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)

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.
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:
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

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 
"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.
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:

Friday, April 01, 2016

Greece: Refugees escape prison and occupy the port of Chios

Written by 
Yesterday, refugees broke out of Vial to join protests outside. After more than a week of overcrowded imprisonment, insufficient food, bad facilities, degrading treatment and a humiliating lack of information and access to asylum processing, people felt awful. Fights have repeatedly broken out and the police has been powerless or unwilling to stop them. “These fights never happened in the open camps,” a local commented today. But now they do, and last night they boiled over. Fights started in the evening and went on late into the night. Stones were thrown, people wielded iron bars. It goes to show that if you starve, humiliate and isolate people sufficiently, they can turn on each other.
Broken windows in Vial this morning.
Refugees had already planned yesterday, after seeing their overwhelming numerical advantage over police, to leave the prison today. These fights hardened their resolve. “Noon tomorrow” they said, and at noon they broke out. Hundreds marched down to Chios town, to the port, where they want to take the ferry.
Refugees at the port in Chios.
Police isn’t happy about any of this, but is not sufficiently staffed to do much about it. Riot police may be brought here, but that will take at least a day. The mood at the prison is tense and nobody is allowed near the fences. “Yesterday was yesterday. Today is today. Go away now,” a uniformed man told me as I approached to hotspot today, shortly after the breakout. Very solemn faces were behind the fence, looking out. They seemed not to want or not to dare to speak. Gates between partitions of the camp, that had been open yesterday, are closed now. There are plenty of people inside who missed their chance of escaping, some because they had sickly relatives to take care of.
Vial yesterday, after the protest, when people were locked up again.
Most of those who broke out today want to stay on the dock until the ferry comes, it seems to me. The police wants the port cleared so ferries and legal passengers can go about their business unimpeded. But refugees want to go to, too, law and order be damned. (It is not surprising, after the treatment they’ve gotten, that their respect for European law and authorities has diminished somewhat.) A few hours after refugees occupied the port, a representative of the authorities walked in with an announcement: The open camp at Souda, a stone’s throw away, would be opened to them. The port might then be cleared, everything could go on as before. By and large, refugees said no.
Ce9p9_OXEAET0th.jpg large.jpg
Man in uniform announces idea.
Their thinking is simple. They were told before that they were stuck in a prison. Now they’re not. They are now told they can’t go on the ferry. Why not? What’s there to stop them going further? It may not work out, but at least they have choices now. They can occupy the port or they can go to an open camp. These are choices won by their raucous disobedience.
From the protests yesterday.
This shows the essential flaw of the advice constantly given to refugees by NGOs, UNHCR staff and detention center volunteers: That they should stay calm. The simple truth is, you don’t beat injustice by accepting it. On the contrary, you gain concessions and protect your rights by defying it, by disobeying, by doing what is right even though you’re told you can’t. The people who yesterday were being told they couldn’t leave prison are now being begged to move to an open camp. This is the power of direct action.
Civilly disobedient.
It is hard to believe the police will allow refugees to board the ferry tonight. But the authorities will be in a tight spot. Refugees have been imprisoned here for two weeks without reliable information or food supplies, without access to an asylum process. They have every right to be allowed to move on, rather than suffer this humiliation. They know this. It will be hard to stop them.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Syrian girl at the Northern Greek border of Idomeni. She has a point. #OpenTheBorders

"I'm child and might not know much. but I believe treating people disrespectfully for being born on the other side of the planet is called: RACISM"

Some facts about the march of refugees from Greece to Macedonia/FYROM

Some facts to get the events of Monday the 14th of March straight, when around 2000 refugees marched to Macedonia/FYROM from Idomeni camp, Greece.
  • As reported correctly by several media outlets such as Balkan Newsbeat and the on the morning of the 14th, at around 6:45 AM three people were reported dead at the police station in Gevgelija. They died of drowning, in the Suva Reka river southern Macedonia. 23 other people were rescued.
  • These deaths occurred in the night before the march took place. They were reported in the morning before the march had set off.
  • The route of the march did not follow the itinerary indicated on the flyer, which was allegedly distributed in the camp before the march set off.
  • The flyer we saw in the press after the march contained several false allegations and misleading information. It was stated for example that the probability of Idomeni camp being evacuated was high and that refugees would be deported back to Turkey. This has nowhere been officially announced nor confirmed.
We denounce the media’s total lack of consideration for the chronology of the events as well as their erroneous reporting. Furthermore, we condemn the allegedly distributed flyer for being fear-mongering and misleading.
We would like to add that it is insulting to those who took their destiny into their own hands and took the decision to march together, to think that a flyer could be the sole cause of their decision-making. The violence of the border closure in Idomeni as well as the squalid living conditions people have been subjected to are themselves good enough reasons to decide to take collective action. What is more, people have been walking together and defying border regimes for months now as it was the case in Serbia in October and Hungary in the summer of 2015. We urge the media to focus on the fact that over 2000 people took collective action to find their own way to central Europe. And crucially, that Macedonia/FYROM violently and illegally pushed them back to Greece, without giving them the possibility to ask for international protection.

Testimonies of refugees pushed back from Macedonia to Greece after #marchofhope
The Moving Europe team has gathered testimonies of people who crossed into Macedonian territory after having taken part in a march of several hundred refugees from Idomeni camp in Greece. Near the village of Moin, Macedonia, independent observers were separated from the refugees by Macedonian military. The statements below describe the events that took place after this separation. These are testimonies from people the Moving Europe team marched with and visited again today. These people have all been pushed back illegally from Macedonia to Greece, without having been given the possibility to ask for international protection.

The first testimony is of a family of five; two adults and three children one of which is a three-month old baby. When they crossed through to Macedonia, the crowd they were in was separated into groups of about 50 people and were made to sit on the ground. Guarded by the military, they were made to sit for 10 hours outside.  They were not given any food and when they asked for water the military refused their request, even when it was to mix the water with powder for the baby’s milk.  They witnessed both women and men being beaten by the army. After the long wait, they were brought to a hole in the border fence and pushed through it back to Greece. They could see the hotel close to the official car and truck border crossing in the distance so they started walking towards it because they knew it was close to the camp. The walk back to Idomeni camp lasted 1 hour. They also told us they knew of two pregnant women who lost their babies, either during or after this traumatic day.

The second statement comes from an elderly couple, a man and a woman, who both have a heart condition. They crossed the border to Macedonia and were stopped by the army. They were kept in the village close to where they were stopped for several hours together with a group of about 100 people. At first, they were outside in the cold and wet. Then they say they were taken to some kind of shelter, where it was still very cold. Here, police and military were drinking alcohol, laughing a lot and making fun of them. The army would beat whoever spoke up against them in this setting. All the people were then loaded into an old truck and brought to the fence. Here, the couple saw the soliders cut a hole in the fence. Whilst they were being pushed back to Greece, the soldiers insulted them with animal names such as cow, dog and donkey. They also told them they were “Muslim dogs”. The walk back to the camp took them around one hour.

D, a young man told us that he crossed the river, walked some more and ended up in a village where there was Macedonian military. The military divided him and the other he was with into big groups. There were no NGOs nor the UN where they were made to wait. Eventually, the military brought them to a car and the car brought them back to the border. From the border D walked back to the camp in Idomeni. When he came back to his friends in the camp, they told him they were beaten up by the police on the Macedonian side and were told never to come back to Macedonia. He was back at the camp at 6 o’clock in the evening but he said that many kept coming all through the night, until around 2AM.

After having crossed into Macedonia, M was separated from the journalists and the activists he was with. The group he was a part of was made to sit for seven hours on the ground in the village. Whilst they were waiting in the cold, he said the group tried several times to start a fire. At first the military did not allow them to, but in the end they succeeded. “Either they would have killed us or we would have just died of the cold” he declared, “so we managed to make the fire, despite the military not wanting us to”. After seven hours waiting outside, M’s group was transported in old trucks “like the ones I saw in the films of the second war”, to a location in the mountains. M estimated that the drive lasted 30 minutes. Then the army cut a hole in the fence and pushed the people back onto Greek territory. He then had to walk for about 15 kilometres, a 4 hour walk in total, back to Idomeni camp. He ended his statement by saying “whether we make it to Europe with the relocation program or by another way, I am sure we will find our way to Europe because we are smart. The life of a refugee is very dangerous and adventurous”. M would like to write a book about his “miserable adventures” someday.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

international conference of refugees & migrants

international conference of refugees & migrants  26. – 28.2.2016 in Hamburg26. – 28.2.2016
hamburg/germany, kampnagel
the struggle of refugees how to go on? stop war on migrants

In August 2015 the politically active refugees from Berlin, Hannover and Hamburg together organized a nationwide Refugee Conference in Hannover. Building on this cooperation, we have the pleasure to invite you to the International Conference of Refugees and Migrants on 26-28th February 2016 in Hamburg.
This self-organized conference aims at empowering existing and developing new networks of refugees as well as creating the possibility to analyze the current situation in Germany and Europe. For three days, refugees, migrants, supporters and activists with different backgrounds will discuss, network and share their knowledge. Issues that will be addressed at the conference include:
– The new restrictive laws against refugees
– The situation and struggles at the EU-borders
– Deportations
– The increasing racist attacks
– The situation, demands and struggles of women refugees and migrants
– Refugee self-organization
– Positive achievements of the Refugee Struggle so far
– ›Living‹ conditions in the refugee camps
– The attempts of authorities to divide refugees into ›good‹ and ›bad‹
– Racism against Muslims and Roma/Sinti

The conference will also address the central reasons why people flee: displacement, expropriation, destruction of the environment, colonialism and war.

Join the most important voices in the struggle of refugees and migrants at the conference in order to develop concrete suggestions to improve the situation. Everybody is welcomed to be active: refugees, migrants, activists and interested people from Hamburg, and other german and european cities and regions.
Let‘s open a forum for inspiration and discussion that will create space for actions. Come all! In solidarity!

infos & programme
help to make the conference happen! donate at
questions concerning donations? mail:

the conference is jointly organized by lampedusa in hamburg, CISPM– international coalition of sans-papiers migrants and refugees, voix des migrants, refugee movement berlin, refugee bus tour, refugee protestcamp hannover, asmara‘s world-refugee support supported by recht auf stadt – never mind the papers! in cooperation with kampnagel

The propaganda experiment: AJC in Berlin blaming refugees of antisemitism

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An orthodox Jew under Arab refugees
On January 24th 2016 a Jew wearing a Kippa entered the refugee shelter in Tempelhof, followed by a camera team from the magazine, looking for signs of Antisemitism and hatred of Jews by the refugees who mostly escaped the battle fields of imperialist wars in the middle east only a couple of months ago. This brave fighter for tolerance called Yonathan Shay has found what he wished for: a swastika drawn with a pen, the kind which can usually be found on playgrounds in the south of Germany, and a map of Palestine decorated with the colors of the Palestinian flag. An old lady which heard him refer to the destroyed Palestinian village of Sheikh-Munis as Tel-Aviv turned her back on him and his team. For shay this was a second Kristallnacht. He stood excited and irritated in front of the camera and explained that it might be fine and well that Germany fulfills its historical duties by taking in refugees, but – “Here live Jews”.
The video was viewed already almost half a million times, and shared more than three thousand times. In this sense this is not a side matter, not a pathetic “anti-German” blog or an unimportant information event. The video is an important development of the Zionist involvement in the German asylum politics and of the zionist attack against the global solidarity movement with Palestine. It is important to understand and analyze those aspects.
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Let´s first examine shortly the topic of “antisemitism” in general. Here we have to emphasize again and again that antisemitism as hatred of Jews, meaning as the discrimination of an ethnic religious minority (if we ignore for a moment the fact that the term actually describes hatred against semites in general, meaning also against Arab people), is a European phenomenon. A phenomenon that reached its peak in the biggest manifestation of hatred of Jews ever – the German genocide committed on Jewish people. Swastikas are not an Arab symbol, they were appropriated from Indian cultures by the Nazi regime.
The repeating attempt to present Arab people as antisemites serves a clear urge in the German society, the urge to relativize its own past and to pass on and get rid of the torch of antisemitism. A Palestinian refugee from Syria which spent his whole life in the refugee camps knowing that it was the Jewish-zionist militias that made him a refugee in the first place cannot be equated with a German citizen who supported the genocide and displacement of all Jews in 1938. Such comparisons, which only gain in popularity in Germany today, are racist, inciting and relativize the German and European antisemitism and its consequences.
But such acts of propaganda like the one carried out by also come to serve a second need of the German society. A need which was repressed for decades, but whose heart apparently never stopped beating – the wish for a “pure” society. It is an open secret that many Germans welcome refugees only under duress – out of fear of being seen as racists like back then. But in many parts of the society the wish for a pure western culture still tremors. In order to not repeat the past, parts of the society have found the appropriate name for such a culture – “a Jewish-Christian culture”, a name which is carried proudly on signs at demos of the racist anti-Islam movement “Pegida”. The German society, having lost the second world war, is ready to take in the culture of its past victims (providing of course it is a western-Jewish culture), in order to at the same time exclude the Muslim culture of so many people. The video report of demonstrates this perfectly; If they want to come here, they must understand: here is a place for Jews and Christians. How the wheel of history turns.
But who is this “orthodox Jew” actually, which almost never wears a Kippa on his Facebook photos and in the past even posted inciting commentary against orthodox Jews? Our analysis is missing one essential part.
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Through only watching the video of it is not clear who is this Yonathan Shay actually, and why did he decide to one day enter a refugee shelter wearing a Kippa. A short internet search only shows that Shay claims to have been attacked several times in the past by Muslim people in Berlin because of his Kippa. But there is something much more important behind this, something which carries extreme significance for us as solidarity activists with Palestine.
As published on their website and social media, Shay is working for the AJC, and it was also in their commission that he visited the refugee shelter on that day. The AJC, or the American Jewish Committee, is a Zionist lobby group which was founded in the US and has its offices in over 20 countries around the world. Similar to the ADL, the Anti Defamation League, the AJC mainly works by means of promoting Zionist agenda through accusations of antisemitism. An important strategy in their work is pressure to change judicial definitions of antisemitism to also include anti-Zionism (LINK). The AJC was very quick to publish a press release following the video, in which they demand that a “democracy summit” be held to fight antisemitism of refugees (LINK). Since it is hard to believe that the idea for such a summit came so spontaneously, we can assume that Shay´s visit in Tempelhof was specifically orchestrated to create cause for such a summit.
The AJC is no stranger to us as activists of Palestinian solidarity in Berlin. During the demonstrations in Berlin against the massacres in Gaza in 2014 we saw many times people with cameras wearing AJC badges, who took off when we addressed them. But they have already gotten their footage: they have filmed small groups of youth who were yelling “Jew, you coward pig” and brought the videos to the media. An immense campaign of defamation ensued, attempting to forbid the demonstrations, and we and our comrades were labeled antisemites in the media for weeks. This has led to a rise in the aggressiveness of the police, such as after the demonstration in front of the Israeli embassy, and to further banning of slogans.
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They who murder children are children murderers
And this process continues. Now our slogan “Israel is children murderer” – a slogan which cannot describe the situation in Gaza any better – has also been banned by the police for reasons of antisemitic content. The day is not far in which the slogan “boycott Israel” would also be banned. If a map of Palestine is considered an antisemitic graffiti, our entire work is in danger.
If we as leftists kept quiet, when the AJC attacked and delegitimized the demonstrations for Gaza with all political means, when the reaction of left groups to those campaigns in the past was to organize “separate” demonstrations where calls of “Allahu Akbar” and “child murderers” are not welcome, then we do not have the right to roll our eyes at the video today. Zionist propaganda is like the occupation itself: if it gains the smallest foothold it will not let go until the entire territory is taken over. We know the past – the demonstrations of 2014, and the present – the video from Tempelhof. If we wish to see the future, we must do no more than turn our eyes to France, where BDS today is almost illegal.
If we do not remove this propaganda from our own heads and act, if no masses of anti-Zionist Jews are to come to the demonstrations and be loud, if left groups do not take a clear position against Zionism and against accusations of antisemitism, if anti-racist groups and refugee support groups do not understand that “combating the causes of migration and flight” means the fight against Zionism as well, then very quickly the people who do speak up for Palestine would be persecuted, criminalized and banned. And those who have not said anything would have contributed their share to the plunge of our society into the abyss of anti-Muslim hate. Now is the time for a clear and brave voice against Zionism.