weeks (18 May – 8 June 2019) spent in Washington, Chattanooga, Montgomery, San Francisco and Boston, Dr. Anna Tatar took part in a series of meetings with representatives of various American institutions, NGOs, journalists and leaders of local communities. 

– ‘America is a country built by immigrants from many places around the world and I was able to observe what such diversity means. We met many people who had come to the USA from the farthest corners of the globe, as well as first, or next generations immigrants born in the States. Respect for the fact that their identity may be complex and subject to personal choices is one of the most important contemporary issues,’ said Ms. Tatar. – ‘At the same time, racial discrimination is still a serious problem, which is manifested most of all in the American justice system. One of the frequent topics of our discussions was the violent behaviour of the police towards Afro-American citizens.’

During her stay in the USA, Anna Tatar visited places with significant ties to the history of slavery and racial persecution, including Montgomery, Alabama, which in the nineteenth century was the centre of slave trade. She visited the Baptist church at Dexter Avenue, known for its famous pastor, Civil Rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. She was honoured to meet Mrs. Jeannie Graetz, who together with her husband, Rev. Robert Graetz, supported the so-called bus boycott (a peaceful protest against racial segregation on the public transport system) and then became a leading figure in the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ representative also visited the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC and the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Centre, which is one of the largest mosques and Muslim culture centres in the USA. At the editorial office of ‘TIME’ magazine she had the opportunity to take part in discussions about the standards of public debate and the levels of hate speech in Poland and the USA. During these meetings, she presented the activities of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association and referred to the examples of xenophobic violence documented in the ‘Brown Book’ prepared by the Association.

Following her US trip, on 14 June, Anna Tatar participated in an international conference on hate speech organized in Vienna by The World of NGOs together with the Faculty of Political Science of Vienna University. As a member of the discussion panel, the representative of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ elaborated on the long-term activities undertaken by the Association against the spread of racist propaganda on the Internet. She talked about the problem of inadequate enforcement of the laws against the propagation of hatred. As an example, she described the fascist concerts which have been freely organized in Poland for many years now.

On May 29, 2019, the Warsaw-Praga District Court dismissed criminal proceedings brought against Anna Tatar. She had been accused of libel in connection with critical statements made about an extreme-nationalist event known as the Eagle’s Nest Festival. The court upheld the verdict of the court of first instance and confirmed that there was a ‘complete lack of factual grounds for the accusation’. It was emphasised in the judgement that the representative of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association had the right to speak in a legitimate defence of the public interest. 

In May 2019, Anna Tatar and Joanna Naranowicz were awarded prizes by the Australian-based Jerzy Boniecki Independent Foundation for the Promotion of Polish Culture (Polcul) for their roles in the activities of ‘NEVER AGAIN’. The award ceremony took place at the Warsaw Uprising Museum on 25 May. Joanna Naranowicz is a vocalist of the rock band Qulturka and the animator of the ‘Music Against Racism’ campaign – she received a distinction for ‘the continuous and extremely effective propagation of pluralism and tolerance, and her efforts in combating ethnic and religious prejudices’. Anna Tatar received one for ‘propagating tolerance and pluralism in relation to ethnic and religious minorities and for her journalistic and scientific work over many years relating to the sources of xenophobia and racist violence.’

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

‘MUSIC AGAINST RACISM’ LIVES ON

The NEVER AGAIN Association has released a special vinyl record to commemorate Marcin Kornak, the late founder and chairman of NEVER AGAIN, one of the stalwarts of the Polish anti-racism movement. 20 March marks the fifth anniversary of his passing and 21 March is the UN International Day Against Racism.

Marcin Kornak (1968-2014) launched the high-profile campaigns ‘Music Against Racism’ and ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out of Stadiums’. As the editor-in-chief of the NEVER AGAIN journal, he initiated the ground-breaking register of hate crimes in Poland known as the ‘Brown Book’. For his civil society activism, Marcin was awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta, one of Poland’s highest distinctions. Moreover, the Friends of Integration Association, working in the field of disabled people’s rights, granted him the title of Person Without Barriers (Marcin was physically disabled since he had had a serious accident at the age of 15). He was also an Ambassador for the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE).

The special EP entitled ‘I Know My Path is Right’ includes tracks dedicated to the memory of Marcin Kornak by two Polish rock bands closely associated with NEVER AGAIN: Qulturka and Skowyt. Their songs address the issues of bigotry and violence.

Marcin Kornak, who was also an acclaimed poet and author of alternative rock lyrics, launched the Music Against Racism campaign in 1996. Over the years, numerous artists representing diverse genres joined NEVER AGAIN to say no to racism and intolerance. The NEVER AGAIN Association released a whole series of records under a common motto of Music Against Racism, including hip-hop, electronic, metal, and reggae compilations. The campaign’s emblem accompanied more than 1400 concerts and festivals, while over 300 bands put it on their album sleeves – the open white-and-black palm of a hand symbolizes peace, friendship and diversity.

The cover for ‘I Know My Path is Right’ was designed by Witold Popiel, a NEVER AGAIN activist and graduate of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. The record was produced in cooperation with the independent label Jimmy Jazz Records. As a commemorative item, it will be distributed free and will not be sold commercially.

Qulturka is a punk-rock band founded in Pila in 1995. Its partnership with NEVER AGAIN concerning anti-fascist actions dates back many years. In 2010 the band recorded an album called ‘White, Yellow, Red, Black’ in support of the Music Against Racism campaign.

Skowyt debuted with ‘Achtung, Polen!’ in 2011 released under the patronage of Music Against Racism. The band’s name – translated as The Howl – refers to Allan Ginsberg’s poem of 1956, which condemned soul-crushing conformity and helped kick off the entire Beat Generation.

The NEVER AGAIN Association was founded by Marcin Kornak in 1996. It has campaigned against racism and xenophobia, and for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally. Among others, it has conducted large-scale anti-racist activities at the Polish Woodstock festival, the biggest open-air free music festival in Europe.

More info:

I Know My Path is Right’ EP (2019): https://youtu.be/gpaewF3bgVA

Music Against Racism (issued in 1997) – the cult classic album compiled by NEVER AGAIN: http://bit.ly/2SWRrtp

www.nigdywiecej.org

www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity

www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ