MRAX (Movement against Racism, Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia) launched their week of anti-racism events in the Town hall in Brussels on Friday. The Brussels Councillor for equal opportunities, Mohamed Ouriaghli, attended. This is the 11th such event. This year’s title is “Reducing a person to a unique identity is the beginning of racism”. It is part of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation’s Platform for the fight against racism and discrimination’s current campaign.
The Councillor reminded those present that the city authorities’ are committed to the fight against racism. The theme for this week’s events is assigning identity, defined as a social construction that creates an “other” based on differentiating criteria which could justify oppression and exploitation, like slavery. The aim is to remind people that “races” don’t exist and that this type of categorisation was used to assert the domination of privileged groups. “Today, we have a situation where racists are almost in a majority and anti-racists have to justify their beliefs”, says Vincent Cornil, the director of MRAX. “The government has a discriminatory agenda and they criminalise unregistered people, categorise immigrants etc in their speeches. We do react up to a point, but we have to take back control and go on the offensive. This type of week recreates a synergy and convergence between the parties involved to form a bond of strength”.
Around 25 events have been planned. Among them is the award ceremony for the “Plume contre la racisme” competition, which will be held at the Saint-Michel theatre on Tuesday afternoon. This competition was for schools within the Brussels-Wallonia Federation. There is also a conference on the influence institutional racism has on the process of assigning identity. It will take place at the MRAX building in rue de la Poste at 7pm on Tuesday. “Bob Marrakesh” will close the week at 5pm on Sunday, at the MAGH hall in rue du Poinçon, Brussels.