In fewer than 100 days, 52 people have been killed (mostly stabbed) in London – raising serious concerns about how to tackle violent crime on the city’s streets.
Asked who he thought was behind these killings, David Lammy MP said: “I do know from the police that there are big gangs – Eastern European, Albanian – they traffic people, they traffic drugs and they traffic guns.”
This statement was followed immediately by bombastic headline like the Express’ one “London stabbings: Albanian drug lords behind surge in violent crime, says Labour MP” or Mirror’s sub-headline: “Trail of blood leads to Albania. The murder epidemic has been linked to a flood of cocaine from the Balkans.”
The MP’s statement and tabloids’ blaming Albanians for the recent stabbing enraged the Albanian community in the UK.
The British Albanian organisation UKAP (UK Albanian Professionals) gave this statement on their Facebook page: “We regret the sweeping generalisations by David Lammy MP directed at the Albanian community in the UK. These baseless, unproven statements which single out the Albanian community are hurtful and unhelpful. We invite Mr Lammy to provide the proof of his remarks or make a public apology.”
Tony Kacubaj, a London based British-Albanian activist has sent a letter to David Lammy, saying among other things: “Are you able to kindly explain your comments, and if you did indeed make them? My assumption sir (as that of most of the country), is that you understand very well that these horrendous killings have nothing to do with the Albanian community, indeed nothing to do with Albanian criminals either!
So, could you please also explain the information you received from the Met Police and other law enforcement agencies?
Mr Lammy, using derogatory and inflammatory language for a region (Eastern Europe) or a people of a particular community (Albanian) can be regarded as insightful and racist and most certainly, not what is expected from a senior MP. It would go some way to diffuse the situation and assure the Albanian community that as a trusted and revered MP, you have their best interests at heart and to this end; it would be appreciated if you would consider withdrawing your remarks altogether.”
London knife crime is not recent and victims and perpetrators are disproportionately Black and Asian, and as the BBC have reported in November 2017: “65% of all people who face criminal proceedings for knife crime in London are from ethnic minorities, and 42% are Black.”
According to Statistics on Race and The Criminal Justice System in England and Wales in 2016, per 1000 members of the population 47 arrested were Black, Asian 16, Mixed 13 and White 13. This is alarmingly disappropriate in a country where 87% are White, 3% Black and 6% Asian.
If you check the names and ethnicities of 52 killed (mostly stabbed) so far in year 2018, majority of the of the victims are Black and Mixed and only one is Albanian, Jozef Boci who suffered serious head injuries after being attacked on the street in Greenwich on 17 February. The 30-year-old was taken to hospital but died from his injuries just under a week later.
In most of the cases the victims are related to gang warfare in some notorious London areas like Hackney, that have nothing to do with Albanians or Albanian “mafia”.
If you want to complain about Mr Lammy’s comments, echoed by some tabloids, you can do so by email, Twitter or mail on: https://twitter.com/DavidLammy, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Office of the Rt Hon David Lammy MP, House Of Commons, London SW1A 0AA, phone: 020 7219 0767.
You can also complain about inflammatory tabloid articles to the Independent Press Standards Organisation via their website: https://www.ipso.co.uk/make-a-complaint/
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