It has taken us more than two years to put this document together, and it is just a mere shadow of the title: A Cartography of Hate.
Indeed, when we started out, we called it an “X-ray of Hate”, with the idea of creating images of the internal structures of the phenomenon.
Little by little, we realised that the external structure of the phenomenon was not clear, at least in our eyes. We knew that the data we could access on this kind of incident would be the tip of the iceberg, but it was not just that, the phenomenon has grey areas, and the collective perspective was often contradictory.
The study led us to try and trace the lines of a map that was as elusive as it was necessary, a cartography. If Jorge Luis Borges will allow us, there were times when we thought we had a good lead, but the work ended up as arduous as weaving a sand rope or trying to thread a camel through the eye of a needle… in the middle of Hell.
Indeed, this report traces a path through Hell.
As citizens, we have a duty to leave things better than we found them, and the description of the incidents that follow means that we must try and ‘shrink’ that Hell through effective public policies.
The book will soon be joined by an interactive website in Spanish and English, with a user-friendly database to keep information up to date. We want it to be useful for people who are interested, so that they can send questions, reflect the sound of hatred… yes, hatred and intolerance sound the same, and it does not matter where they come from or the language used to express them.
It is much easier to recognise intolerance in the issues that we are clear about. It is more difficult to recognise prejudices we share through our cognitive or personal biases, and much harder to recognise a human being humiliated or harassed by a motive we share -perhaps unconsciously- or people pursued by ideas that we ourselves profess. Nowadays, blindness or disassociation of empathy is easy. Allowing our conscience to be selectively lulled to sleep, selectively dulling our gaze and showing mere indignation is easy. Evoking freedom of expression or asking for censorship in a cherry-picking manner might also be misleading.
Throughout this study, we have tried to sustain our compassion and deep respect for the dignity of the real people in the database: 80,000 entries.
Our contributions come in the form of valid questions with well thought-out answers. We have tried to work as honestly as possible and believe we will fine-tune and improve the study through the interactive website.
We hope to find new contributors –from civil society and institutions– to improve the report and make it more useful.
I am writing this preface just a few days before going to print. We have new questions that we will try and answer over the next few years with the help of readers, experts, associations and people who have suffered hatred.
We felt it was necessary to try and understand incidents and crimes caused by prejudice, intolerance, discrimination and hate from a very open perspective in terms of geography and their quantitative and qualitative sources.
We have focused on six Member States of the European Union, under the assumption that Germany, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy and Poland offer us an opportunity to approach a universal phenomenon featuring a good proportion of Europe’s population, encompassing its varied places and cultures.
Hate-related phenomena in this report appear because there are organisations that document them. The fact that some phenomena do not appear, or only slightly, could be due to a lack of organisations that systematically report their documentation and/or public denouncement. In other words, there are some chairs missing at the table.
In any case, this report aims to help create a heat map as a wake-up call about the growing number of hate phenomena.
Nine out of ten people who have suffered hate or discrimination attacks in Europe do not report it, according to data collected in 2017 by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
Refusing to see, hear or speak of a real-world situation, or even name a victim makes that person invisible. Consequently, our efforts focus on understanding and identifying to improve data for shared analysis and generate public policies that can shrink Hell as much as possible.