Celebrating Cultures, Promoting Integration
The anti-racism demonstration took place in front of the historical General Post Office. In the same place, one hundred years ago, Irish people proclaimed independence from Great Britain. Today it was against racism while in the same time anti-Islamic PEGIDA started its activity in Ireland. The manifestation gathered a lot of people from different countries and religions. In front of The GPO “normal civils” were protesting as well as everyday activists. One of them was Dr. Ronit Lentin who is famous because of her experience collected during 40 years of fighting against racism, sexism and discrimination. She also coordinated today’s demonstration.
Dawid Pych : Are you surprised by the size of demonstration ?
Ronit Lentin : No, I expected that it will be very large.
DP : Is it representative for the whole country ?
RL : I think that it’s representative for a large number of people who don’t want to see the rise of the extreme right wing. I think lots of people are very sympathetic. I think racism does exist in Ireland, the state is not free of racism but the majority of people want to see a peaceful society and is able to share and become Irish, to live in peace and harmony. That’s the reason I’m not surprised by the size of this event.
DP : So can PEGIDA be something big here or this is only a voice of minority ?
RL : It’s just a minority. They are just trying to gather some interest. But there are some fears of Islam and some fears of migrants and they are trying to make it sound worse than it actually is. There is a group called Identity Ireland, which is an Irish Fascist organisation and they’ve invited PEGIDA to come into Ireland and they are trying to create an extreme right wing presence. To date we had no Irish extreme right wing party and they are trying to create one but I don’t think they will succeed in the future.
DP : And do you think that voice of your Dublin demonstration can be heard in different parts of Europe ?
RL : In every country they are people who are trying to fight against racism. Their voice have to be heard by governments who are not doing anything now to help refugees. Politicians are actually just closing borders and forcing new anti-terrorists laws.
DP : But there is also a lot of people who agree with them …
RL : This are the results of unawareness. People are often afraid of the possibility that Muslims will be the majorities in their countries. It’s not true.
DP : What you will say to Central Europe people who are living in Dublin and in the same time don’t want any foreigners in their countries ?
RL : That in Ireland we are very welcome for Poles or Hungarians and they should do the same for refugees from Middle East. Probably next demonstrations could change attitudes of your compatriots.
DP : Will there be more demonstrations in the next weeks ?
RL : You’ll hear about it! We’ve just managed this one now.