After the Paris attacks, Europe is closing its borders. The volunteers of the Balkans migrants route react by proposing a European day of action on 18 December to “open the doors”.
The appeal calls for a mobilization to show that there is another way to defeat fear: dismantling walls and fences. At the borders, inside our communities, in our minds. Like the Paris citizens did in the night of the attack, hosting in their houses the people trying to escape from the massacre. Like many Europeans did last summer, opening their homes and their cars to migrants.
Paris attack provided Europe the justification to strengthening the closing of the borders, by putting in practice decisions taken before the terroristic attack. And also to put strong limitations to the exception of the Balkans route.
Since some days after Paris only Syrians, Iraqi and Afghani can cross the Balkans borders. All the others are prevented to go on. The selection is done on the bases of nationality, a procedure which is against all the international legislation on asylum.
Many thousands people are stuck in these days in Eidomeni, Greek-Macedonian border, in the middle of nowhere. The Iranians are in hunger strike and many of them sewed their lip to protest.
The opening of the Balkans route has not been a gift from Merkel. It has been conquered by the migrants march, the strongest nonviolent civil disobedience action never seen in Europe since decades. It has been supported by a new civic movements, truly Europeans, which has been able to be on the field for months and which have accumulate, by volunteering, a big strength and legitimacy for political action.
From this movement a strong emergency call arise: to react Paris attack with war, militarization, borders closure, civil and democratic liberties is not only wrong, it’s also a big gift to the extreme right. Extreme right is leading the electoral polls in France, conquered Poland government, and it fells now stronger – in the meanwhile every night in Europe one migrants shelter go burnt.
This is not an issue for the specialists on migration and antiracists, the Balkans volunteers tell. The risk of a Europe reacting to the attacks of obscurantism by becoming darker and darker is strong. The luxury of of fragmentation is not allowed anymore, we have to try to unify the struggles. Migrants rights, peace and social justice are faces of the same medal, because the social insecurity and the global injustice feed the hostility towards people arriving from outside.
The text of the call who proposes the mobilization day all over Europe is very short:
"Activists from Greece, Turkey, Western Balkans and all over Europe committed on the migrants routes met in Thessaloniki. They invite all individuals, movements, social organizations, trade unions which don’t want to live in a obscure, unjust and anti democratic Europe and world to mobilize and take action on December 18th. OPEN THE DOORS, NO TO WALLS. Peace, democracy, social justice, dignity for all."
The call arrives from Thessaloniki were a meeting took place on November 21st – 22nd to put in communication Balkans route volunteers, the convoys movements of Austria and Germany with activist committed on other routes, organization of many countries and many European networks.
It could have been an opportunity for interchanging on hosting and integration issues, between new movements and organizations which are active since many years. It took place in the days when Macedonia started blocked thousands of migrants, and when Brussels inhabitants have been asked not to go out from their home.
When the terror hit Madrid, in one night a big movement clarify that, regarding the fight to terrorism, the answer cannot be found inside the securitarian large coalitions. There are two opposite camps, one for war and one for peace. And today too we should need a strong and popular democratic answer, strong enough to keep back our people from the rightist discourses and to provide with courage the Europeans who have good values.
In these days, the demonstrations for climate justice which will take place all over Europe and the planet, updates to the new dramatical situation, can make a difference. Then, together, we hope to be able to build up a December 18th strong and large as it is needed.