Artikel 1 (2015)

All persons in the Netherlands shall be treated equally in equal circumstances. Discrimination on the grounds of religion, belief, political opinion, race or sex or on any other grounds whatsoever shall not be permitted.

Article No.1, Dutch Constitution

Artikel. 1 is a video installation based on testimonials taken during the months of November and December 2011 in the city of Enschede, Netherlands. With the help of the anti-discrimination office’s ‘Art.1’, three people of foreign origin contributed to the audio material with reports of discrimination cases that escalated into formal legal actions.

Video transcript (extract):
Elias (b. Lebanon)

01:45 “Sometimes you get verbally abused. What are you doing here? Leave.”

02:06 “You come here to save yourself, save your kids, you don’t want to wage war nor live in it. You start with a good heart; you leave behind everything to come here. At the start you don’t notice that you are being laughed at or being discriminated against but as time goes on you learn the Dutch language and you command it a bit and then you notice that once you make a mistake it haunts you for life. And if you tell your neighbour that you won’t do that* you get verbally abused: Stupid immigrant! Dirty immigrant! Go back to your own country! You’re an ugly people! We don’t give a shit about your culture! And, hey animal! Some words I find hard to repeat. I try to be friendly to the people but sometimes they get back to you with the middle finger, or they spit on you. Your only chance is to keep going and persevere all those years. But even if you yourself persevere, you tend to get angry if these insults are aimed at your son or daughter.”

04:53 “…You don’t do that, you don’t pull the hairs of a little girl or you don’t just squeeze a 10-year-old boy’s hand. So you don’t accept that they are touching your daughter or son.”

Jeanette (b. South Africa) 

02:26 “…Happened in school last year. During a discussion with a classmate she felt the need to refer to me as a black person and later it escalated and she called me a black monkey and more. At that point me and my other dark skinned friends in the class felt offended.

“It was purely based on my skin colour and I feel there should be limits, as we are all equal. The worst part of it all was that she is Turkish herself so she is also foreign.”

07:48 “At that moment you are feeling like… nothing! Really nothing! That is the word that can describe it. You are feeling you are nothing. Like if you disappear. You are finished, like you are not even there. There is no word to describe the feeling you get in that moment because you want to beat the person because you are feeling mad, and then you think little bit and say no, it is not worth making a fight about that, and then you feel ashamed of yourself because you think: are you going to stand and see they way that they discriminate or are you going to do something about it?
I thought about it and I said, maybe I can fight for the next one, most likely they cannot help me but I could try to prevent this from happening to someone else. So you try to put that feeling away to make it into something positive and that is the way you can try to forget it.”

12:38 INT: “Is it worth it to stay here?”

12:42 “I have a son, so I think about his future, then I can say yes, but I know how I am going to raise my son and I know what he is going to do if one day he feels discriminated against. I will teach him everything. That is important for me, that my son will never have that feeling I got last year. This is what I want to give to my son. So yes, I will stay here for my son.”