Sosnowiec is a city of Poland in the upper Silesian region. It extends by an area of 91 km², with 224 244 inhabitants, according to the census. It’s also the city that is hosting us during all our erasmus+ and Evs project.
I packed my bag and left my country Portugal , destination Poland,ready to leave a big adventure that i was sure that it would change my life forever.Born in Guinea-Bissau (West Africa), travelling abroad wasn’t new to me at all, have been in country such as:Senegal,gambia,Slovenia,Uganda,U.K,Italy,switzerland Cyprus,Greece, Northern Ireland and even Russia.
Fan of all cultures,ethnicities and religions i always wanted to experience and see our world from different perspective,(up- down,inside-outside,north-south,west-east), with all it’s true colours closely. Poland was to be no exception.
I´ arrived to a country where i didn’t knew much about, just some facts such as: Pope John Paul II, that coincidentally or not,happens to visit my country of origin ,on 1994 one year just after i was born.
But because he´s visit means a lot to my recent independent country, after his visit there was a great high school built in his honour outskirt Bissau´s city. and the other famous personality there i heard of was Lech Walesa (Polish first president after communism era and a Nobel prize winner 1983), these one i knew it from my high school , history class II WW matters.Apart from that nothing else (ooh almost forgot Lewandowski).
Landed at Krakow airport, 5th of December 2018 ,my first impression of Sosnowiec wasn’t the best , but maybe because it was winter, really gray atmosphere, not only the sky but also the weather were so sad,almost as the british countryside and villages, such a quiet place i thought ,no green spaces at all, old buildings all over, i found it charming though , because every old building usually has history behind, as ours for instance, it used to be a chocolate factory according to our coordinator.
Got to meet my new flat mates, they’re mostly italian and spanish, some with south American backgrounds (Colombian and Argentine),some are french and British. I was the last one to join the project, the only one from Portugal also, more specifically a black portuguese.
My eyes were amazed with such a multicultural team , just europeans but yet diverse. Almost all of them has some degree in a some field , from psychology , to biology, artists and me the sociologist.
Also different interests, personalities and life experiences , all of these things impressed me so much.But unfortunately didn’t dive right into exploring it ride a way, my attention got caught for something else , the event COP 24 ,( that´ve spoke about it so exaustively already:).
Didn’t get sad or worried though , because after all we´ll have almost 1 year of cohabitation to know each other, plus “when you wanna know someone do not ask them questions, because you´ll only get fact and information instead leave with them so you’ll know them better” one of my favourite saying from my country of origin Guinea-Bissau. So i didn’t rush it. Just taking my time.
The incident that i´am about to tell you about took place on 15th of December center of the city, one lazy friday night made us unusually,(usually we go Katowice city to hang out) go out on exploring around, pubs and bars of the city. We end up entering in this one ,that will mark us for the rest our lives.
Attracted by the sound that could be heard on the middle of the street, we decided to change our course of coming back to home, we felt appeal to go to check it . we were five (three girls and two boys). we entered three at once, one italian, one spanish and me,the black portuguese.we past few people standing outside, we enter without anyone objection or asking for our I.D.
As we were getting down the stairs the air start to get heavier and full of smoke ,the smell weren’t just from simple cigars or tobacco, anyone could tell, the music was obviously loud , it wasn’t completely full though.
My two male colleagues rushed to the toilet , while i was putting myself comfortable (it was a hell of a winter, around 22 degrees celsius outside, around 4:40 a.m earlier morning, you could imagine how cold it was).
As soon i put my hands into menu catalogue, someone start to shout i couldn´t listen clearly as the music was loud, but the voice were approaching and it was getting stronger and clearer “NO MOTHER FU#ING BLACK , ONLY WHITE , JUST FOR WHITE. Before i could say anything to my defense. i felt one elbow´s on my nose followed by a strong push towards the floor,my attempts to stand on my foot were smashed by punches and kicks all at once repeatedly.From the few things i could remember, was seeing the waitress and the bar owner watching everything apathetically. Meanwhile my two spanish, female colleagues decided to enter probably to question why we´re taking so long, (as they didn´t even want to enter there in the first place, tired from school´s activities they just wanted to reach bed).
when they came across the scene, while they were walking down the stairs trying to figure out what was happening,i ran towards the street, opposite to the way they´re coming, the loud music did not help our communication, instead it makes it hard for us to understand each other, they ended up falling on the danger, the man (lately we end up knowing that he was security of the pub), that marcelesly beat me just for being black, didn´t spread them either,my last flash before closing the door were my colleagues head been smashed against a hood stairs and she passed out.
Outside the pub the people that we past entering were still there, i cried desperately for their help but in vain. The indifference and the coldness of those polish people that i received inside was the same outside. Not a single soul to care or wonder let’s alone to help.
I start panicking, couldn’t even stand properly my legs were shaking so much , afraid to sit, got to be ready to ran for my life if the danger decided to erupt again, my breath sped up,i was coughing, crying my nose was running.
Somehow i manage to call police, from Katowice the neighbour city (because of the COP 24 i had more info from that city than my own city Sosnowiec. Again in vain the police didn´t help at all, instead he was making some nonsenses questions like can you identify them? did you took some photos? while i was begging them to come. Meanwhile my others colleagues were still inside getting severely beaten by the security and his mates.
outside, i was going crazy, I completely forgot european emergency number 112, by then the panic and the fear has completely overpowered me. Just thinking on how to make it, I didn’t figured yet what was going on, while my mind was going through a short circuit trying to make sense on the situation, my body was feeling more exhausted and shaking continuously, one thing i knew from my heart is that :“whatever was the situation i can´t lower the guard or else.
Finally the situation got controlled when the police ,the ambulance and our coordinator arrived. The police took forever to arrived and when they did , did´t entered right away,instead they´re decided to wait for some back up meanwhile they went to ask us for our I.D , and carry on a shameful and poor performance that will remind me forever that the institutions are racist because the people that works there carry their prejudices and their lack of preparation inside it. while we were getting massacres with unnecessary questions and sermons of the kind “you should never been here, at this time of the night? what you´re searching here? no place for you ! o the attackers were escaping through the emergency door.
Worst than get insulted and viciously spanked for a racist and xenophobic reasons was seeing the perpetrators scaping freely.Maybe is not the end of it!
We´re still waiting for justice to be served,they “ say it takes some time but its doesn’t fail” but i say “see is believing “.