Community against racism

A spate of racist attacks and racial harassment in the north Edinburgh area of Muirhouse has united the local community in opposition to the violence. Thom Dibdin reports on the situation.

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Sean Penn revels in his new. good boy image —- relatively speaking.


‘lt’s nice to have jokes where the double entendre isaboutimportant H g x I ~_ . a . A *fi {_ .. philosophicaltopics ratherthaii i f- g - g ’3‘ N . . - someone‘s bottom.‘ ~ ‘~ Ade Ethnotulson, who along with Rik Maya/l is performing in Waiting For (ioi'lot. brings a new level to Beckettian humour.

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Anti-racist campaigners in Muirhouse or some time now. a young family living with the problem in terms of its tenancy

‘Partly this is an irrational trust of

. _ , . g . , a in council housing in Muirhouse on the agreements. 3:135:23:i‘flgi‘gwfiti‘giixSiam?z periphery of Edinburgh has been the ‘Theproblem is getting proof .‘ according to the appa’rcminuhilmmmkinshon main targetofa prolonged campaign of counc1l sdepute director of housing Frank (Jill. sentences; ' ; raCIal harassment. Maria, originally ‘We have had one or two cases where we have ,4 “mm, Orgu,,,g.(,,. exp/“1,15. Wm. ; from Botswana. who is now married and evicted people for racial harassment. We also try people WON/(1pm, pr,“ mar/("101", 3 living with her husband Chris and I and take action by interdicting people from Smith as Labour leader rather than i thirteen-month-old son Donny. has been subject l carrying out racist threats.‘ The council NC” Ki’WK'k- to racist abuse since coming to live in the area. undertake to repair any damage caused by racist

‘Sometimes it‘s kids in the street shouting insults attack and to remove any racist graffiti within 48 ‘It is a sign that the last days are and throwing stones] she said in an interview hours. In some cases it is possible to arrange coming “851 UP‘m UV ' with the North Edinburgh Neii's community rehousing for the families involved. l”".lf’-“~“” -’”_“"’“"1)"€l-‘“"""l" . ~ _ newspaper. ‘but recently things have got worse.‘ This united approach to combating racism has Chmmm" “l m" {mg/“h "“W.’”““””' ' She went on to describe how Chris had witnessed been welcomed bv the Lothian Racial Equality remix.(“WWI-wm.(iWNW“ W” II”) a ‘neiohbour‘ dressed in a Union Jack Council. ‘I was pleased to see the community decision to make lhe l)av oi the C . . . . . . . . . . . . _ . . , . Jackal“ (+1“?![mam/'1 “,1”. spray—painting the wall opposite their house With initiative. LREC Director Mrs Saroy Lal told [he racist graffiti. List. ‘It is not JUSI the black community that has to , Most ofthe racism appears to have been fight. the total community must get involved. The ‘WL‘ haw “infill?” 01” WNW” 1‘5 instigated by a very small group of British aim is to isolate those who are trying to incite l3:13:53::2‘8'73‘“S National Party supporters. two ofwhom are said I racial hatred.‘ . to have moved into a flat near Maria and her ' Racism is a common experience for black

generally weaker market .‘

[)(,,(,,,S(,lhv\,‘ mumle (/1.n,(.mmj- 1 family. ~It~5 bad enough that these people are on people living in Lothian. according to .Mrs Lal. Kmh pmww “mm-mm.“ mm.” mm the streets. but when they live next door to you. and is not confined to peripheral housing estates. pritlt’t'omes berm-entail and you see them all the time. it makes life The LREC have arranged meetings with District lmPOSSlblC“ 5110 W.“- councils outside the city. where they will be The rise in attacks and increasing amount of asking for them to adopt the kind oftough policies racially offensive graffiti stimulated local people which Edinburgh has. to hold a protest rally in early September. ‘At the end ofthe day we would like to scethat Speakers. including the local MP and councillors. racism. this poison. this menace that is being

emphasised the need to combat racism at a

community level. When the harassment did not

decline. local opposition grew and the Muirhotise the people together.‘

Against Racism Campaign (MARC) was formed Further information on the work ofthe Lothian

at a packed meeting last week. . Racial Equality Cotmcilean be obtained/Orin l2/i Support for Maria and ( ‘hris has also come at an Forth Street. Edinburgh. An explanatory leaflet on

official level from the [Edinburgh District Council the Edinburgh District Council'spolicyjortheir

who have a strong policy against racism at least tenants is (ll'tlll(lbl(’ff()l7125 Waterloo Place (031

on paper. Because racial harassment is not in 225 2424).

itself a crime. the council has to attempt to deal

spread out everywhere. should be stopped.‘ says Mrs Lal. ‘Then we could live with dignity here: all

4 The List 27 sesame; Iii) October—1.99 l“