The victim of a racist assault testifies in the trial against a public bus driver in Barcelona.
Racism, when suffered, leaves its mark.
Hanan B. and her three children have not forgotten the humiliation to which they were subjected on the afternoon of May 29, 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, when they were traveling on a public bus in Barcelona.
Under the pretext of an expired season ticket, the driver insulted her mother and, after forcing the entire family to get out of the vehicle, tried to tear off the scarf that covered her head.
"She tried to remove my veil to make me feel bad," the woman explained, this Tuesday, in the trial against the worker, that she is facing a request for ten months in prison for a crime against moral integrity.
The eldest of Hanan's three children, who is now 17 and wears a black headscarf like her mother's, has explained firmly, if at times on the verge of tears, how this episode has affected their lives. .
“Of course I have felt humiliated.
He had once received racist insults, but they had never reached that severity.
I always take the bus to school, but when I think that I can experience the same thing… ”her sister, who was nine years old, began to wet the bed and suffered nightmares.
And the youngest, who was barely three years old, refuses to board "red buses", the color of the fleet that the public company Transportes Metropolitanos de Barcelona (TMB) operates in the city.
Hanan and her three children boarded the V16 bus in the Carmel neighborhood, almost at the foot of the Collserola mountain range, with the intention of reaching Barceloneta, on the beach.
The mother and the middle daughter marked their transport pass without problems.
But the older one didn't work.
“My magnetic stripe had been scratched and they gave me a replacement card.
It was expired because, with the pandemic, the new T-16 had not yet arrived.
They told us that there would be no problem because the situation was what it was, ”said the minor, who helped her mother to make the driver understand this circumstance.
There began the rain of insults from the steering wheel.
"He looked at us with a hateful face"
“She looked at us through the mirror with a hateful face and made comments to us: “Go to your country, you come here to live off the story”, explained the eldest of the daughters.
The Prosecutor's Office considers that the driver "left the family exposed to the mockery" of the other passengers and generated in its members "feelings of humiliation that undermined their dignity."
The driver, explained those affected, was "nervous."
And he got even angrier after a traffic incident with a motorist who cut him off on the road.
At the height of Paseo de Sant Joan, before Hanan and her children reached their destination, he stood up and addressed them: “You like to live for free in this country.
Now you get off."
The eldest daughter tried to convince her mother to continue the journey.
She "she told him that we hadn't done anything wrong and we didn't have to go down."
But Hanan's protective instinct outweighed.
“I told them: 'There are people who accept us and there are people who don't.
We got off because this man is not well, or he is crazy, I don't remember what exactly, ”the woman recounted.
The comment ended up igniting the driver, who made as if to start the bus but stopped it again and went down to the street.
There he went from words to deeds, according to the prosecution.
The driver took out his mobile phone to record the woman as he tugged at her veil and pushed aside the daughters, who had milled around her, with his arms.
“He called me a bitch, a bitch, while she was taking her children away from her.
She was beside herself, she scared me,” Hanan recounted.
"She pulled my hair, at that time I was not wearing the veil," said her eldest daughter.
Several people witnessed the incident in the street and some came to help the family.
Like Noemí C., who saw how the man "began to insult" the woman saying "bitch, go to your country."
The witness did not see specific attacks, but she did see "a struggle" by the driver, who was trying to "record the face" of the minors.
In his statement as a defendant, the driver has denied everything.
He has said that, when he verified that the card of one of the minors had expired, he suggested to the woman that she "buy a T-10 ″ (a card valid for ten trips) because" technically "the girl" had not paid ”.
He has added that the woman voluntarily got off the bus and that it was then, from the street, that she threatened him.
She "made an obscene gesture at me and ran her index finger around her neck."
The driver has assured that he got off the bus to take a photo of her (“to have proof in case they attacked me”) and has affirmed that he never touched her.
"He was wearing the scarf, but I do not enter into the religious issue," said the defendant, who has defended his 15-year career as a TMB driver, a company in which he continues to work.
"People of all walks of life and religion get on my bus and they have never had any problems with me."
The incident, she has insisted, has to do only with the expired ticket and not, as the Prosecutor's Office maintains, with her hatred of Muslims.
"Fraud does not understand religion, age or social position."
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