Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Trump’s Muslim Ban Spurs Strong Resistance: Thousands at Airport Protests

Thousands from New York City to Seattle went on January 28 to the nation’s major airports to protest President Donald’s Trump’s order banning for 120 days Muslim immigrants and refugees from seven nations, an order issued that same day. The protests, initiated by immigrant rights groups through social media, took place not only at the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York—where it grew to several thousand—but also at Dulles in Washington, D.C., O’Hare in Chicago, and at the Los Angeles and San Francisco airports. The protests of the Muslim ban were only the latest of almost daily protests against Trumps policies around the country, the largest of which was the January 21 women’s march on Washington, D.C. that involved about four million in the United States. In New York City, where I joined the demonstration, some 5,000 protestors rallied at Terminal 4, in the parking structure, along the parking lot, in the walkways, and finally blocking the streets and stopping airport traffic. At one point the Port Authority, a joint New York-New Jersey agency, stopped Airtrain Service to prevent more demonstrators from arriving, but Andrew Cuomo, Democratic Party governor ordered service restored and protestors continued to arrive. In Seattle protestors marched into one terminal’s ticketing area. Demonstrators in New York chanted, “No Hate, No Fear, Immigrants are Welcome Here,” and held many handmade signs with slogans such as “Let Them In,” which was also a chant. When police appeared in riot gear to remove people blocking an entrance to Terminal 4 and then the roadway, the chant of the peaceful protestors became, “Why you wearing riot gear? We don’t see no riot here.” The protest had the flavor of the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011. People used the “human mic,” repeating together an announcement or proposal to make themselves heard. Some supporters brought dozens of pizzas to the march and distributed them, as others brought bags of food, bananas, granola bars, and also hand warmers. Most of the demonstrators had traveled at least an hour each way by bus, subway, and Airtrain to get to the protest in cold winter weather. The crowd in New York was made up mostly of young white men and women, though being New York there were immigrants from all over the world among them, and a number of Muslims, some of the women in hijabs. A number of women were wearing the pink “pussy hats” from the earlier women’s protests against Trump. As the size of the crowd grew after 1:00 p.m., with at least two organized protests at 4:00 and 6:00 p.m., the throngs became more militant, moving into the streets in defiance of police who everywhere seemed to behave with restraint. At one point the crowd of protestors, some from Jewish organizations, such as Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), some of whom carried pro-Muslim signs, chanted, “Never again! Never again!” The obvious meaning was that neither Jews nor Muslims should ever again face a holocaust again. The chant was taken up by all of the protestors. Those arriving at the airport on incoming or leaving on outbound flights found themselves awash in a sea of protestors chanting, “No ban, no registry, fuck white supremacy.” A few older white men hollered the usual, “Get a job,” but some Muslim Americans arriving with their suitcases joined the demonstration as protestors greeted them with “Welcome home!” News that the American Civil Liberties Union had won a partial suspension of Trump’s ban swept through the crowd at some point as did information about further protests planned for the following day. The resistance to Trump is growing, creating tens of thousands of new activists who are being radicalized by the protests and now see themselves as part of a national movement. While we are not there yet, we are heading towards a social protest movement that could reach the enormous proportions of the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s. Dan La Botz, January 29, 2017 P.S. * http://newpol.org/content/trump’s-muslim-ban-spurs-strong-resistance-thousands-airport-protests

Friday, May 27, 2016

The calculated and monitored dying in the Central Mediterranean

WatchTheMed Alarm Phone Statement in light of the current situation in the Mediterranean Sea and yesterday’s events:
The EU and Death at Sea: The calculated and monitored dying in the Central Mediterranean

Yesterday, on Thursday the 26th of May, it took more than four hours for rescue vessels to arrive. Four hours of worrying and of attempts to support the anxious people on board of an overcrowded wooden boat. In a SOS call at 6.21am, our WatchTheMed Alarm Phone shift team passed on the GPS coordinates to the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome. Shortly before, an emergency call had reached us via a satellite phone. The caller informed us about two boats carrying 500 people each, among them many Syrian and Iraqi refugees. At 10.31am, rescue finally approached but an hour earlier, the second boat had already capsized, within eyeshot. So far it is unclear how many people drowned or disappeared. MRCC Rome reported in their daily statement about one capsized boat and 96 survivors. Fatalities were not mentioned. However, the private rescue boat Sea-Watch, which arrived at the site of distress in the early afternoon, had to recover bodies of drowned people.

Calculated Dying
Over the past three days, and once again, thousands of refugees and migrants left the Libyan shores on overcrowded boats and moved toward Sicily: About 2600 people on Tuesday, 3000 on Wednesday and 4000 yesterday, Thursday. Nobody can still claim to be surprised, least of all those responsible for EU migration policies. But they refuse to abolish the deadly visa regime and to open up legal and safe routes. To
the contrary: the Balkan route which migration movements had struggled to open up last summer, was violently closed down. Among yesterday’s victims in the Central Mediterranean Sea are now again Syrian and Iraqi refugees. As a result of the closure of the Balkanroute and the inhumane EU-Turkey deal, refugees who arrive in Greece are being imprisoned on the Greek islands with the threat of being deported back to Turkey, while those on the Greek mainland are left without any perspective of leaving the country soon. These political changes force refugees onto the much more dangerous route via Libya.

Monitored Dying
For nearly one year now, the military operation EUNVFOR MED/Sophia seeks to monitor the Central Mediterranean Sea, between Libya and Italy. Its central mandate is the combating of the so-called smuggling networks. These ‘smuggler-hunters’ are equipped with all sorts of high-tech, the zone off the coast of Libya is amongst the best monitored maritime spaces of the world. How difficult could it be to send a small
surveillance aircraft hourly along this well-known migration route in order to locate and immediately rescue refugee boats? Instead, and again and again, Italian coastguards, private initiatives and NGOs are those
who prevent even worse disasters from occurring at sea. And when they then transport survivors to Sicily, capacities are simply lacking which means that situations as experienced yesterday occur, situations that
are apparently wanted by the responsible authorities: the dying at sea continues. And as long as it is possible, disasters are being concealed, suppressed or played down in order to avoid renewed public outcries.
We do cry out, once more and time and again about the border deaths of the past 20 years, and about yesterday’s deaths. If only there were legal and safe migration routes, nobody would have to die at sea. The
dying at sea is not a natural catastrophe and also no accident. It is, in fact, the calculated outcome of the EU border and visa regime. The dying at sea is human-made and already tomorrow, through the opening of
borders and free access to ferries, it could fade into history as a dark chapter.

The long summer of migration in the Balkans has demonstrated that once borders are open, there are no ‘smugglers’ anymore. One pays high sums and takes dangerous paths only when one is forced to do so by Frontex and co.

A world without borders is possible and both Frontex and the ‘smugglers’ would then have disappeared.
In this sense, we say: Ferries not Frontex

WatchTheMed Alarm Phone (27.05.2016)
Contact: wtm-alarm-phone(at)antira.info

Monday, May 09, 2016

Protest in Solidarity with Dr. Maqsud Aghayev in Jena and Apolda (East Germany)


Break Deportation Protest in Solidarity with Dr. Maqsud Aghayev in Jena and ApoldaBreak Deportation Protest in Solidarity with Dr. Maqsud Aghayev in Jena and Apolda.
The Centre of our political resistance and solidarity cannot hold if we are not able to defend our activists in the community.
Information event and discussion in Jena Haus Auf der Mauer: 13.05.2016 at 5pm
We are inviting you to our Information event and discussion on the criminalization and impending Court hearing of Dr. Maqsud which will take place on the 13.05.2016 at 5pm in Jena
Place: Das Internationalen Centrum - Haus auf der Mauer
im Zentrum von Jena (Johannesplatz 26)
Court hearing on Dr. Maqsud Aghayev case in the Amtsgericht Apolda,
Jenaer Str. 8, 99510 Apolda
Date: On the 18.05.2016
Audio Report on Maqsud by Miloud Cherif on Radio Reboot FM.
https://soundcloud.com/user-219894783/dr-maqsud-audio
We are wanting to inform you all that Dr. Maqsud Aghayev, a long time activist of The VOICE Refugee Forum and The Caravan for the rights of Refugees and Migrants in Apolda – Thueringen, is calling for everyone's contribution to support his statement on his continuous criminalisation.
Since he was transferred in 2010 from Katzhütte to Apolda he has been treated by Foreign office of Apolda as persona non grata and as public enemy by the foreign office of Apolda.
There is no doubt that he is being intimidated and humiliated for his refugee activism and engagements from his protest against the discrimination and racial profiling of refugees. Most especially in his successful struggles and campaigns to close down refugee isolated camps in Katzhütte and Apolda in Thueringen.
He did not commit any crime nor was he guilty of any abuse of human rights in his entire years of residence in Apolda. The ruthless dismissal of his regular stay permit looks like a humiliating act on the part of Apolda foreign office, meant to serve as a lesson and nothing else.
We need your support and participation in our planned political intervention by The VOICE Refugee Forum and the Break Deportation network to fight back in Solidarity with Dr. Maqsud and to expose the atrocities and abuses caused by the foreign authority against this maltreatments and the discrimination of refugees living there in general.
Please contribute to the mobilisation and call to denounce their criminalisation of the Apolda Foreign office for public interest and to support us in solidarity.
Break the deportation Culture – We demand unconditional rights to residence for Dr. Magsud without compromise! Fight racism, Stop Deportations and Against discrimination and Racial profiling.
We wish you all to power up, in solidarity.
The Centre of our political resistance and solidarity cannot hold if we are not able to defend our activists in the community.
See link to the Statement and Call for solidarity with Maqsud Aghayev and exposing the Foreign Office (Ausländerbehörde) Apolda, Thüringen:
http://thevoiceforum.org/node/4148
Maqsud.A, Miloud L.C. and Osaren I.: The VOICE Refugee Forum Jena

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

War against refugees in idomeni

Without more words, we share with you the photos, taken by A., a photographer and syrian refugee in Idomeni camp who is among the people to get mass-deported to Turkey. He asked us to share these photos with the people in Europe, to share the pain, and to understand which way is europe going.

Voices of Vial prison on chios (Greece): Michael


Michael_Vial
I am here since two weeks and two days. We were the first people that came here. We came here on the 19th, before the deal with Turkey. But we were 46 people who came here and to 42 they gave the registration paper to go to the city. But us four people, they left us out here and we were asking them why did they left us here and all of them don’t talked to us. Because we are black, that’s why. If we call them to talk to them, they don’t talk to us, they keep on doing that, for three days or four days. I saw a lady, she was asking questions to them about our story, then she was trying to help us. I don’t know if the police later caught her. Since that day we have never seen her no more. If we try to talk to the police, nobody wants to talk to us, we don’t know if it is because of our color or something like that.

And since yesterday, they closed here and we can’t go out and they are treating us like we are not human beings. Even today they wanted to give us food at two o´clock but we didn’t get it until four o´clock. They don’t care about us. Then if there is fighting among the people in front of the police, they let us, don’t come. The people are scared. If they really want us to stay here they should send us back to our country. Because if they take us back they take us back to Turkey and this is not a good thing. Because Turkey is not a good country, they don’t like blacks. If you are a black person in the streets, they just come to you with a gun. When I lived there, in Turkey, I was fighting with one in my room. He came to my house with a knife and told me, if I don’t give him my money he will kill me. I gave him my money. Then the next day he came again and took all of our clothes and my passport. Here it is not good for us. We don’t know whether it is because of our color.

This bracelet that they gave us when we arrived is the proof that we came before the 19th. But we told it to the police. They said they know about it but they said they can’t do anything. The manager of the asylum here told us we have to apply for asylum in Greece so we applied and now we are waiting what will happen. Because of the asylum process, two of our friends ran away. They were scared and said they didn’t understand why they keep us here.
Foto: Ufuk Atasoy

Refugee Movement Journey to Greece
We, a group of -so called- refugee activists, are traveling through Greece for two weeks, from the 24th of March to the 8th of April. to meet people on the ground. We will also have info panels on the bus, displaying maps and legal advices about Greece, the destination and transit countries. Most of us have also experienced the situation of coming to Germany as a refugee and are able to share this with people who aim at going there.
 

African Survivors' Testimonies and Victims of Everyday Racism, Organized Crimes and Mafia Structures in Ukraine

Documentation on Racism and Discrimination of Louis Oseloka Abutu, his family and his Struggle in the Nigeria Community against racism in Ukraine
http://thecaravan.org/node/4445 
"On one evening, towards the end of April 2014, when I came back to my house after work I felt traumatized of the degrading humiliation and intimidation which continued with the perpetrators of racist violence and harassment in Ukraine, and most especially the possibility of my being arrested by Ukraine Defense Intelligence Agency was very high. It often came to my mind then, that the best thing I could do was to leave the country after deserting from the Army as „Military Deserter.“ This was actually the most critical decision for me that I had to escape the racist persecution or death by the regime if I wanted to be sure to survive and to seek for the protection of my life with my family in Germany."
My name is Louis Oseloka Abutu. I was born in the city of Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. I left Nigeria in 1997 for Ukraine. In Ukraine I joined the BILIE-Movement (Biafra Indigene Land in Exile) and became their representative for Eastern Europe some years ago.
I have Ukrainian citizenship. I lived in Ukraine for 17 years. Since my arrival in Ukraine I have been exposed to racism by ordinary people, Mafia and state authorities like every other black person in Ukraine.
Racism against Blacks is a common problem in Ukraine
Every day racism and organised crimes and Mafia structures
In many occasions I was exposed to racism and threats by the organised crime and Mafia. Nevertheless I always had to fight for my life due to the pressure by the organized crimes of the racist Mafia, the right-wing fascist and Nazis. There was never any concrete help by the police or state authorities. As a foreigner and as black person my position to challenge them was even weaker than that of others.
As it was impossible for me as a foreigner to get work in my profession as an engineer I opened a shop for fashion accessories products.
Almost every day people would just come and insult me in the street in a racist way, for example asking if I have tail or asking me if I lived with monkeys in my place or if I lived in trees. Or people would just tell me that they would not like me and I should go to Africa and eat banana. Things like that almost happened everyday publicly.
More dangerous turned out to be the threats by the organized crime. One day I got involved in a threatening incident. Three young men suits and sunglasses entered my shop to threaten me with racist offences and with arms and to force me to accept their demand to pay a certain amount of money in order to get a „godfather“ to protect me. The police handled that case in very negligent and ineffective way which made me suspicious of their connection to the people threatening me.
One night in August 2004 my first car, an Opel Vectra (model 1991) was stolen by some young people from a filling station where I used to leave it over night for washing. These boys, who were working at the place, had been harassing me for a long time by calling me racist names and demanding from me to sell my car to them. The car was found because they crashed it in an accident. The car was beyond repair. The thieves were only fined with a sentence less than the usual minimum for that sort of crime. I never saw any compensation for my loss. There was no serious attempt by the state of forcefully executing the payment money, although I went to the court three times to demand for it.
One may say that this is just criminal and not racist. But I perceived it as a racist act. The boys had called me racist names before, they had bothered me frequently. They did not do it to others, my car was not nicer than somebody elses. They insulted me as „monkey“ and asked me how I could leave Africa, come to Ukraine and drive their cars and marry their women. So the message was very clear: A black person is not entitled to have a car who gives you the right to take it.
One evening around 2010 I was attacked by some young people when I came home together with Cynthia from her gymnastic class. Cynthia had to witness all the racist assaults and dirty names they were giving me. They threatened to kill me and started to beat me. Although my wife or her mother called the police, they did not show up. I later had to go there and make report but nothing happened.
The sufferings of my children
The most painful and dangerous thing was how the daily racism affected my children. All my children witnessed traces of racism and bullying in school but especially David, my youngest child in Ukraine suffered a lot from it and until now he has not fully recovered.
Already as a young child he had to face a lot of isolation in the kindergarten.
When the children were playing they would make fun of him, teasing him because of his black father. Children isolated him and would e.g. take toys from him so that he couldn't play any more.
He always kept very quiet and was scared to talk to the children.
Anytime we got to the Kindergarten in the morning he started to cry. I tried to convince him to go as I thought it is just a usual reluctancy as children sometimes have, but his sufferings continued every day.
When I wanted to talk to the kindergarten teachers, they didn't take it seriously. When the children were playing outside, the teachers would even leave him inside the room. Once another child took his eyeglasses from him, when he was playing alone, and threw it over the fence. When David complained to the teachers they did not believe him but they believed in the other boy.
After this event I took him out of this kindergarten and changed him to a private kindergarten. This was in 2012. There he improved speaking and started to express himself but with the age of six years it was already late.
About five month later, the 31st December 2012, he had a complete breakdown on a train trip to Kiev where we were going for the new year celebration which almost lead to his death.
Because of Davids weakness we returned to Vinnitsa immediately and took him to the hospital where they gave him glucose because he was so weak. In the morning, he was already unconscious.
According to the advice of one nurse, he was taken to the emergency hall of a clinic for diabetes by ambulance. There, they diagnosed it was diabetes. In the interview we were asked if there was any diabetes in the family, as there was not, the doctor saw it is a result of the psychological stress he had suffered. David was in Koma for three days.
About half a year later there was another traumatizing incident when David was playing outside our house, his grandmother was sitting nearby. A young boy came along, started to call David „negro“ and threatened to kill him. Then he broke a bottle on David's head, the grandmother could not intervene. She had to call the ambulance, and David and his mother went to the hospital where his wounds were stitched. This was on 28th May 2013
After the incident, David was very scared and did not want to go outside any more. It was very difficult for him to associate with people. He always stayed indoors. Even when he went out with me, he was afraid. He wouldn't like to leave the house with me. Even here in Germany during the first days, he wouldn't like to stay in the school alone, his mother had to stay with him for the first days.
My socio-political engagements
Since the formation of the Nigerian Community my personality became exposed to various forms of racist threats and insecurity.
The association of Nigerians in Vinnitsa called „Nigerian Community“ was founded by me together with other fellow Nigerians in the year, 24. November 2002, I was elected the president.
The initial focus was to have the possibility of uniting the children with Nigerian origin because of the every day racism. As the president of the Nigerian community I was also involved in many different social activities. As time went on, the „Nigerian Community“ expanded beyond Vinnitsa and became more political. We developed a regular forum to inform the community and the public about the victims of racist attacks which were often ignored by the state authorities without the pressure from our community.
We organized ourselves in solidarity with one another, that we can overcome the societal and institutional obstacles to improve the difficult situation of being an African refugee, student or migrant in Ukraine as there also were people who did not have a residential stay or who were coming from other countries like Russia and Eastern Europe.
All in all I was well known by the African community as well as the Ukrainian authorities, and in my position I was quite influential.
The danger such a position can lead to could be seen in the case of Patrice Nshimiyeumuremi (2000) from Ruanda who was the chairman of the „African Union“ which existed long before I came. He was butchered in the elevator of his own house. The political background of the crime has not been detected until now. His death had put a lot of fear in the members of the black community in Vinnitsa and also in me going to the extend that I was afraid to come to my house every day. I would not leave my car before phoning my wife to find out if I was safe and before she put on the security light.
****
The attacks on my person became more and more concrete and dangerous after I started getting active in the case of the murder of a young Nigerian in a nightclub in Vinnitsa and other victims of racist attacks.
(Zank Adams) a student of Piragov Medical University and a member of the Nigerian community died due to excessive bleeding in the 2010 or 2011 after he was beaten by the guards of the disco „H2o“. The owner of the club was Vladimir Produc, a big Mafioso who controlled a lot of businesses in Vinnitsa and had big influence on the authorities. He was also a friend of the mayor then, Grossman who is now the head of the parliament. Janukovic tried to make Produc become the mayor of Vinnitsa which didn't work out.
As one year after the murder there was still no justice in this case and the murderers were still moving around freely, the cousin of the victim came to me as the head of the Nigerian community. I went to the police together with him to address the issue. Finally, the case was recalled back in the court of appeal. After the murderers were taken into custody during the investigations, serious threats against my person began and became more and more dangerous. They started with verbal threats, continued with several attacks on my car, with physical attacks on me, my wife, stalking of my children.
First one of their relatives began to threaten on the road me to withdraw the statement that I had made to the police. If I didn't do so they would get me wherever I am.
As I refused, they started to continue their threats, insults and harassments which continued until we left the Ukraine.
Once I came back to my house, insults and threats were written on my balcony, like [„prick“]
After that, there were serious attacks on my car.
When I came to garage one morning, it was open although I had locked it the night before. The four spare tires with titan rims were stolen and shit was sprayed everywhere. The whole place was smelling.
After that I sold the garage and left my car in surveilled car parks – except when I had to travel the next day I parked the car nearby. One of these days as I went out early to travel, I found that my car was sprayed green all over.
Another morning the windscreen was broken.
We reported those cases to the police but nothing was done about it. After some time I went to the office of the chief (Division Police Officer DPO) of the station in my district in Kievskaya, to find out from him about the development of my cases regarding the stealing of my car spare tyres and the destruction of the windscreen, including the racist violence attack against me by fascist. Surprisingly to me the police chief (DPO) responded very unfriendly with threats and harassment by telling me that" I should not forget that I am a foreigner here and if I do not like what they do me I should go back to your country. At that moment I felt I had lost everything – especially the confidence in the authorities and the justice.
One day in late 2013, they met my wife outside the house who was already pregnant in her seventh month and beat her up to the extend that she had to go to the hospital. While she was in the hospital, Sintija phoned her one evening and told her that she had been followed and touched by a unknown man on the street who was saying something about her father.
This immediate threat on one of the children was the sign for my wife to leave the country to protect the lives of the children. After signing a paper that she is leaving the hospital on her own responsibility she left the hospital the same day. She packed David and Sintija and arranged their escape from Ukraine.
I stayed because I didn't want to run away from the problem. I also didn't want to give up my business and I wanted Veronika, our eldest daughter, to finish her school and somebody had to monitor her. Nevertheless, because of the threats I rented a small house for myself and she stayed with the grandmother in the hope that she would not be affected by the terror against me.
Military Deserteur
After my wife had already left I was forcefully recruited by the paramilitary fascist group „Samaja aboronaja“ („self defence“) which is now part of the Ukrainian army. When I later realized that they were recruiting for the war in Slavjansk in Eastern Ukraine, I became very scared. Due to my earlier racist experiences this was another serious threat for me as a black man and father of three kids and a husband to a pregnant wife. I was especially worried about my 15 year old daughter Veronika who, if anything would have happened to me, would have been alone as an under aged black child in Ukraine. Under these circumstances the insecurity of my life became more and more unbearable for me.
On one evening, towards the end of April 2014, when I came back to my house after work I felt traumatized of the degrading humiliation and intimidation which continued with the perpetrators of racist violence and harassment in Ukraine, and most especially the possibility of my being arrested by Ukraine Defense Intelligence Agency was very high. It often came to my mind then, that the best thing I could do was to leave the country after deserting from the Army as „Military Deserter.“ This was actually the most critical decision for me that I had to escape the racist persecution or death by the regime if I wanted to be sure to survive and to seek for the protection of my life with my family in Germany.
END
This was actually the most critical decision for me that I had to escape the racist persecution or death by the regime if I wanted to be sure to survive and to seek for the protection of my life with my family in Germany." LOUIS OSELOKA ABUTU Video: https://vimeo.com/161639378