Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Colombia: "Yankee imperialists and all their military bases – get out!"

21 September 2009. A World to Win News Service. Following is a translation of a statement by the Brigadas Anti-imperialistas of Colombia.

The exposure by some of the media of the Uribe government's offer to let the U.S. armed forces have bases in Colombia has uncovered only a part of the reality. This offer to let the Yankee military use the bases has been foreseeable ever since last year's parade of various U.S. representatives who came here, including Admiral Michael Mullen, the Joint Armed Forces Chief of Staff. And it coincides with the interests of the flunky Uribe, who since the eve of the invasion of Iraq in January 2003 has been clamouring for the imperialist war machine to be deployed to South America, especially Colombia. (El Espectador, 16 January 2003) Last year he announced that there was "no obstacle to also accepting an international force if necessary, because our security policies are in total good faith." (, 21 January 2008)

Hundreds of Yankee soldiers and agents (called "security contractors" in the media) are prowling the cities and countryside of Colombia, advising the armed forces on how to fight the guerrilla movement, to protect the investments of the imperialist transnational companies, politically and militarily support one of their most faithful flunkies and beef up their presence in the region. Imperialism aimed to shift from the Manta base on the Ecuadorian coast [where the U.S. has just been forced out] to its own base in Tres Esquinas in the Colombian department of Caqueta (prepared since 2000 as part of Plan Colombia), upgrade the base at San Andres (a technical training centre for the Yankee radar system throughout the region) and renovate the Palanquero base.

Last month the U.S. Congress allocated 46 million dollars for this latter facility, key for a better strategic positioning on a global level in the U.S.'s dispute with present or potential rivals to maintain world control. Pentagon plans have been listing Palanquero as a U.S. base for years. Its activities are not to be limited to counter-narcotics operations, and its reach will extend beyond the Andean region. The aim is to establish a base whose "air mobile" reach (with C-17 transport planes) covers the whole South American continent and "achieves two results: to support the implementation of regional combat strategy and support the mobility route toward Africa." ("Global En Route Strategy", a white paper by the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command.) Admiral Mullen wasn't just using empty words when he said in January 2008 in Colombia that the relationship between Washington and Bogota is vital both for the region and the world.

Further, Plan Colombia (and its successors, Plan Patriota and Plan Victoria), initially dreamed up for the "war on drugs" and then the "war on terror", are also part of broader plans for regional control, like the Plan Puebla-Panama [a U.S. military plan for Mexico and Central America] and the Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure in South America. It is no accident that since last year the Yankee imperialists have been reactivating the IV Naval Fleet designed to ensure the regional military control that such economic plans are based on, plans not only for regional integration but also to integrate the region into the world market.

Clearly the Uribe government is the chief Yankee ally in the region. This is key when one takes into account that fact that in countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia present or potential rivals may contest U.S. economic and military hegemony. This is the context for the role of Brazil, which is developing an alliance with Russia, China and India that could also include Mexico and Argentina. Since the governments of these countries are not a hundred percent satisfactory from the point of view of U.S. imperialism and its so-called democracy, and are making efforts to slip free of its yoke, the U.S. considers them a threat and fears losing control of its "back yard". The U.S considers that it can arm itself to the teeth but oppressed countries cannot, and so imperialist spokesmen have expressed their concern with the arms build-up in Venezuela and Hugo Chavez's alleged support for the Colombian guerrillas of the FARC, complaining that Chavez may be promoting the long-term "destabilization" of the region.

"The war on drugs" is really a war on the people

When the U.S.'s Colombian vassals Uribe and Padilla de Leon [head of the Colombian armed forces] made their announcements about the bases, other Latin American governments became concerned and many of them expressed disagreement. Imperialist representatives like Secretary of State Hilary Clinton came forward to calm the situation, saying things like "The U.S. does not have and does not seek bases in Colombia", that the bases where they are moving in "are not permanent" and that "command and control of the bases, as well as their security, remain the responsibility of Colombia." The Yankees are lying like they always do when they prepare the terrain for war. When Clinton says they "don't have bases", it's because they already have them; when she says they "are not permanent" it's because the Yankees are already there and intend to remain. The previously mentioned "Global En Route Strategy" is based on the "1995 Mobility Requirements Study – Bottom-Up Review" that in the "adjustments" made in 2000 and 2005 clearly categorized the Palanquero base as key for the "Southern Route" to Africa and from there to the Middle East. White House cynicism about such matters is already legendary. When caught lying about the so-called "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq, a high-level Bush official referred to Winston Churchill's statement that "In wartime, truth is so precious that she must always be attended by a bodyguard of lies."

Similarly, the "war on drugs" invented by the Reagan government has nothing to do with stopping drug trafficking. It seeks to strengthen the machinery of repression and control, especially against the youth and oppressed in the U.S. On the international level, the Yankee imperialists use the "war on drugs" to disguise military intervention, more tightly control other countries and further local and regional schemes and plots. U.S. imperialism is oiling up its armed forces and manoeuvring to achieve a better position for the future, whether under the pretext of fighting the drug trade or terrorism (which they define any way they want). They raise either one of these two flags whenever it suits them, to smash uprisings in the Yankee's volatile "back yard". They've sent troops to the Mexican border. In the past, when reliable imperialist flunkies ran Bolivia, they sent C-5 galaxy military transport airplanes with Blackhawk helicopters, Awacs radar aircraft, M-60 machine guns, communications equipment and battlefield mobile kitchens. This was a "model" for the introduction of U.S. troops throughout the world, on a planet criss-crossed with military bases, threatening the countries in the U.S. orbit to make them assume the cost and the military risks.

Many people – even many who think of themselves as progressive democrats, anti-imperialists or "leftists" – see imperialism as an external phenomenon, and not as a production relation internal to the economies of the oppressed countries. And many glorify a narrow nationalism that flies today's national rag, and call on people to defend so-called "national sovereignty". You can't fight the enemy while flying his flag.

Colombia is like all the countries of Latin America in that it is dependent on imperialism. It is a nation oppressed by imperialism, principally U.S. imperialism. It has never been really independent. It was a colony of the Spanish empire, and then a British semi-colony. In the last century it has been a semi-colony of U.S. imperialism, which exercises its domination in the economic, technological, political, military and cultural spheres. Its economic and financial, technological and military dependency mean that there is no reality to its political independence. Economic dependence obviously leads to political dependence.

Imperialism is not some empty and no longer fashionable word. It is an overall system of exploitation and oppression that has maintained itself at the cost of the suffering and exploitation of hundreds of countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the oppression of the world's people. At its disposal it has its own matchless war machines and the lackey armies of the oppressed nations, and when it considers it necessary it organizes, trains and arms paramilitaries, "Contras", "the Black Hand" and the "Triple A" to do its dirty work [references to various U.S.-led death squads in Latin America]. And today Colombia is to play an important part in its regional plans. Between 1999 and 2007, 47,394 Colombian officers were trained in Yankee schools, while the total for the whole rest of the hemisphere was only 52,221 ("Por debajo del radar", LAWGEF, CIP and WOLA, 2007). Colombia is the largest recipient of U.S. military aid, after Israel and Egypt. At this time the Yankee embassy in Colombia is the world's biggest in terms of the number of posted personnel – more than 2,000! This Plan Colombia and its subsequent modifications is part of the U.S.'s strategic plans for regional and global domination.

Today U.S. imperialism is driven to maintain its markets, control its energy sources, and in the end world domination, and doesn't want anyone to get in its way. This is closely related to its military plans to control and prevent events.

The presence of U.S. bases in Colombia is another step toward turning Colombia from a neo-colony to almost a colony of U.S. imperialism. Dark clouds are gathering on our country's horizon. After the dark night marked by the massacres committed by the paramilitaries, the crimes of the state and mix of fascist dictatorship and feudal landlord despotism that has held on to power for seven years, now we face even worse – an escalation in the intervention by those who have already brought the peoples of the world so much suffering.

But oppression gives rise to resistance, and as long as there are revolutionary men and women who struggle militantly to raise the people's consciousness and to generate a real and combative anti-imperialist movement and raise it to the level of revolution, there will be the perspective of something really new. Today we must forge this great combative anti-imperialist unity to lay the foundation for being able to drive the imperialists and all their flunkies out of Colombia and the whole region with the aim of unleashing a strong resistance movement of the world's peoples and to raise its level so that it can make imperialism bite the dust of defeat.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Repression towards innocent refugees - is it justified?

written by Flüchtlingsinitiative Möhlau Wittenberg

A man and a woman joining together to form a family is the fundamental evolution of the existence of human nature and human beign has to move freely without limitation "freedom of movement". Having build families from which we got villages, cities, local government and states called "country" some were greedy, egoist and tricky because of political. Social economical, and financial system to which they created themselves to depend on.

These contributed to victimise some countries leading to political instability and crises, to poverty and hunger, to cronik sicknesess and death, to wars and missery, states bariers wherby each states has its own legitimate laws which could contradict the other states to which the cosequence would be surferd by "Human being", but human beings were meant to live on planet earth peacefully with one another to have one objective of positive thinking and solidarity.

Lets take for instance african continent as a whole, where enermous natural resourcesses found itself and states have been build through colonial structures and elitism, independent follows as from 1958 after surfering an immense set backs and confusional repression, identity, economical,.political confusion despite that, they managed to establish the so called "countries" with lots of colonial accord to which some of these accords contribute to contradict the continents developement of today.

Political system was established which comprises a lots of institutions to which other members states have to recognise as legitimate, bound together to function the world political system with the objective of achieving world peace and order, stability.

The financial institutional system was established in Africa, to which the competent institution has to regulate the african monetary mechanism which is related to the international monetary system. To generate a so called medium of exchange in other for people to use it to aquire their daily needs. But the forced loans with intrest, leads some of these countries to have an enermous foreign debt to which they could not be able to pay back because of the per incom capital and state revenue and could not be able to compete withe so called established industrial states.

The consequence leads thier money value to be devaluated and despite the fact that it makes it dificult for african farmers to sell thier product to the international market, states subsidies to thier famers by the industrial states would not be excludes as one of the problem, icluding trade barriers forwarded to them by the so called industrial states, inflations emerge as a result including unemployment which relates to extreem poverty explosion and corruptions in africa.

At the same time some african state import quotation exceed export quotation- that means some african countries becomes indirectly consumers with high unemployment quote- the industrial states goods would be sold in african market while african goods would be restricted in thier market.

These factor affects some african state political system ,to which the states policies would be affected, the political parties would be affected, also could leads some states to be dependent on external financial assistance and suport. This could equally leads to indirect exploitation of the posesed resourcess of a state by the industrial states in exchange of financial assistance which would also be used to pay an unfinished foreing debt. It also contribute to make good governance impossible therefore the eradication of poverty, hunger political crises,war, political persecutions becomes a problem.

These mechanisms mentioned contributed to the political instability in africa, conflicts, hunger and poverty, political persecution, dictatorships etc. And as far as it persit to exist refugees become victim.

Therefore we are calling the industrial states for solidarity, to stop deportation! And to give apprioprite protection to all refugees and put in consideration thier lives and human dignity. They are also the members of the world and needs protection.Refugees dont need isolation, resident restriction, dont need to be excluded without working permision. they need to be intergrated in the society, so as for refugees to contribute to the days to days activities which would be beneficial to the local governement.

Visit of the isolation Lagers in Gerstungen and Gangloffsömmern (East Germany)

The subsequent report together with that of a delgation from Hamburg "Delegationsreise nach Thüringen..." was presented at the conference "Unite against colonial injustice" held in Jena between the 9th and 13th of September 2009.

Delegation visit of the isolation Lagers in Gerstungen and Gangloffsömmern

Report of a two-day journey of a delegation of the caravan network from Wuppertal

Bericht in deutsch, rapor türkce

On June 27 and 28, 2009 we - a delegation of the network of the CARAVAN for the rights of the refugees and migrants from Wuppertal as well as members of THE VOICE Refugee Forum from Jena and refugees from Apolda - visited the isolation Lagers in Gerstungen and Gangloffsömmern in Thuringia. This delegation visit is the beginning of a row of further visits of the isolation camps located in Thuringia and lasts up to the action conference „united against the continuation of colonial injustice in Germany “, which is organized in September 2009 in Jena, Thuringia. In the following we document the experiences of the first visit.

Arrival in Gerstungen

On June 27, 2009 at about 4:30 p.m. we drove altogether from Jena to Apolda in order to drive direction Gerstungen together with refugee activists of two isolation Lagers. Gerstungen lies in the west of Thuringia at the motorway A4, in the Werratal, in the district Wartburg. Shortly after Eisenach the motorway forms the border between Thuringia and Hessen. A sign at the motorway tells of the fact that one lefts Thuringia. Shortly after the exit Gerstungen comes. We take the exit and arrive at Untersuhl. Untersuhl is a small village bordering on Gerstungen. Obersuhl, the neighbour village, lies some hundred meters further in the west and already lies in Hessen.

In Untersuhl we take one of the roads at the edge of the city and arrive at the Lager. The building resembles from a distance many other camps which we have already seen: neglected, many satellite dishes as one of the few connections to the world outside. At the entrance sits a doorman who wants to see a document of identification. An acquaintance shows its document of identification, the name is noted and we to go into the yard. In front of the house we see about ten cats sitting there all with a view on the kitchen and wait for a “Happen” which might come flown down. Behind the house is a row of garages.
Many of the former and current inhabitants perpetuated themselves here through wall sayings at the garage gates in different languages. „Everyone sees my laughter through “stands there written, probably a cry of a young person from the isolation experienced in the Lager.

In the entrance zone in the house we become acquainted with the prohibitions: “The course tracks may not be crossed”. It is forbidden by the police and dangerous and in addition a fine threatens. Further we learn that in Gerstungen floor checks are accomplished: „In order to avoid problems around the next cash dispensing, announce yourselves once daily at the guard!! “Both prohibitions are translated into German, English and French. According to what the inhabitants say about 80 persons live in the home. Those which we met come from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Iran, Sierra Leone, Syria. They hardly speak one of the West European languages. At the notices we also learn something about the health care. Each person must pay part of the travel expenses for doctor visits. In the month this can amount to 6,71Euro per person. Appropriate forms are needed in order to confirm the physician visit. All tickets etc. must be presented to the social office. For visits at specialized doctors a certificate of treatment must be fetched at the social office.

Subsequently, we go into the kitchen in the ground floor. At the moment three Azerbaijani refugees and some Iranians are cooking. The kitchen has three rinses without tray surface on the left side. On the right side are the cookers. The walls are hopeless and the trashy lemonade advertisements from the beginning of the 20th century at the wall don´t not make it look more beautiful.

We sit down in the room of an aserian refugee and talk with him and some others. Presence controls are daily. If someone does not stay in the Lager for two weeks he or she is unregistered. Nearly everyone in the Lager receives coupons at a value of 126 euros. Many receive no cash at all. The foreign authority district Wartburg is in ´Bad Salzungen´, about 30 km south of Untersuhl. The trip there and back alone costs 6 euros. The tolerances of residence (Duldung) are usually issued for 6 months.

Freedom restriction by residence obligation law (Residenzpflicht)

One of the aserian refugees told us that he wants to visit his child. However, this is refused by the foreign authority on account of the Residenzpflicht law. Once, one of the two social workers from the Lager called the foreign authority to describe the problem, the foreign authority of the administrative district Wartburg replied: „Nevertheless, it is all the same to me whether he has a child or not, he should be deported anyway.“ Two other young aserian men tell us that they made purchases at Rewe in Obersuhl. There they were controlled in front of the supermarket by police officers. Now a punishment of 40 Euros threatens them. Each of them has received a letter from the police of Eisenach. Later, a father of a family, Kurd from Syria, tells us that he had to pay fines already twice because of Residenzpflicht. The first time 40 Euros and 95 Euros the second time. The Residenzpflicht is one of the main problems in Gerstungen. Since it is situated directly at the border to Hessen, the refugees of the isolation Lager in Untersuhl, Gerstungen, have direction north, west and south a movement radius of 1000 meters. In the north is the motorway A4, in the south the course tracks whose exceeding is forbidden. Practically they can just move to Untersuhl, Gerstungen and eastward. This restriction in a small district is particularly absurd in united Europe without borders and makes clear that after the law two classes of humans exist in Europe; for the one class there are no borders, for the other one each district can become an obstacle and limits them in their freedom. Felix Otto sits behind the bars in Thuringia for his natural right on freedom of movement.

Besides the freedom restriction the Residenzpflicht has further material, health and residence legal consequences for the refugees from Gerstungen. Since they can not go shopping to Obersuhl, they sometimes must drive with public transport to the next localities and pay 4 Euros additionally from the little money which is at their disposal each month. The dentist in Gerstungen refuses the treatment of the refugees because the welfare agency does not pay enough for the treatment of the refugees. In Gerstungen and Untersuhl no refugee´s aid offices like Caritas and Diakonie exist to which the refugees could address their problems.
We spoke with several families and unmarried people in the second floor. A woman from Aserbaidschan told us that she was threatened by deportation. She already had to experience many deportations in the daybreak here and has fear to be deported herself. Her man died in the Lager. Now she lives there alone with their child. She does not know how she is to get along in Azerbaijan alone.

We spoke with a Kurdish family from Syria. The parents and their four children live together. They have been living in Germany for seven years. They would actually like to get away from this isolation Lager immediately. The 20-year-old daughter told us her heart has become black here. The sons are 19 and 17 years old. The latest child is their 7-years old daughter. The family feels restricted in the rooms. The older brothers and sisters share a room. The daughter and the brothers must come to an arrangement not to injure the intimate sphere of each other. One of the sons suffers from an illness which is caused by the accommodation at the Lager according to the treating doctor. Not to strike at school, he must take a shower every morning before the school. However, at six o'clock in the morning there is not enough warm water in the Lager. The oldest daughter does not feel fine at the Lager among single men. When going to the bath she is accompanied by her mother. All of the children had to watch the police action which was directed against a refugee. More than 300 policemen came, helicopters circled and all rooms were searched. The children and also others still seem traumatised of it.

The applications for a rearrangement all fail because the family does not present a passport to the foreign authority. The fact that the Kurds in Syria receive no rights, not even a birth certificate, apparently does not interest the authorities. Since the agreement over deportation with the Syrian government Germany has increasingly started to deport Syrian people to Syria.

The young men from Azerbaijan and the Kurdish family from Syria had cooked. We ate in a room together with other home inhabitants. We exchanged and became acquainted. After midnight, after having eaten together we leave Untersuhl, Gerstungen direction Apolda and Jena and sorrow remains. It is the same feeling which speeds us up every day. It is the injustice which is daily carried out no matter where in the world and which gnaws at us permanently… It is the conviction and the fury which grow stronger in us and drives us to remove everything which restricts, limits and destroys us. It is the determination to change in order to build up a world which is made by humans for humans. A world in which we are not dictated by an abstract market und that splits us in countries and borders, in religions and genders for the interests of others.

Visit at Gangloffsömmern

In the morning, on Sunday the 28th of June 2009, we drove from Jena to Apolda in order to drive with the friends from Apolda to Gangolffsömmern. Gangloffsömmern is a municipality in the district of Sömmerda in Thuringia. It belongs to the central administrative body of Straußfurt. The village consists of beautiful small houses embedded into a beautiful landscape. On this beautiful summer day we looked for the Lager. We finally found the lane and turned into it from the main street. Behind the first house front which was very beautiful a large, for years not reconditioned, run down building hid itself in the second row. A friend of THE VOICE appropriately meant: „Such looks a ghetto in the middle of a village!“ We stepped into the yard and there already waited a man. A Kurd from Iraq. Others came and in the yard we spoke about life in Gangolffsömmern.

While we were speaking three other Kurdish refugees came out of the building and after we had welcomed and introduced ourselves they walked in the court. We had the feeling as if these were prisoners who were walking in the court.
More than 20 refugees live in the Lager. They come from Azerbaijan, Iraq, Iran, Chechnya and Vietnam. Most are single men. However, there are also two women living there with their children.

„One gets crazy here!“ said a Kurd who is not there for long yet. The refugees in Gangloffsömmern also receive vouchers and about 10 to 40 Euros in cash. However, in the village there is no shopping possibility. The next supermarket is in Straußfurt. The tickets there cost two Euros, i.e. for every purchase 4 Euros must be additionally considered. It maybe does not sound a lot for some people at first sight but with a monthly available sum of 130 to 140 Euros every Euro has another value. In Gangloffsömmern the rooms in the Lager are for three to four refugees. The refugees cannot make a lot of purchases at once because then they have no space in the single fridge in the room.

In the village there are neither social workers nor some caricative, church advisory boards. The foreign authority is in the city of Sömmerda. The tickets there also cost two Euros. The authority employees are very degrading. They do not talk with the refugees. The doctors are in Straußfurt, the social office is in Sömmerda.

The isolation is the biggest problem in Gangloffsömmern. A young Iranian refugee whom we knew from Freienbessingen said: „Freienbessingen was better than here. There we all were one family.“ Freienbessingen were former barracks in the middle of the wood beyond a city. Here, however, in the middle of a village, one is nevertheless isolated. „I greet the people but they don´t react. Meanwhile I have given it up!“ he says. He tells us that he once wanted to kill himself. Pamella, a Cameroonian woman who is meanwhile in Hamburg has seen it and told him: „Why do you make this? You have experienced so much! If you kill yourself you throw away your life completely. Let it be.“ He usually watches German television, he says, in order to improve his German in the isolation. However, at the moment he just pursues the Iranian transmitters because the events in Iran touch him very deeply.

The Kurdish refugee tells us that he would like to go to the Caritas in Eisenach. However, he does´t do this because of the Residenzpflicht (Residence obligation law). He was once in Sömmerda when he realised that the last bus already left and that the does not get to Gangloffsömmern at night. He took the train to Eisenach in order to take the regional train to Gangloffsömmern. Yet in Eisenach he was controlled by police officers and had to pay 123 Euros because of violating the residence obligation. He said: „We do not have much to live from!“ However it is even worse that we are also locked up here. „Here I can´t buy any calling cards in order to speak with my relatives in Iraq!“ The calling cards for cheap international telephone calls are available in Eisenach. He says: „Do you think that I am here to eat and sleep? Do you think that in Iraq we are no humans and have no other problems?“ Rage spoke from his words. He and the others said: „You come here as a human with dignity and if you remain here for long you become another person! “

For a while we spoke about this and that, about the threat of deportation against the Iranian refugee, about the friends who were in Freienbessingen and then we said goodbye. We drove direction Wuppertal and the friends from THE VOICE drove to Apolda and Jena. Before we drove off we exchanged contacts. We arranged to see again and talk about the problems and search for ways of solution.

On the way back our outrage about the isolation Lager was biting. We talked about the humiliation and the destruction of people. The big words about integration and human rights felt like slaps. We wished that many people would visit the people in spite of the long distances in order to see how systematically they are worn down. We wished that more people in this society would look for each other and build bridges of solidarity to those who are deprived of rights, are humiliated and isolated.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Situation of Human Beings as Refugees and Migrants in Germany

Program and Press Conference: Unite against Colonial Injustice in Germany

Spring has returned to Europe and with it the calm waters of the Mediterranean. With calmer waters, many more desperate human beings in search of their right to life and dignity will try to make their way into an ever brutal Fortress Europe. Of them, thousands of human beings with names and lives, with families and memories, will forever sink into the depths of the ocean; like the over 300 people drowned on the Libyan coast in the last couple of weeks. Human beings whose lives have been added to the ever increasing list of victims of colonial injustice.

For those of us who have made it here to Germany we are all too familiar with what our dreams of finding human dignity and decency and a better life have meant. Like the thousands of people who Europe would rather have decaying at the bottom of the Mediterranean, the dream of a better life in Germany or Europe virtually perishes upon arrival, exterminated by the racist arrogance and inhuman abuses lashed at us merely based on our origins or the colour of our skin.

Just so because we come here and instead of comprehension for the trauma we have faced for even leaving behind our friends and loved ones, of having escaped war and the horror of poverty, we are fingerprinted, interrogated and subjected to deliberate abuse. In doing so, we are frequently laughed at, screamed at, humiliated and looked down upon and taken advantage of. We are made to bear the brunt of their annoyance and the consequences of their ill-advised and inhumane policies. We have become their ‘whipping boy’ - destined to be punished for whatever is wrong in the society-be it crime, unemployment or social spending.

They think they are better than us; they have falsely and crudely taken us for their Untermensch. We, who come from such rich cultures. We, whose wealth has been brutally vandalised and expropriated to feed the insatiable greed of Western consumers. We, who have braved their abetted dictators and their dubious, unscrupulous economic policies. We, who in spite of the increasing militarization of our countries and their own borders, have courageously confronted them and escaped their attempts to imprison us in the horror they have created for us at home. And we, who have dared to stand up for truth, justice, and our principled beliefs, while maintaining human dignity and decency all through.

Seeing that we have broken through their fortified borders, they take our fingerprints on arrival and then send us to the ‘Lager’; where they confidently and surely expect us to ‘waste’ as human beings which should serve as a lesson to others not to come to Germany. In the Lager, numbers of adults are cramped into single rooms like sardines in cans- welcome to further abuse and humiliation that is Germany, goodbye to privacy and any hope for human dignity.

Then comes how we are made to live. In some cases, what is not considered good enough for their dogs are considered the best food for us while at the same time; they make it illegal for us to cook our own food. Not to mention the food packets with the expired dates on them. In fact in many cases, the feeding system is used as a method to control our presence in the Lager and a way to separate the ‘good’ and ‘obedient’ refugees from the bad and rebellious ones who have yet to learn to accept the rule of continued colonial power. On the basis of such rebellion, we are considered ‘unfit’ to live in this society, while those considered good and obedient are told they have no right to stay here as they are not really useful.

For they believe that if we do not rot at the bottom of the ocean then we should certainly rot in their isolated and abandoned military barracks located in the forests, away from regular human beings and any urban centres. It is easier to control and slowly destroy us that way and out of sight of (any?) prying public or media.

Lager and control mentality

This Lager and control mentality that underlies the asylum system in Germany has a long, devious and brutal history with far reaching consequences. From the general to the specific, the strategy is to isolate, stigmatise and then persecute. From the various notorious Lagers under the National Socialists through the Lagers for Guest workers, the Lager and control mentality has been a consistent and perverse feature of the German system in dealing with those that are either considered not directly useful or those that are out rightly unwanted. It should be recalled that in the erstwhile DDR, many contract/guest workers were also similarly kept in Heim and even couples amongst them were separated to ensure that they did not raise families. The story is told of some women guest workers who were sent home because they were pregnant and refused to abort the pregnancy. The rule was that you were either here to work as demanded or required by the state or you are out of here to ensure that not even family issues were to obstruct that requirement. You are either useful for our economy or you’re out. Through all these phases, the Lager and control mentality is sustained. And was it not this control mentality that was also evident in the Nazi requirement of foreigners to obtain permission to even have children? Interestingly disturbing to note how deep and ingrained the control mentality is in Germany-so little attitudinal changes in the many years that have gone by.

But why is that?

Good question. It may not have been necessary beyond academic inquiry to re-visit this question now if many of us are not currently re-living the hash realities and the bitter consequences of this mentality and its attendant system. When the darkest and bloodiest history of this country was forcefully prevailed upon in the mid-forties, the so-called Allied were determined to set up a system different from the one they just defeated. But the new system was set up perfectly to accommodate and rehabilitate majority of the dramatis personae in the very regime they just defeated, blurring over all these with the Nuremberg Trials. So, the rehabilitation and continued presence of highly placed people under the National Socialists in basically all fields of endeavour also meant that there was enough room to accommodate some of the policies of the Nazi past in Germany. As the old culprits settled more comfortably into the new political system with their cohorts, the easier it became for them to re-lapse nearer into their old frame of mind. We should remember here that we are talking of the Lager and control mentality. And nowhere in the Western world is this more demonstrated than in Germany.

History records the restriction of movement placed on Jews and other foreigners in 1938 and the consequent fine for violation of that restriction. While world outrage and condemnation have since been rightly heaped on this and the more horrible crimes of the era, since 1982, this obnoxious restriction has been replicated on all asylum seekers throughout this country in the form of the so-called Residenzpflicht. That for a refugee to leave her/his immediate District s/he needs a written permission from the Foreigner’s Office-else a fine or possible jail term awaits upon police control is a startling reminder of that 1938 restriction. Now, what does it cost Germany (culturally or economically) if refugees or asylum seekers can move freely within the country like normal human beings? NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING!!! But it is the German Lager and control mentality that is at play here. Just to clarify this with one more example. Many studies by independent investigators have shown that it is much cheaper if refugees are accommodated in private housing. And even different governmental sources have acknowledged this. But the authorities baulked at this cost effective measure and rather continue to take pride in maintaining the humiliating Lager system; that defies human dignity and denies privacy to refugees. The same is true of food coupons-the “Gutscheine”. It costs the government more than the value of the Gutscheine that is actually paid out. And with all the unwanted attention, humiliation and the problems associated with Gutscheine, one wonders why the authorities insist on using Gutscheine and not cash, which is cheaper, easier and better for all. It has to do with the Lager and control mentality-encrusted old habits!! They die hard it is said.

Duldung-the permanent asylum-life suspense!

Did you know that of all of the thousands and thousands of us who apply for asylum in Germany, less than 1% of us are actually granted asylum? And what does that leave us?

Duldung-the permanent asylum-life suspense. No work. No studies. No right to move beyond your local District. No advancement in life-only stagnation and slow but steady waste of life. Just eat and sleep, eat and sleep until the perversity of their cruelty destroys you, enters into your brain like a tumour, destroying your will to live and thus your will to fight back. Like those drugged up in mental hospitals, they attempt to put us into a vegetative state until we are either deported or, if we have enough will left in our souls, go back to our countries ‘voluntarily’.

In the meantime they give us their Gutscheine and their Residenzpflicht, racist police controls and forced isolation. They put us at the mercy of the most ignorant and vile of their kind, who feels empowered by our purported weakness and subordination. Yes, it makes them feel good. A little like someone feel good when one is able to send some money home one’s family or when you can help out a fellow human being, that's the way they feel when they realise that you are feeling bad about the treatment you get here. But it eats at their souls whether they know it or not, leaving them as living, breathing robots with no hearts and thus with absolutely no human comprehension. Frantz Fanon stated these years ago with the bloody French rule in Algeria and it is still true today in Germany with refugees.

Our Words, Our Voice - A Voice for Truth and Justice

And because words are power and because they intend to maintain us in permanent subordination, their position is that we should never be given the power of words, the power to determine the way our past and present are interpreted and spoken about. They not only want to ‘make’ our history, they also want to write and re-write it according to their taste and in their own words. And here lies the problem. Those of us who have managed to retain our sanity in the midst of their insane policies and who have remained courageous and confronted them in the midst of their intimidation, persecution and unparallel means of violence have become ‘their criminals’. They attempt to criminalise us in every step that we make hoping to silence us. And because they know they cannot win any argument of principles, truth and justice when faced with the facts, they resort to intimidation, violence and brutality against activists to prevent us from standing up for our principled beliefs. They question why we are here and ask us to leave if we don’t like how we’re treated here. But they should be reminded of the African adage which says: You don’t hit a child on the head and ask the child ‘why are you crying?’ If they still have not got it, “we are here because they destroy our countries”. How we talk about this destruction and their continued violation of our inalienable rights here is non-negotiable. We will always say it the way we feel it. There can be no compromise about this.

This was exemplified in the Oury Jalloh case. With no proof and where the facts of the case actually indicated the contrary, they spoke of suicide, that Oury Jalloh killed himself. That was it. And then we got reproached by some of our purported supporters when we said NO! NO! OURY JALLOH… DAS WAR MORD! Oury Jalloh, who was chained at his hands and feet to a fireproof mattress, yet they said we had no proof and that he set himself on fire. We refused to accept how they wanted us to speak about it and insisted that we’ll speak about it in our own terms. We imposed our words-the truth, our truth. Then they finally began to let up and though not in agreement, at least they lost the battle of imposing how we speak of Oury Jalloh's murder. And just like the thousands of our brothers and sisters whose lives have been stolen while attempting to even make it to this so-called Fortress Europe, this was a life that was snuffed out at its prime for no reason other than racism and police brutality.

Yet you can fool some people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time. And so we resist. We say no to their controls, no to their Residenzpflicht, no to their Gutschein, no to their isolation camps, no to their abuses and no to their racist police controls, brutality and MURDER!!!

And how do they react? What do these good, civilized, enlightened people of Germany do in the face of our protest against abuses which violate the spirit of both their constitution and international law (but not the letter, which they have modified in order to continue imposing their colonial relations)?

They criminalize us for daring to stand up for truth and justice. They oppress us to keep us subjugated and they try to intimidate us to undercut our support. But they will fail as they did before. None of us should ever forget the sacrifices made by Mouctar Bah in his monumental fight for truth and justice for the murder of his friend Oury Jalloh. We see also the racist oppression which had been visited upon him because of it. We see how they persecute him and levy false charges against him. They can try all they want but truth is on our side, the facts bear it out therefore history and justice will vindicate him. In this we trust!!!

And what about Katzhütte, where are we today?

We are not only here because of the isolation and the moulding walls, the psychological torture and the prolonged punishment for the "crime" of being unwelcome in Germany, but because when we protested against their inhumanity they reacted by justifying it to their people and ILLEGALLY oppressing those of us who speak out. And we still stand, still strong and proud of our collective fight for the dignity of all. This fact has permitted us to see deeply into their plans and beyond the veil of lies they try to construct through their snake-like language. Yet like we have with their borders, we have survived their attempts at oppressing our resistance. We have seen and learned a lot.

For instance, we all know that Europe and the United States are the ones that prop up the dictators in our countries, arm and train those who oppress us in our own countries and finance the wars they wage in and on our countries. We also know that it is their economic policies, which are now coming back to haunt them, which have destroyed our economies and raped us of our resources with reckless abandon. Through the IMF and the World Bank the Western countries also forbid governments in our countries to provide us with, for example, the right to education. That's right, they prefer that we remain ignorant-thinking that this is the way they can maintain control over our resources and our bodies.

Isn't that what is happening in each and every one of our countries? Isn't that exactly what we fled from? Didn't they promise us one way or another that these were the countries of wealth and human development, of human rights and basic decency, civilization and progress? Yet is that what we have seen? Is this what democracy looks like? Does it look any different than the "democracies" of Cameroon or Egypt, for example?

And in spite of everything, in spite of their over five hundred year attempt to subjugate us and impose their will, their logic and their language, they have not been successful. In fact, they are failing both because their colonial project was designed to fail from the very beginning and because their racist arrogance does not permit them to even develop solutions which could confront the serious crises facing humanity as we speak

Like they have done for so many years to the countries of the so-called Third World, Europe and the United States have dismantled their own economic systems in an all-out race for profit. As long as the rich continued to get richer, and anything could be bought on credit, it was an anything-goes environment. But like their alleged superiority, the putrid foundations of their adventure began to bring down the veil of economic soundness. What is left is a world order in decay and both Europe and the United States struggling-together-to maintain their colonial privileges which have been built on endless quantities of bloods and tears of the very same people who are not and never will be welcomed into their "paradise of fantasy."

But as their instruments of exploitation and dominance becomes more brutal so too do the pangs of capitalism clutches harder. A new world is now emerging, one whose shape and future has yet to be determined. But we should not expect any respite from this system. However, because we are and have always been historical actors of our own destiny, the world to come will be defined by us. And no matter their continued barbarity and profound ignorance of human essence, our destiny is in our hands. It is we, who will determine our future. Not their debased policies and border regimes.

We must never forget that those of us who have been converted into refugees and migrants come from regions of the world that make up the great majority of humanity. And we are not, contrary to the filth and poison injected into our minds for the last five hundred years, in any way inferior. On the contrary, human history will remember the so-called Western Civilization as the most cruel, destructive and exclusive imperial power to have ever existed. Will we ever know how many billions of human beings directly or indirectly perished because of it?

Here in Germany, we have taken steps. The fight against deportation, for truth and justice in the case of Oury Jalloh, the unconditional closing of all Lagers, respect for the right to freedom of movement and the right to life, these have all been the cornerstones in the foundations we have laid together for an end to the barbarity and a better tomorrow for us all.

And we will continue. We will continue to fight together so that we are all respected as the normal human beings that we are. We will not allow ourselves to be intimidated by those cruel and greedy lots of the world. And we will not remain silent; if for nothing, that they may never get their wish. We will remain warriors for human dignity and warriors for an end to colonial injustice. The unbearable pains and suffering they have inflicted on much of humanity will not go unquestioned and they will answer for it, sooner or later.

Together we are breaking the silence and the chains that keep us enslaved in these colonial relationships! Together we will overcome their racist ignorance and cruelty!

Long live the struggle!

Long live those who struggle against the oppressive system!

The VOICE Refugee Forum, Germany
The VOICE Online - The 'Fortress Within': Restriction of Movement and Refugee Self-Organisation