A caravan of hope, solidarity and humanity against Fortress Europe.
During the last few weeks, a two-fold scene is unravelling right before our eyes, which will definitely mark European history, depending on which side will prevail. On the one hand, the police, or even the army at the EU borders, violently and aggressively pushing back migrants and their children, who are forced to flee due to poverty and war (which in many cases is caused, or at least encouraged by countries of the West), subjecting them to authoritarian registration processes, while at the same time, denying them the right to a free and dignified life.
On the other side, refugees and migrants are showing incredible persistence and courage and keep on going, driven by their desire for freedom, peace and life. From Istanbul to Edirne, from Idomeni to Serbia and from Keleti in Hungary to Austria, self-organized massive marches of refugees, are actually questioning the EU borders regime and negate Dublin II with their courageous march. They advocate safe entrances and demand humane treatment from the EU, for which the Declaration of Human Rights is only ornamental.
The current European “migration” policy, that is characterized by FRONTEX’s repression, refoulement, stricter border controls and fences, proved inadequate to fulfil its own role, which was none other than to terrorize and intimidate the refugees and migrants, who wish to escape from scenes of war and disaster. Their determination and courage to continue on the road to freedom, by putting in danger even their own lives, provided the spark to the people inside the EU-fortress to question more openly EU’s current repressive migration policy and the red entry zones.
The Marches of Hope were met with great response and support from solidarians in many European countries. With self-organized actions and massive acts of civic disobedience, they ignore the current laws, clearly stating that all immigrants and refugees are welcome. A typical example was the unprecedented radical stance of the Austrian railway union, which sent extra trains to Keleti, Budapest, to assure the safe and free transport of immigrants and refugees to Austria, releasing an announcement of support to their fight.
In the last few years, the thousands of deaths in the Mediterranean, seemed to leave indifferent the EU media, until the photo of little Aylan’s dead body off the Turkish coast echoed around the world, forcing the media to raise awareness, however briefly. This momentary expression of Europe’s humanity, with Germany promising asylum to 800,000 Syrian refugees, suspending Dublin II and demanding quotas to ensure the distribution of refugees, very soon returned to the all-too-familiar Europe of fences and strict border controls with violence and repression. Their hypocrisy is also unveiled when it comes to European solidarians, whose practical support is being criminalised, as everyone involved with the refugee convoy may face jail time up to 10 years, accused of trafficking and smuggling.
In the meanwhile, Europe’s asylum system, in tandem with international organizations, makes a very clear and strict distinction between “refugees” and “immigrants”, serving political and communicational objectives and allegedly respecting human rights and the Geneva Convention. To all that, we respond, that for us, people cannot be distinguished in first and second class citizens and the right to life is non negotiable for everyone. In Hungary, Viktor Orbán’s right-wing government, as of 15 September, closed the land borders with Serbia, with a 175 km long fence. The barbed wired fences and the army currently deployed in the area, remind us of different times and the hundreds of refugees “trapped” in the dead zone between the two countries, now have only the help of the solidarians and volunteers to hope for. Families are being torn apart and sent to different detention centres, children without medical care are left unprotected in bad weather conditions, and those reacting have tear gas thrown at them. The barbed wired fences expand to the borders with Romania and Slovenia, the Hungarian parliament succeeded in passing undisturbed a series of reactionary measures with urgent procedures, threatening refugees and immigrants with up to three years imprisonment should they enter their territory. The Marches of Hope strive to find alternative routes from Serbia to Croatia and Slovenia. The developments from over there are not encouraging, since those countries fail to meet people’s needs for food, housing and healthcare.
Right now, refugees and immigrants who wish to enter the EU, are seeking safe passage by land, starting from Istanbul to Edirne, following a call which was spread widely on social networks (#crossingnomore). In this effort, many activists came together and pressured the Turkish authorities to allow the transit of immigrants though the Turkish borders, towards Greece. However, Turkey’s response was to arrest 5 activists, accusing them of supporting and helping immigrants cross the borders illegally. Among them, there are a French activist and a German activist, both members of the group “Crossing No More movement”, who took part in the dissident demonstrations at Gezi Park in Istanbul and are now facing imprisonment or deportation from Turkey.
Because of all that, the initiative who formed an international solidarity caravan, the “Open Borders Caravan”, is asking to support the refugees against EU’s murderous migration policy. The caravan puts forward a European Union without borders, with social rights, equality and dignity as opposed to the cultivation of nationalism and fascism throughout Europe.
Everyone must stand with the refugees and the immigrants, who are neither terrorists, nor criminals, but are revolutionaries and fighters. The caravan addresses a call of real solidarity to the liberating struggle of refugees and immigrants, no matter where they come from. It demands open borders and creating safe passage for all refugees and immigrants.
It calls all activists, collectives and initiatives that are in solidarity with the refugees in the area and all across Europe, to form part of the Open Border Caravan, starting at the open assembly in Ljubljana on 26 September, in a joint action at the nearby borders.
Nothing can stop our will to live and our longing for freedom!
Because their fight is our fight and their future, our future!