We have been seeing, through the media, a rise of solidarity amongst the Germans towards refugees. There has been article after article reporting about welcome structures in different parts of the country. Different people are creating websites offering temporary accommodation to refugees, others are collecting basic clothes, food supplements and taking to the refugees camped in front of the Berliner Lageso, the state Office of Health and Welfare. The picture shows a situation maybe found in Lebanon, which hosts more than 1 million refugees, or in Greece, a country facing huge economic crisis, courtesy of Germany, and obviously incapable of offering much more than its citizens solidarity.
The reality in Germany is that we are in one of the richest European countries, which has the proper means and structures to welcome refugees if they wanted. The empathy of the citizens is welcome, their efforts too, but if it stops on the charity level we are done as a political movement. The impoverishment of the people who are becoming refugees is not new and the reasons are in history and can be understood by those who want to know why human beings are using desperate measures to come to Europe. Colonialism, slavery and white supremacy thinking provoked the situation. That is why people are coming to Europe, they are escaping from countries destroyed by the politics of western countries.
We, as a political group, see the current situation with suspicion. We are missing the demands of the refugees who have been struggling politically in the streets of this country for more than 20 years. No one is quoting „We are here because you destroyed our countries“, perhaps the most poignant campaigns initiated years ago by self-organized political groups of refugees and migrants, such as The Voice Refugee Forum and The Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants. There is also no mentioning in the media of the Refugee Protest March, when in 2012 a group of refugees walked 600 hundred Kilometers from Bavaria to Berlin, set up a camp in Oranienplatz, on the district of Kreuzberg in Berlin, and fought every single day for their rights, demanding: „Close all the Lagers“, „Stop Deportation“, „Abolish Residenzpflicht“, „Freedom of Movement for all“.
There is also hardly any mention about the School in Ohlauer Str. – also in the district of Kreuzberg, where a group of refugees are still fighting for the right to keep a house they have been living since the occupation in 2012. It’s been 1 year since thousands of citizens of Berlin supported the resistance on the roof of the Ohlauer School and now it seems that it never happened as the new approach points to a wave of solidarity coming from individuals willing to help the refugees and fight Lageso, responsible for the accommodation of asylum seekers in Lagers! Yes, Lageso must be criticized, but they must not become the protagonists in this story. Lageso cannot solve the problem because their solution perpetuates another problem: the isolation of the refugees in Lagers, located in small villages in the middle of nowhere, with no access to proper health, education or work oppotunities. All that has been already said countless times by self-organized groups of refugees.
We must understand that Lageso becoming the focus of the problem is a strategy and, as it goes, if we don’t pay attention, soon we will see demonstrations of people asking Lageso for more Lagers.
Lets remember: we demand the closure of the Lagers! Not the other way round. We demand the right of asylum seekers to choose where they live, in regular flats like anyone else who is not seeking asylum in this country. People don’t come to Europe to depend on the charity of individuals or to be in the hands of Lageso and their Lager system. We demand freedom of movement for all! We believe that by engaging politically in the struggle everybody will be also engaging in THE movement of the 21st Century – as Angela Davis wisely pointed out. The Refugee Movement is the movement that is calling for the rights of all human beings.
The International Women Space calls for political mobilization. Support, help and charity won’t change the system, they tend to perpetuate the idea of a humanitarian Europe, which is definitely not the case or human beings wouldn’t be dying in the sea. People are escaping catastrophic situations created by the western countries.
Source: Berlin Refugee Movement / RedGlobe