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Your Friend and Helper?

Vienna’s police have a dismal record of racism, and the courts aren’t doing much to change it. Yet, there are signs of change.

Justice Served?

Justice Served?

Toni walks down a long hall in the Vienna courthouse (Landesgericht für Strafsachen), his regard fixed ahead of him, his gait relaxed, a slight tremble in his hand. At the end of the hall his two assailants from the night of his beating stand waiting to enter the courtroom. As he enters with a solemn […]

The Obama Factor

At the Amerikahaus, Simon Inou was in constant motion, organizing the last details for the Radio Afrika & Co celebration of the inauguration of Barack Obama, a consortium of NGO’s representing the migrant communities in Vienna supported by the U.S. Embassy. We caught him in the final moments before the festivities were to begin. The […]

Members Only

Members Only

“I’m sorry ma’am, I cannot allow you to enter. The bar is full,” says one of the two black-clad doormen that has stepped forward to block the entrance. Only seconds later, two other guests arrive and walk straight in, past the bouncers, without any interference. “If the bar is full, how come those guests were […]

VIS Teacher Victim of Police Brutality

VIS Teacher Victim of Police Brutality

“As soon as I got off I got hit. Before I could even see what happened I was on my back, my backpack still on. My head hit the concrete, and there was a guy on top of me, throwing punches. He didn’t say a word.” This is how Vienna International School (VIS) teacher and […]

Racism Still a “Kavaliersdelikt”

The Karl Kraus Room of Café Griensteidl was packed with journalists on Mar. 20, when ZARA, Austria’s non-profit organization documenting incidents of discrimination and racial attacks, presented the annual Racism Report for 2007. Since 2000, the organization has published the only comprehensive annual report on racism in Vienna. While by no means systematic, as this […]

The Migration Myth

The Migration Myth

With all the discussion about the pros and cons of immigration, it is easy to get the impression that Austria is Xenophobic. Vienna residents of Brigittenau demonstrated on Sept. 13 against the building of a mosque and cultural centre in their neighbourhood, launching a flood of debate, while right-wing politicians like the Freedom Party’s Heinz […]

Bruno Kreisky Prize 2007: ZARA vs. Racism

Bruno Kreisky Prize 2007:  ZARA vs. Racism

Siding with minorities against the establishment is not usually the way to win awards – in Austria, or anywhere.  Thus receiving the Bruno Kreisky Prize for Human Rights 2007 was a big deal for ZARA, the Austrian anti-Racism organisation. “The prize is an important recognition,” said Barbara Liegl, Director of ZARA at the award ceremony, […]

Rough Welcome

In early March, the annual report of ZARA (the Verein für Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit, not the store) arrived in my mail box. The report of the Austrian NGO, meticulous in detail, describes pages of incidents – 1,500 in 2006 – of daily racism against minority groups, especially blacks, living or visiting Austria. The report caught […]

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