As members of the Faculty of Education, University of Malta, we have observed recent events marking the fall-out from the callous murder by insensitive members of the US repressive state apparatus after having been filled with revulsion and indignation at news of the act. We realise that this is the latest in a series of acts of violence against African-Americans harking back to slavery and its aftermath, the Jim Crow laws and subsequent murders and humiliation of Black people in the US. This is an opportunity to reflect on racism throughout the world and within our own shores. Malta alas has not been immune to cases of overt violence, in addition to many forms of symbolic violence, against blacks in a variety of places sometimes resulting in the killing of innocent people ostensibly because of public disturbance but more likely because of cases of white or ‘shades of white’ supremacy over and antipathy towards people of a particular skin colour. All this culminated in the wanton killing of Lassana Cisse, originally from the Côte d'Ivoire, for the alleged sport of people belonging to the country's Armed Forces. The very same people who are meant to protect human beings from incidents of racism were, hardly over one year ago, the alleged perpetrators of this very same racist act in its murderous form. The US events therefore have a particular resonance in our country which is relatively new to the issue of race relations.
The Faculty, which has been teaching anti-racist education since the start of the new millennium and some of whose members have been taken to task in the media for 'inventing an issue that does not exist', is committed to this aspect of society in Malta and Gozo. Faculty members have also been victims of Right wing attacks, on web pages and other places for their pedagogical and social stances on the issue.
The Faculty seeks to prepare students in anti-racist, multicultural, multi-faith based education, at both the theoretical and practical levels. We know however that these efforts are never enough. We need to intensify our efforts against the racist scourge and drive home the point that anti-racist education should be a feature of all levels of education in Maltese society from schools to adult and higher education and across all sectors of the country, including prisons, law courts, the health sector, transport services, housing services, employment agencies, continuing professional development programmes, journalism (print, broadcast and online), advertising and so forth. People in the Faculty specialising in this multi-faceted area are ready to work with all those interested in contributing to an ongoing all-embracing effort in this regard. We realise that, although it does and cannot change things on its own, education can still make a positive and crucial contribution to a broad effort in tackling racism head on. All lives matter and ought to be dignified, irrespective of colour.