Monday, April 29, 2013

Into the Fire - The Hidden Victims of Austerity in Greece

Embed this film:
Also see our other coverage of the Greek crisis:

Into the Fire is being crowd-released: All over the internet people are embedding Into the Fire on their website or blog. With everyone who participates the audience and distribution network will grow. Are you participating?

A hard hitting documentary which shows the plight of refugees and migrants in recession hit Athens, Into The Fire is a film with a difference.

Shot and edited with sensitivity and compassion, it doesn't pull its punches and makes for harrowing viewing in parts. It is the product of crowd funding, dedication, self-sacrifice and a burning sense of justice.

On 21 April, Into the Fire is simultaneously released on websites, blogs and other platforms around the internet. The film will be available in various languages, including Albanian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish. There are a number of public screenings planned in several countries in Europe and Northern America. To participate in the release or organise a screening see

This strategy is being used to maximise the audience, in the hope that the audience will become active participants, commentators and amplifiers when it comes to opposing the conditions visited on the victims in the story.

The premiere of Into the Fire on 29th April, 6:30pm will be hosted by the School of Oriental and African Studies. The filmmakers will be joined for discussion by Habib Rahman of the Join Council for the Welfare of Immigrants.

In times of severe austerity things look bleak for Greek people, but they're far worse for those who have recently arrived. Without housing, legal papers or support, migrants in Greece are faced with increasing and often violent racism at the hands of the growing Nazi party Golden Dawn and the police in Athens. Many are trapped by EU laws and legislation of other EU countries meaning they'd be returned to Greece if they managed to get to another member state, they are desperate to leave the country.

This film gives incredible insights to the reality faced by people who simply want to lead peaceful, normal lives.
Having been to Athens to shoot footage about austerity in April last year, Reel News video activists started talking and working with a young Somalian refugee, they made many contacts in the migrant world and those contacts gave them access to a huge number of untold and shocking stories.

Funded by small donations from friends and organisations, the film makers are once more turning to their supporters and allies in the UK to distribute the film online and through screenings to grassroots groups across the country. No one has been paid to work on this film.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Shocking testimony from the Police Station of Drapetsona (Greece)


I feell totally obliged to speak about the things I witnessed with my very own eyes at the Police Station of Drapetsona, a close-to- the city- port neighborhood in Piraeus. I really have no idea of how I could possibly help my fellow men and so I expect each one of you to contribute to this by making widely known what I saw: 
The immigrants who are being imprisoned on the basement of the Drapetsona Police Station have been beaten up by the policemen in order to discontinue their hunger strike. This behaviour made the 28-year -old Palestinian imprisoned refugee Ibrahim Farat to attempt suicide . These events has made us, the active citizens of Piraeus to organize a protest march to their support. Once we arrived outside the Police Station the Chief Officer Police appeared right in front of the Specially Equiped Police Forces called MAT- to tell us that a team of 5 individuals could go in and talk to the imprisoned immigrants. These immigrants have been detained simply because they could not provide employment documents as they have lost their jobs owing to the continuously deteriorating economic crisis or because they didn’t have entrance documents in the first place. They haven’t committed any other offence…
The picture I saw was really shocking. In the inferno of the Police Station 100 people were piled up in 70 square meters and have been detained there for more than 9 months, right after the beginning of “Xenios” Dias, this especially setup force organized by the Ministry of Public Order and acts upon the commands of its Minister Mr. Dendias, badly-reputed for his humanitarian methods-which sweeps from the squares poor homeless Greek people and foreign immigrants. (Ironically, Xenios Dias – Zeus was the God of hospitality in ancient years. It was the God that protected the foreigners and every ancient Greek was obliged to take care and offer hospitality to every foreigner. Xenios Dias wasn’t the God who imprisoned, beat and tortured the foreigners). The people have been held up there under unbearable and unspeakable conditions driving these people to despair . The complete lack of hygiene has allowed the spread of contagious skin diseases among them and in combination with the complete absence of natural daylight have made these unlucky people sick , physically and mentally, forcing them to attempt suicide. Even mice may die in these conditions. The picture is impossible to depict. The kind of picture that’s rare even in movies. I’m really outraged at the State of which I’m a citizen. I’m deeply ashamed and outraged against the policemen who beat up these people as the imprisoned revealed to me, something which the Police Station Chief totally denied.

I managed to co-op with the sadness and the despair expressed in their eyes. I managed to have a dialogue with the chief who was trying, in vain, to find excuses, saying that he is trying to balance out between humanitarian principles and dehumanizing orders by Mr. Dendias, who is exclusively responsible in the chief’s opinion for the situation of the PS.

I collapsed when I saw right in front of me a man tearing his own flesh causing bleeding as the only solution to attract our attention to his problem as soon as he saw us hoping that this will get him out of this inferno in which he is being detained and tortured for 9 consecutive months…

While tears filled my eyes, I got out of their cells so as not to be seen as this would further cause to them more pain and grief. These people experience the conditions of hell while alive. I began to scream my head off at the policemen and their accompanying state pschychologists.

You are no human beings I cried. You are violating every sense of what we call human rights and you talk to us about the bureaucracy which prevents you from fixing the toilets – only 2 for 100 people- and for your effort to balance out between humanism and the orders you get. Had you been human beings with any sign of sensitivity you would have spoken out for what happens inside here, and you would have resigned in order to stop this crime. I was beginning to lose control and so I moved out of the station .

Those who happen to read what I am writing must reconsider their responsibilities. They must react. We are the people who have the power.We are the State. But if the state is heartless it is because we who make it we are inhuman.

The Police Chief announced to the imprisoned man who had wounded himself that he would be set free. The same was said to the Palestinian who had earlier attempted suicide. The message that has been passed: You will get out of here only if you commit suicide and if you are lucky you may be promptly saved at the hospital…

Ι wish each one of us had the chance to get into this inferno of Drapetsona and see, speak and look into the eyes of our fellow men who experience this torture, one breath away from our homes. Then, they would all be out in the streets protesting.

Events of this kind take place everywhere in our country, being the result of the operation 'Xenios Dias". We must do everything we can in our capacity to put an end to this dreadful operation which is insulting us, our tradition and our civilization. Mr. Dendias, the minister of the so called ministry for the protection of the citizen(!) really or deliberately ignores our history and he should be reminded of the meaning of hopitality these very ancient Greek words convey.

We demand that these imprisoned ill-fated victims of his cruel policy be immediately released and set free.

We demand the immediate termination of the inhuman operation “ Xenios” Dias that insults our Culture and Democracy and makes expiatories victims the most weak part of our society, the immigrants and the refugees.

Giorgos Karistinos

Break Isolation Solidarity Act in Wolfsburg by the refugees in Wolfsburg

27th of April refugees were taking a strong step in their demand for human dignity together with refugee comunity in Eastern Lower Saxony (Germany). Read their demands:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Movie show and discussion on refugees lives in Kiel

Movie show and discussion on refugees lives

Thursday 23rd of May, 7 P.M.
ZBBS, Sophienblatt 64, 24114 Kiel

The Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants and ZBBS e.V. are showing residenzpflichtdoc a documentation made by Brazilian film maker Denise Garcia Bergt. The movie shows the refugees resistance against the racist law “Residenzpflicht”. But it deals not just with a certain law, if not with the refugees struggle for human dignity.

A person is coming here to look after asylum, what means trying to get some sort of protection, but what they get is an 'Open Air Prison' “ saying Denise Garcia Bergt on her experiences while making the documentary. But the film is inspiring. It shows how refugees are breaking the walls of this “Open Air Prison”.

We invite you under the slogan “BREAK ISOLATION SOLIDARITY ACT” for us to watchthe movie, have dinner, get to know each other and share experiences.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Refugees on Hunger Strike in Greek Detention Centres

The “Deport Racism Movement” reports:
“Hundreds of immigrants and refugees are on hunger strike at the Amygdaleza and other detention camps in the country demanding their release”
They say detainees in the euphemistically named ‘closed hospitality centres’, set up and run with funds by the European Union and Greece, are subjected “to abuse and mocking comments, humiliation and torture.” See full English translation of Greek original on Facebook.
Meanwhile reports presence of riot police, fire brigade and ambulances at the Corinth camp, where unrest has broken out, with one person threatening to commit suicide by jumping off the roof. They say it is unclear what is happening inside the detention camp as the view has been blocked by police vans. Yesterday morning, Tuesday 9th April, two Algerians accessed the roof by climbing up inside a chimney, demanding to be freed and threatening to jump otherwise. They left he roof after negotiations. See full English translation of Greek original on Facebook.
Clandestina reports more than 2,000 detainees are participating and quotes Petros Constantinou, United Against Racism and Fascist Violence (KEERFA) coordinator and Athens town councilor at a press conference on 8th April:
“The culmination of the poor detention conditions, the mistreatment and tortures migrants have to deal with in reception centers was the three suicide attempts which happened in Amygdaleza center in northern Athens last weekend”.
According to Eleftherotypia English, the unrest was sparked by police beating a participant in the hunger strike.
“A police statement says officers fired tear gas at detainees alleged to have thrown roof-tiles at them and set fire to buildings in the complex outside the town of Corinth. Ultimately, a group of 47 Afghan migrants were arrested and taken to a nearby police station.”
Also see a longer article with more background information and context on Infomobile.
via Campaign for the Rescue of Unaccompanied Child Migrants from Greece
Greek Detention Centre
Image source UNHCR Greece

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

3.000 People on demonstration against racism and exclusion in Hamburg

Call Against racism and exclusion – nationwide demonstration

6th of april 2013, 2pm, Hamburg main station
Daily Racism
Racism happens every day in Germany. Not only neofacists act in racist ways but racism is deeply rooted in our society, in our politics, media and in the field of research and science. Discriminating terms which reduce humans to their economical applicability and cultural racism like the equation of islam to terrorism or honour killings contribute to a hostile social climate which has its peak in open violence like the recent neofacist murders (by the so-called NSU) or the incendiary attacks in Rostock-Lichtenhagen.
Governmental racism criminalises, excludes and kills
A huge amount of special-purpose laws degrades asylum seekers to humans of second class. They are restricted in their freedom of movement, they are forced to live in isolated camps (lager), they are not allowed to leave the places to which they were allocated (residential obligation / Residenzpflicht). People are not allowed to work and are interfered in their right for education, medical help and social security benefits etc.
Furthermore the constant threat of deportation and detention pending deportation harms their lives.
Basic right for asylum?
By changing the constitution 20 years ago the basic right for asylum was effectively abolished. A right for asylum remains only for people who did not apply for asylum in so-called safe third countries meaning other European countries. Because of Germany’s geographical position in Europe you can only enter Germany by plane and then apply for asylum there. Therefore Germany closes its borders for refugees instead of taking its responsibility for many causes of fleeing.

Fortress Europe
The assault on refugees already starts before they even enter Germany or Europe: Since 1993 the European Union leads a non-declared war against refugees and migrants. According to the UNHCR this war lead to the death of 16 000 people. In 2011 over 2000 boat refugees have lost their lives in the Mediterranean sea – citing only the official numbers. The EU agency FRONTEX controlls its borders in cooperation with military and police forces by installing gigantic fences, hightech surveillance, deportation prisons and continous operations. They refuse to rescue victims of wreckage and demonstrate that this “letting die“ is an official EU strategy to scare people away.
But the human right for freedom of movement can’t be taken away from anyone.
Benefits from racism for capitalism
Racism is indeed useful for the powerful people in politics and economy: In the case of foreign affairs racism serves geostrategical and military interests. Hostile and racist images create the impression of a permanent threat and thus the approval of the population to the German war politics is gained. Concerning domestic politics the racist ideology ensures the system and hides the roots of social injustice: Justified complaints of the population don’t grow to social protests against the class society but find their expression in the racist claiming of scapegoats. The splitting into “we“ and “the others“
legitimates the exploitation of migrants, the inducing of surveillance and racist controlls.

Racism affects everyone
It is evident that racism should belong to the ash heap of history since a long time.
But racism is constantly reproduced as discrimination of some people continues and privileges for others evolve in the same time. Stereotypes influence daily decisions: If some people don’t get a flat because of their supposed non-German name, others will profit from this discrimination. Consequently the fight against racism affects all of us and has to be lead on all levels.
Everyone can start to recognize and change his or her racist language, stereotypes and behavior.
Hamburg – Gate to the world?
The city of Hamburg is claimed to be a open-minded city (and gate to the world). The mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz, announced in his speech against the neo-Nazi march on the 2nd June 2012 the high level of tolerance that is practised in the city.
But it is his social democratic party which prolonged and even extended the ending treaty for the asylum seeker’ s lager in Horst although him and his party critised the conditions in the lager before as an opposition party. It is a secluded lager for arriving asylum seekers in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The people who have to live there have hardly any access to lawyers, hospitals or counselling centres. It is aimed to isolate them from the rest of the society.
The city of Hamburg also shows inhuman harshness in the way they treat Roma people which have been persecuted for hundreds of years and which have been killed systematically during the German facism. Roma families are deportated even during winter times to Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo where they have to face structural discrimination and racist violence. In 2011 and 2012 256 people (among them mainly Roma) were deported from Hamburg to Macedonia and Serbia. Over 400 Roma have been forced to agree to their so-called “voluntary departure“. Even those 13 Roma families from Hamburg who fought together for their residence in 2011/2012, for example through handing in petitions at the city’s government, were forced to leave Hamburg or were deported, remaining one exception.
Fight racism – solidarity with the refugee strike!
There are always people who show resistance against the racist normality and who fight for a better life. In the movement for the defense of the refugees’ rights people from different countries came together to protest against the inhuman conditions that dircectly affect them. The refugees fight for freedom, egality and equality. We explicitly support the claims of these protests!

-Stop all deportations!
-Abolish residential obligation (Residenzpflicht)!
-Abolish the obligation to live in camps, close all isolation camps (Lager)!
-Approve all asylum seekers as political refugees!

Nobody is able to split us! We fight together for a solidary society, free from any form of racism! We want to live in a world in which people and their needs are focused instead of profits and interests of power!

Friday, April 05, 2013

8 of April 2013 for World Wide Roma Movement – "Let thousands of balloons fly in the sky!"


8 April 2013 for World Wide Roma Movement –
"Let thousands of balloons fly in the sky!"

8th of April is the International Roma Day. On that date in 1971 Roma representatives from 25 countries met for the first time in London and founded the Romani Union. On this day they also decided to replace offensive foreign appellations with our native name “Roma” (human being) and agreed on a common flag, of blue and green with a red wheel in the centre.

Today there is still a lot to do!

Almost everywhere Roma find themselves exposed to  increasing discrimination, ranging from exclusion from education and employment to racially motivated attacks. In Germany there are monthly deportations of Roma to Kosovo and Serbia, in Hungary the far-right Jobbik party gains votes with a shameless anti-Roman propaganda and Roma have to live in fear of assassination attempts. Violent manifestations and attacks against Roma also happened in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. The policemen are indifferent or even racists themselves ... - so many crimes against Roma are never reported or punished.

This list could be further continued...
In the end of the winter many families are in danger to be deported from Germany to a very uncertain future. These families have often been living in Germany for up to 20 years and their children were born in Germany. The deportation is especially difficult for these children who are forced to  leave their home to depart to a foreign country were they do not even understand the official language.

Activists all over the world will release blue, green, and red balloons in order to show solidarity and unity between  all the8 April-events this year in face of rising anti-Roma racism and violence as well as the failure to remedy deep-seated prejudices against our people. In more than 50 countries different events will take place. We ask you to join the movement – tell your friends and family to be part of it.

It is time to stand up and show the world that we are not afraid or willing to suffer in silence. We are European citizens with equal rights and although we are a minority in every country, we are not weak or ashamed to say “WE CLAIM: STOP FORCED DEPORTATIONS AND EVICTIONS, STOP RACISM, STOP DISCRIMINATION – JOIN THE REVOLUTION!”. We are more than 12 Million sisters and brothers in Europe facing the same situation and we are solidly united and loud!

On 8th of April WORLD WIDE Roma stand up against all wrongs committed against Roma and remember the victims of racist mass murder- the cruelty of the past must not be forgotten in order to avoid a repetition.



Worls Wide Events zum 8.April 2013 for World Wide Roma Movement

Tirana/Albania * Buenos Aires/Argentina* Perth/Australia* Vienna/Austria * Belarus* Saint Niklas&Brussels/Belgium * Sarajevo/Bosnia* Rio de Janeiro/Brazil * Sofia/Bulgaria * Toronto/Canada * Chile * Bogota/Colombia * Zagreb/Croatia * Cyprus * Prague/Czech Republic * Denmark * Ecuador * London/England * Estonia * Helsinki/Finland * Paris&Cagliari(Sardinia)/France * Georgia * Greece * Germany25 cities*Budapest/Hungary * Chandigarh/India * Iran * Dublin/Ireland * Genoa&Lombardy&Marche&Campania/Italy * Jerusalem/Israel * Jordan* Gnjilane&Haxi&Prizren&Pristina&Mitrovica/Kosovo * Latvia * Luxembourg * Skopje&Kumanovo/Macedonia * Mexico * Moldova* Podgorica/Montenegro * Netherlands * New Zealand * Norway * Bialystock/Poland* Portugal * Sibiu&Cluj(Rata Pata)&Bucarest/Romania * Ekaterinberg/Russia * Glasgow/Scotland * Belgrade&Beocin/Serbia * Bratislava/Slovakia* Ljubljana/Slovenia * South Africa * Barcelona&Valencia/Spain * Sweden * Bern/Switzerland * Istanbul&Edirne/Turkey * Odessa/Ukraine * New York&Houston&San Francisco/USA *

8 April 2013 for World Wide Roma Movement –
"Let thousands of balloons fly in the sky!"

Am 8. April wird weltweit der Internationale Tag der Roma gefeiert. 1971, vor 42 Jahren, fand an diesem Tag der erste Welt-Roma-Kongress in London statt, bei dem sich Roma-Vertreter_innen aus 25 Ländern trafen. Von diesem Tag an wurde begonnen, diskriminierende Fremdbezeichnungen mit der Selbstbezeichnung „Roma“ (Mensch) zu ersetzen. An diesem Tag einigte man sich ebenfalls auf eine gemeinsame Fahne (oben blau für den Himmel, unten grün in für die Erde und in der Mitte ein rotes Rad).

Auch heute gibt es noch viel zu tun! Immer noch grassieren rassistische Vorurteile gegen Roma in allen Ländern Europas. Besonders kann man dies in Frankreich, Italien und Ungarn beobachten, wo Roma systematisch vertrieben werden und mit einer breiten öffentlichen Zustimmung Hetze gegen sie betrieben wird. Aber auch Deutschland behandelt hier lebende Roma oft wie Rechtlose. Besonders getroffen werden hiervon Roma, die nach der Bombardierung Ex-Jugoslawiens durch die NATO 1999 nach Deutschland flüchteten. Jahrelang wurden sie nur geduldet, unterlagen der Residenzpflicht und durften nicht arbeiten. Ihnen und ihren hier aufgewachsenen Kindern droht nach dem Rücknahmeabkommen zwischen Deutschland und Kosovo die Abschiebung in ein Land, in dem sie massiv diskriminiert werden und in dem ihre grundlegendsten Menschenrechte gefährdet sind. Mit dem 31. März endet der Wintererlass und viele Familien werden erneut akut von Abschiebung bedroht sein! Bereits für den 10. April ist eine Abschiebung in den Kosovo geplant! Wir wollen das nicht hinnehmen und unsere Solidarität mit den Betroffenen zeigen! Viel zu wenige Menschen konnten von den bestehenden Bleiberechtsregelungen profitieren.

Als Akt der Solidarität und um auf ihre Anliegen aufmerksam zu machen, werden Aktivist_innen in 20 Städten Deutschlands und in vielen Ländern weltweit am 8. April Luftballons in den Farben der Roma-Fahne in den Himmel steigen lassen. In über 50 Ländern auf der Welt setzen Menschen ein Zeichen gegen Ausgrenzung, Diskriminierung und für die Rechte und Selbstermächtigung von Roma.

Wir fordern, dass sich Öffentlichkeit und Politik gegen die Ausgrenzung von Roma einsetzen und ihre Verantwortung für die jahrelange Isolation und Marginalisierung geduldeter Flüchtlinge übernehmen: Wir fordern ein bedingungsloses Bleiberecht sowie Bewegungsfreiheit für alle Menschen, die über Jahre hinweg unter den unmenschlichen Bedingungen der Duldung leben mussten!

Wir fordern ein Ende der Ausgrenzung und Isolation von Flüchtlingen in Lagern – Solidarität mit der Break Isolation Bewegung!

Gegen Zwangsräumungen – Save Dale Farm!
alle bleiben!

2013sind vom Düsseldorfer Flughafen aus folgende Sammelabschiebungen terminiert :
23.04. Serbien
07.05. Kosovo
18.06. Serbien/Mazedonien
16.07. Serbien
24.09. Serbien
08.10. Kosovo
19.11. Serbien