July 20, 2024
Europe Travel

When It’s Not Racism: A Story of Realization in Europe

  • January 29, 2024
  • 4 min read
When It’s Not Racism: A Story of Realization in Europe

Hello! I’m Kojo Enoch, a writer and digital nomad from Ghana (Africa) who has embraced the wanderlust life, exploring numerous destinations beyond my home continent. The year 2022 was especially memorable as I immersed myself in the European landscape, with Malta serving as my base.

Living in Malta, my days were typically filled with the tranquil ebb and flow of island life, a stark contrast to the unsettling event that played out before me one unsuspecting evening in the famous Maltese town of St. Julian’s. As I observed from the seclusion of my balcony, the scene was charged with tension. Two police officers, in a display of authority, apprehended a black man, an act that immediately sent ripples of shock through me.

The swift action of law enforcement, set against the quiet Maltese backdrop, raised a storm of questions in my mind. Was I witnessing a case of racial profiling, or was there another explanation? Despite the urge to label the act, I paused, recognizing the complexity of such situations. This moment was a vivid interruption to the peaceful narrative of my stay, leaving me to grapple with the discomforting reality that not all that glitters is without its darker shades.

I had to record what was happening!

Instinctively, as the scene unfolded, I reached for my phone and began recording the incident, ensuring I captured everything as it happened. This reflex to document was driven by a desire to have an account of the event, not just for personal reference but in case questions about the encounter needed to be addressed later. The reality of the situation was still sinking in, and I was keenly aware of the gravity of what the footage could represent.

Black Man Arrested in Malta
This is the young man the Maltese police officers handcuffed and escorted along the waterfront walkway in St. Julian’s. I recorded this from my balcony window while watching the situation unfold. The interesting thing about this photo is how its setting appears peaceful with calm waters in the background, contrasting with the seriousness of the law enforcement activity. 

Not Everything is Racism

My curiosity as a journalist led me on an impromptu investigation around the neighborhood of St. Julian’s following the unsettling event I had recorded. In search of context, I approached a fellow African migrant, someone I knew to be an integrated member of the local community, who sold sightseeing tickets near the bustling bus stop.

His initial reaction to my questions about racism in Malta was reassuring; he affirmed Malta as an accommodating place for migrants, a sentiment that contrasted sharply with the scene I had just witnessed. Intrigued by this disparity, I shared the video with him, seeking his thoughts.

Watching the footage, he recognized the arrested individual and was not taken aback. He recounted several instances where he had seen the man’s disruptive behavior firsthand. According to him, the man was known for causing trouble in the area, which provided a possible explanation for the police intervention.

This information was crucial. It suggested that the police action, while startling in its aggression, may have had an underlying justification. Also, it was a reminder of the complexities of quick judgments and the importance of gathering all facets of a story, especially when dealing with issues as sensitive as law enforcement and race. It turned out that the man’s arrest was not an act of arbitrary profiling but a response to a known pattern of behavior.

Morale of the Story

At the end of the day, I think it is very essential to approach situations with openness and not jump to conclusions. While racism is a real and serious issue in Europe (just like in every other continent on Earth), every situation is unique and may have multiple perspectives. It’s important to gather all the facts and consider them carefully before interpreting an event as racially motivated. Patience and a willingness to understand the full context can lead to better-informed opinions and responses.

About Author


GreetingsfromAbroad.com is a travel blog founded by keen traveler, writer and experienced digital nomad, Kojo Enoch. Currently Kojo lives on the beautiful, sunny island of Malta. This website is run by a solid team of expert digital nomads,  avid travelers, photographers and writers from all over the world.

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