Kompass - Antira-Newsletter No. 75 - February 2019


+++ From the Sea to the Cities, from the boats to the buses, from Syracuse to Berlin?! +++ 1. and 2.2. in Berlin and Osnabrück, Mainz...: Together for family reunification and fundamental rights +++ 8-10th of February in Frankfurt: Germanwide meeting of We`ll Come United +++ 9th of February in Frankfurt: Hessen-wide networking meeting on 100 years of deportation prisons +++ Alarm Phone Report and situation on the Mediterranean routes +++ Stansted 15 were found guilty because of successful prevention of deportations +++ In the circle - film against the deportations to Afghanistan +++ New initiative and online platform: In which society do we want to live? +++ Reading hint: "Laughing is part of a liberated society – Why Islamism kills freedom and fleeing is not a crime“ +++ Review: Oury Jalloh Demo +++ Outlook: 10.-12.5. in many cities: Action days on 100 years of deportation prisons; 17.-19.5. in Hamburg: Right to the city Forum; 31.8. in Büren: demonstration against 100 years of deportation prisons; In August: mobilizations to Saxony +++

Dear friends! 

We would first like to ask you to watch a wonderful 3-minute video clip (italian-german subtitles) from Naples: https://www.facebook.com/aricco/videos/10216516674582370/  And to share it. 

While we are working on this compass, the mayor of Syracuse has opened the city's port for the Sea Watch and in a broad local alliance he is working for the reception of the rescued. Demonstrations and gatherings are taking place in many Italian cities and Salvini appears stricken for the first time since the summer of 2018. Will it be possible to get the refugees and migrants disembarked at an Italian port?  

From the Sea to the Cities 

From the sea to the cities, from the boats to the buses, from Palermo to Berlin ... Could we imagine a transnational mobilization in which the Sea Watch rescued can disembark in Syracuse, Naples or Palermo and afterwards we will accompany them further in a corridor and a caravan of solidarity to Berlin or other cities in north-western Europe? With Buses of Hope in a convoy orange? These are the questions that many people who are active in sea rescue, in solidarity city groups, in the initiatives of the Seebrücke are asking themselves facing the new escalations again. The mayors of Palermo and Naples demonstrated their practical readiness a few weeks ago. They offensively announced that they would open their ports for sea rescue operations and even meet the rescue ships with their own boats (see http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/italien-die-front-gegen-matteo-salvinis-fluechtlingsgesetz-waechst-a-1246836.html ). Even the Pope took position and in the days around 6 January the whole potential of civil society disobedience against the national and supranational regime of exclusion became noticeable. Meanwhile 37 cities in Germany explained themselves to safe harbors and/or their willingness to welcome more refugees (see https://seebruecke.org/startseite/sichere-haefen-in-deutschland/ ).

Sea Watch and Sea Eye nevertheless had to wait up to 20 days at sea with 49 people rescued from sea distress before they were allowed to land in Valetta after a questionable deal in any EU bodies. The affected people are still detained in a detention in Malta and then will be distributed to seven countries, including Romania, together with others rescued in recent weeks. And people from Bangladesh are to be immediately deported to their country of origin. 

The challenge now!

To demonstrate practically that this can be done quite differently. After the great demonstrations and mobilizations in autumn we could now show what an "uprising of solidarity" could look like in concrete terms. In spite of and against Salvini and Kurz and Seehofer, we could enforce the admission and onward journey. To break a corridor of solidarity into the axis of shame. At least to try to start new broad mobilizations directly related to the continuing flight movements. From the Sea to the Cities! And this in the entire Mediterranean region. Refugees and migrants will continue to try to make their way to the EU not only from Libya and Tunisia but also from Morocco and Algeria as well as from Turkey. It is true that there were considerably fewer people arriving on the European coasts in 2018 than in the years 2014 to 2017. But the Mediterranean remains a contested space in which the importance of the routes changes and new dynamics can develop at any time. While the figures in Italy have fallen to a low with around 23,000 crossings or rescues, landings in the Aegean remained at the same level as last year. More than 15,000 people are now stuck in the hotspots on the Greek islands, in a catastrophic situation with the first cold deaths. Far more people than in the previous year managed to cross the Turkish-Greek landborder - despite and against the systematic push-backs. 

Finally: the number of "Bozas", the successful border crossings from Morocco to Spain, has doubled to almost 60,000 compared to 2017. And this continues in the first three weeks of the new year: in the western Mediterranean, arrivals have again risen sharply compared to January 2018, with over 3,500 people (see https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/mediterranean ).

Rescue chains of solidarity

The fact that solidarity support is not only necessary but also effectively possible can be read impressively in the last Alarm Phone Report:" ´There are no words big enough to describe the value of the work you are doing. It is a deeply human act and it will never be forgotten. The whole of your team should know that we wish all of you health and a long life and the best wishes in all the colours of the world.` These are the words that the Alarm Phone received a few days ago from a man who had been on a boat in the Western Mediterranean Sea and with whom our shift teams had stayed in touch throughout the night until they were finally rescued to Spain. He was able to support the other travellers by continuously and calmly reassuring them, and thereby averted panic on the boat. His message motivates us to continue also in 2019 to do everything we can to assist people who have taken to the sea because Europe’s border regime has closed safe and legal routes, leaving only the most dangerous paths slightly open. On these paths, over 2,240 people have lost their lives this year.

While we write this report, 311 people are heading toward Spain on the rescue boat of the NGO Proactiva Open Arms. The travellers called the Alarm Phone when they were on a boat-convoy that had left from Libya. Based on the indications of their location, Al-Khums, the civil reconnaissance aircraft Colibri launched a search operation in the morning of the 21st of December and was able to spot the convoy of three boats which were then rescued by Proactiva Open Arms. … The successful rescue operation of the 313 people (one mother and her infant child were flown out by a helicopter after rescue) highlights the chain of solidarity that activists and NGOs have created in the Central Mediterranean Sea….“

How to stop Deportations?

At the same time, it seems increasingly difficult to keep effective resistance to the intensified deportation policy. The expanded apparatus is running faster than ever, not least because it meets comparatively fewer refugees. The threats to extend the transfer period for church asylum seekers in Dublin to 18 months are intended to intimidate welcoming church communities. The Federal Office generally loses the relevant court proceedings, but what is the value of the legal situation when the main intention is deterrence? 

Whether against Dublin deportations or against charter deportations to the countries of origin, the necessary https://aktionbuergerinnenasyl.de  has so far been limited to small groups in too few cities. Tenacious and exhausting daily struggles characterize this situation, in which deported people try to come back a second time again or have to hide in their communities for a long time. The number of illegalised people across Europe has increased massively, and the network of solidarity cities remains in demand: first and foremost in the establishment and expansion of support and further flight structures.

Search process with anti-racist focal points

Apropos everyday struggles: "Our starting point are the struggles in which we find ourselves every day. We believe that a dynamic of mutual empowerment and sustainable change can only unfold if the process is based on concrete daily struggles, or at least if it is always related back to them". This is the formulation of a new cross-thematic and cross-spectrum initiative that went public in mid-January. Several of the groups involved have an explicitly anti-racist self-conception. "In which society do we want to live? With this question we are today launching our new online platform: http://welche-gesellschaft.org/  ... A joint long-term search process to develop an alternative narrative for society as a whole. We invite you to do so." We recommend to accept this invitation :-) 

With solidarity and greetings,

the Kompass team