It's been a few days where violence and criminal acts in Valls are in the news day in and day out.
The security approach through police pressure and cameras has not solved, as was to be expected, problems that come from a long time ago, and which should have been focused on from the very beginning from the social and prevention side. Many people are already talking about this violence, and this is not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the violence exercised by the part of the population that does not live in poverty or need to go to social services to make ends meet. The part of the population that does not live in marginality and that is assumed to have a higher cultural or educational level than marginalized people.
I'm referring to all those voices that come out to ask that "this shit" not be allowed to enter the city, that it be "cleaned up" and criticize the call effect of helping people. This is also violence and is just as reprehensible as the other. Well, maybe it's worse because it comes from people who have had tools and opportunities to be better people, and with this violence they add more fuel to the fire, more marginalization and close the doors that should always be open, those of inclusion , dignity and those of a way out of the difficult situations experienced by people with few resources.
A violence that feeds racism and aporophobia and that starts from a collective blindness, because it seems that we do not see, or do not want to see, what is in front of us.
That the root of the problem lies in poverty and marginality, and in this type of crime, the person who commits it is both a victim and how to prevent these victims and stop the causes that push them to commit crime is the real and long term solution.
That not letting in, kicking out, controlling, monitoring, recording with cameras, belittling, starving, degrading or insulting the people who find themselves there has never, I repeat, never, been a solution. At most it moves the problem from one place to another and in many cases increases it.
Let's not forget that no one chooses to be poor or marginalized. These are conditions to which people are pushed and which are at the root of many people who are driven to drug addictions and crime. Another issue is criminals with ties and those who commit crimes despite being integrated. But these are a separate issue, and are not affected by the violence I am talking about.
Among this two violences, I can tell you that the one that scares me the most is the second one, which pushes us into a racist, unempathetic, vindictive society where people are not cared for but punished. A society where the fear of the other moves people to close themselves off, exclude, insult and not help those who need it most.
It is precisely in these moments that we have to choose where we take steps, whether walking towards an inclusive society that cares for all people or one where everyone only cares about their own problems and the fear of the other does not let us see the human drama behind each person.
We have to choose whether to put resources into police or social workers, whether to put them into cameras or education, whether we bet on further oppressing the oppressed or do the not-so-easy exercise of putting ourselves in the other person's shoes.
It's easy to be a pacifist in peace times, to be conciliatory when there is no conflict, to be an environmentalist when I don't have to give up comfort, to be a feminist when I don't have to give up privileges. But where we show that we are really committed to a culture of peace is when in the midst of conflict, in the midst of violence, we decide to be non-violent, when we stop straining and oppressing and start working to integrate and care for everyone.
Let's stop our violence, let's not get lost in populist visions based on fear. It is necessary to rethink the society model from its root, a capitalist society that does not care of people but of capital, and which is at the root of great economic and social inequalities.
We should never forget the fact that our enemy is not the criminal but crime, it is not the poor but poverty, and only by helping people to get out of it can we say that we live with dignity and decency.
Opinion article published in different newspapers in the context of insecurity and crime in Valls.