city:athens

  • Greek election: Voters crave return to mainstream politics
    https://apnews.com/3f6cb9737cda457282ede8e9e43417ed

    Left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called the snap poll after being trounced in May’s European parliamentary elections and several months after his coalition with a nationalist partner collapsed. It followed a grueling four years in office for Tsipras, largely defined by economic hardship and a slow recovery after Greece limped out of an international bailout.

    si c’est vrai, ça fait quand même bien chier.

  • Athens’ air-raid shelters 1936-40

    I.Metaxa’s government, the “4th August” regime which came to power in 1936, considered conflict in Europe to be a real possibility. Moreover they realized that the airplane was going to dominate the fields of battle and as a consequence urban bombardments (provoking mass casualties) were more than probable (Εθνική Ένωσις Αεροχημικής Προστασίας/ National Association for Aero-chemical Protection 1936). This scenario drove Metaxa’s regime to conceive and implement a vast project of Civil Protection (Βλάσσης 2013) , focusing on the construction of numerous air–raid shelters. Noteworthy are the diversities in the type and size of the shelters that ranged from narrow underground galleries or small chambers, to organized shelters of hundreds of square meters including hygiene infrastructure, water tanks, numerous chambers and auxiliary rooms (Κυρίμης 2017).


    https://www.athenssocialatlas.gr/en/article/athens-air-raid-shelters-1936-40
    #Athènes #bunkers #guerre #histoire #WWII #seconde_guerre_mondiale #refuges #souterrain #Grèce #refuge #refuges
    ping @albertocampiphoto

  • Refugee, volunteer, prisoner: #Sarah_Mardini and Europe’s hardening line on migration

    Early last August, Sarah Mardini sat on a balcony on the Greek island of Lesvos. As the sun started to fade, a summer breeze rose off the Aegean Sea. She leaned back in her chair and relaxed, while the Turkish coastline, only 16 kilometres away, formed a silhouette behind her.

    Three years before, Mardini had arrived on this island from Syria – a dramatic journey that made international headlines. Now she was volunteering her time helping other refugees. She didn’t know it yet, but in a few weeks that work would land her in prison.

    Mardini had crossed the narrow stretch of water from Turkey in August 2015, landing on Lesvos after fleeing her home in Damascus to escape the Syrian civil war. On the way, she almost drowned when the engine of the inflatable dinghy she was travelling in broke down.

    More than 800,000 people followed a similar route from the Turkish coast to the Greek Islands that year. Almost 800 of them are now dead or missing.

    As the boat Mardini was in pitched and spun, she slipped overboard and struggled to hold it steady in the violent waves. Her sister, Yusra, three years younger, soon joined. Both girls were swimmers, and their act of heroism likely saved the 18 other people on board. They eventually made it to Germany and received asylum. Yusra went on to compete in the 2016 Olympics for the first ever Refugee Olympic Team. Sarah, held back from swimming by an injury, returned to Lesvos to help other refugees.

    On the balcony, Mardini, 23, was enjoying a rare moment of respite from long days spent working in the squalid Moria refugee camp. For the first time in a long time, she was looking forward to the future. After years spent between Lesvos and Berlin, she had decided to return to her university studies in Germany.

    But when she went to the airport to leave, shortly after The New Humanitarian visited her, Mardini was arrested. Along with several other volunteers from Emergency Response Centre International, or ERCI, the Greek non-profit where she volunteered, Mardini was charged with belonging to a criminal organisation, people smuggling, money laundering, and espionage.

    According to watchdog groups, the case against Mardini is not an isolated incident. Amnesty International says it is part of a broader trend of European governments taking a harder line on immigration and using anti-smuggling laws to de-legitimise humanitarian assistance to refugees and migrants.

    Far-right Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini recently pushed through legislation that ends humanitarian protection for migrants and asylum seekers, while Italy and Greece have ramped up pressure on maritime search and rescue NGOs, forcing them to shutter operations. At the end of March, the EU ended naval patrols in the Mediterranean that had saved the lives of thousands of migrants.

    In 2016, five other international volunteers were arrested on Lesvos on similar charges to Mardini. They were eventually acquitted, but dozens of other cases across Europe fit a similar pattern: from Denmark to France, people have been arrested, charged, and sometimes successfully prosecuted under anti-smuggling regulations based on actions they took to assist migrants.

    Late last month, Salam Kamal-Aldeen, a Danish national who founded the rescue non-governmental organisation Team Humanity, filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights, challenging what he says is a Greek crackdown on lifesaving activities.

    According to Maria Serrano, senior campaigner on migration at Amnesty International, collectively the cases have done tremendous damage in terms of public perception of humanitarian work in Europe. “The atmosphere… is very hostile for anyone that is trying to help, and this [has a] chilling effect on other people that want to help,” she said.

    As for the case against Mardini and the other ERCI volunteers, Human Rights Watch concluded that the accusations are baseless. “It seems like a bad joke, and a scary one as well because of what the implications are for humanitarian activists and NGOs just trying to save people’s lives,” said Bill Van Esveld, who researched the case for HRW.

    While the Lesvos prosecutor could not be reached for comment, the Greek police said in a statement after Mardini’s arrest that she and other aid workers were “active in the systematic facilitation of illegal entrance of foreigners” – a violation of the country’s Migration Code.

    Mardini spent 108 days in pre-trial detention before being released on bail at the beginning of December. The case against her is still open. Her lawyer expects news on what will happen next in June or July. If convicted, Mardini could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

    “It seems like a bad joke, and a scary one as well because of what the implications are for humanitarian activists and NGOs just trying to save people’s lives.”

    Return to Lesvos

    The arrest and pending trial are the latest in a series of events, starting with the beginning of the Syrian war in 2011, that have disrupted any sense of normalcy in Mardini’s life.

    Even after making it to Germany in 2015, Mardini never really settled in. She was 20 years old and in an unfamiliar city. The secure world she grew up in had been destroyed, and the future felt like a blank and confusing canvas. “I missed Syria and Damascus and just this warmness in everything,” she said.

    While wading through these emotions, Mardini received a Facebook message in 2016 from an ERCI volunteer. The swimming sisters from Syria who saved a boat full of refugees were an inspiration. Volunteers on Lesvos told their story to children on the island to give them hope for the future, the volunteer said, inviting Mardini to visit. “It totally touched my heart,” Mardini recalled. “Somebody saw me as a hope… and there is somebody asking for my help.”

    So Mardini flew back to Lesvos in August 2016. Just one year earlier she had nearly died trying to reach the island, before enduring a journey across the Balkans that involved hiding from police officers in forests, narrowly escaping being kidnapped, sneaking across tightly controlled borders, and spending a night in police custody in a barn. Now, all it took was a flight to retrace the route.

    Her first day on the island, Mardini was trained to help refugees disembark safely when their boats reached the shores. By nighttime, she was sitting on the beach watching for approaching vessels. It was past midnight, and the sea was calm. Lights from the Turkish coastline twinkled serenely across the water. After about half an hour, a walkie talkie crackled. The Greek Coast Guard had spotted a boat.

    Volunteers switched on the headlights of their cars, giving the refugees something to aim for. Thin lines of silver from the reflective strips on the refugees’ life jackets glinted in the darkness, and the rumble of a motor and chatter of voices drifted across the water. As the boat came into view, volunteers yelled: “You are in Greece. You are safe. Turn the engine off.”

    Mardini was in the water again, holding the boat steady, helping people disembark. When the rush of activity ended, a feeling of guilt washed over her. “I felt it was unfair that they were on a refugee boat and I’m a rescuer,” she said.

    But Mardini was hooked. She spent the next two weeks assisting with boat landings and teaching swimming lessons to the kids who idolised her and her sister. Even after returning to Germany, she couldn’t stop thinking about Lesvos. “I decided to come back for one month,” she said, “and I never left.”
    Moria camp

    The island became the centre of Mardini’s life. She put her studies at Bard College Berlin on hold to spend more time in Greece. “I found what I love,” she explained.

    Meanwhile, the situation on the Greek islands was changing. In 2017, just under 30,000 people crossed the Aegean Sea to Greece, compared to some 850,000 in 2015. There were fewer arrivals, but those who did come were spending more time in camps with dismal conditions.

    “You have people who are dying and living in a four-metre tent with seven relatives. They have limited access to water. Hygiene is zero. Privacy is zero. Security: zero. Children’s rights: zero. Human rights: zero… You feel useless. You feel very useless.”

    The volunteer response shifted accordingly, towards the camps, and when TNH visited Mardini she moved around the island with a sense of purpose and familiarity, joking with other volunteers and greeting refugees she knew from her work in the streets.

    Much of her time was spent as a translator for ERCI’s medical team in Moria. The camp, the main one on Lesvos, was built to accommodate around 3,000 people, but by 2018 housed close to 9,000. Streams of sewage ran between tents. People were forced to stand in line for hours for food. The wait to see a doctor could take months, and conditions were causing intense psychological strain. Self-harm and suicide attempts were increasing, especially among children, and sexual and gender-based violence were commonplace.

    Mardini was on the front lines. “What we do in Moria is fighting the fire,” she said. “You have people who are dying and living in a four-metre tent with seven relatives. They have limited access to water. Hygiene is zero. Privacy is zero. Security: zero. Children’s rights: zero. Human rights: zero… You feel useless. You feel very useless.”

    By then, Mardini had been on Lesvos almost continuously for nine months, and it was taking a toll. She seemed to be weighed down, slipping into long moments of silence. “I’m taking in. I’m taking in. I’m taking in. But it’s going to come out at some point,” she said.

    It was time for a break. Mardini had decided to return to Berlin at the end of the month to resume her studies and make an effort to invest in her life there. But she planned to remain connected to Lesvos. “I love this island… the sad thing is that it’s not nice for everybody. Others see it as just a jail.”
    Investigation and Arrest

    The airport on Lesvos is on the shoreline close to where Mardini helped with the boat landing her first night as a volunteer. On 21 August, when she went to check in for her flight to Berlin, she was surrounded by five Greek police officers. “They kind of circled around me, and they said that I should come with [them],” Mardini recalled.

    Mardini knew that the police on Lesvos had been investigating her and some of the other volunteers from ERCI, but at first she still didn’t realise what was happening. Seven months earlier, in February 2018, she was briefly detained with a volunteer named Sean Binder, a German national. They had been driving one of ERCI’s 4X4s when police stopped them, searched the vehicle, and found Greek military license plates hidden under the civilian plates.

    When Mardini was arrested at the airport, Binder turned himself in too, and the police released a statement saying they were investigating 30 people – six Greeks and 24 foreigners – for involvement in “organised migrant trafficking rings”. Two Greek nationals, including ERCI’s founder, were also arrested at the time.

    While it is still not clear what the plates were doing on the vehicle, according Van Esveld from HRW, “it does seem clear… neither Sarah or Sean had any idea that these plates were [there]”.

    The felony charges against Mardini and Binder were ultimately unconnected to the plates, and HRW’s Van Esveld said the police work appears to either have been appallingly shoddy or done in bad faith. HRW took the unusual step of commenting on the ongoing case because it appeared authorities were “literally just [taking] a humanitarian activity and labelling it as a crime”, he added.
    Detention

    After two weeks in a cell on Lesvos, Mardini was sent to a prison in Athens. On the ferry ride to the mainland, her hands were shackled. That’s when it sank in: “Ok, it’s official,” she thought. “They’re transferring me to jail.”

    In prison, Mardini was locked in a cell with eight other women from 8pm to 8am. During the day, she would go to Greek classes and art classes, drink coffee with other prisoners, and watch the news.

    She was able to make phone calls, and her mother, who was also granted asylum in Germany, came to visit a number of times. “The first time we saw each other we just broke down in tears,” Mardini recalled. It had been months since they’d seen each other, and now they could only speak for 20 minutes, separated by a plastic barrier.

    Most of the time, Mardini just read, finishing more than 40 books, including Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, which helped her come to terms with her situation. “I decided this is my life right now, and I need to get something out of it,” she explained. “I just accepted what’s going on.”

    People can be held in pre-trial detention for up to 18 months in Greece. But at the beginning of December, a judge accepted Mardini’s lawyer’s request for bail. Binder was released the same day.
    Lingering fear

    On Lesvos, where everyone in the volunteer community knows each other, the case came as a shock. “People started to be... scared,” said Claudia Drost, a 23-year-old from the Netherlands and close friend of Mardini’s who started volunteering on the island in 2016. “There was a feeling of fear that if the police… put [Mardini] in prison, they can put anyone in prison.”

    “We are standing [up] for what we are doing because we are saving people and we are helping people.”

    That feeling was heightened by the knowledge that humanitarians across Europe were being charged with crimes for helping refugees and migrants.

    During the height of the migration crisis in Europe, between the fall of 2015 and winter 2016, some 300 people were arrested in Denmark on charges related to helping refugees. In August 2016, French farmer Cédric Herrou was arrested for helping migrants and asylum seekers cross the French-Italian border. In October 2017, 12 people were charged with facilitating illegal migration in Belgium for letting asylum seekers stay in their homes and use their cellphones. And last June, the captain of a search and rescue boat belonging to the German NGO Mission Lifeline was arrested in Malta and charged with operating the vessel without proper registration or license.

    Drost said that after Mardini was released the fear faded a bit, but still lingers. There is also a sense of defiance. “We are standing [up] for what we are doing because we are saving people and we are helping people,” Drost said.

    As for Mardini, the charges have forced her to disengage from humanitarian work on Lesvos, at least until the case is over. She is back in Berlin and has started university again. “I think because I’m not in Lesvos anymore I’m just finding it very good to be here,” she said. “I’m kind of in a stable moment just to reflect about my life and what I want to do.”

    But she also knows the stability could very well be fleeting. With the prospect of more time in prison hanging over her, the future is still a blank canvas. People often ask if she is optimistic about the case. “No,” she said. “In the first place, they put me in… jail.”

    https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/feature/2019/05/02/refugee-volunteer-prisoner-sarah-mardini-and-europe-s-hardening-
    #criminalisation #délit_de_solidarité #asile #migrations #solidarité #réfugiés #Grèce #Lesbos #Moria #camps_de_réfugiés #Europe

    Avec une frise chronologique:

    ping @reka

  • Dick Dale, the Inventor of Surf Rock, Was a Lebanese-American Kid from Boston
    https://www.newyorker.com/culture/postscript/dick-dale-the-inventor-of-surf-rock-was-a-lebanese-american-kid-from-bost

    Dale died on Saturday, at age eighty-one. It’s perhaps curious, at first glance, that a Lebanese-American kid from Boston invented a genre known as surf rock, but such is Dale’s story. He was born Richard Monsour in 1937; several decades earlier, his paternal grandparents had immigrated to the U.S. from Beirut.

    [...]

    Dale’s work was directly and mightily informed by the Arabic music that he listened to as a child. “My music comes from the rhythm of Arab songs,” Dale told the journalist George Baramki Azar, in 1998. “The darbukkah, along with the wailing style of Arab singing, especially the way they use the throat, creates a very powerful force.”

    • Puisque semi #Paywall :

      Dick Dale, the Inventor of Surf Rock, Was a Lebanese-American Kid from Boston
      Amanda Petrusich, The New-Yorker, le 18 mars 2019

      Like a lot of people in my generation, I heard Dick Dale’s “Misirlou” for the first time in the opening credits of Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction.” It was 1994, I was fourteen, and my friend Bobby, who had both a license and a car, had driven us to the fancy movie theatre, the one with the un-ripped seats and slightly artier films. We were aspiring aesthetes who dreamed of one day being described as pretentious; by Thanksgiving, we had made half a dozen trips to see “Pulp Fiction.” Each time “Miserlou” played—and Tarantino lets it roll on, uninterrupted, for over a minute—I gripped my cardboard tub of popcorn a little tighter. I simply could not imagine a cooler way to start a movie. “Misirlou” is only two minutes and fifteen seconds long, all told, but it communicates an extraordinary amount of menace. Dale yelps periodically, as if he’s being hotly pursued. One is left only with the sense that something terrible and great is about to occur.

      Dale died on Saturday, at age eighty-one. It’s perhaps curious, at first glance, that a Lebanese-American kid from Boston invented a genre known as surf rock, but such is Dale’s story. He was born Richard Monsour in 1937; several decades earlier, his paternal grandparents had immigrated to the U.S. from Beirut. Dale bought his first guitar used, for eight dollars, and paid it off twenty-five or fifty cents at a time. He liked Hank Williams’s spare and searching cowboy songs—his stage name is a winking homage to the cheekiness of the country-music circuit—but he was particularly taken by the effervescent and indefatigable drumming of Gene Krupa. His guitar style is rhythmic, prickly, biting: “That’s why I play now with that heavy staccato style like I’m playing drums,” he told the Miami New Times, in 2018. “I actually started playing on soup cans and flower pots while listening to big band.” When he was a senior in high school, his family moved from Massachusetts to El Segundo, California, so that his father, a machinist, could take a job at Howard Hughes’s aerospace company. That’s when Dale started surfing.

      As far as subgenres go, surf rock is fairly specialized: the term refers to instrumental rock music made in the first half of the nineteen-sixties, in southern California, in which reverb-laden guitars approximate, in some vague way, the sound of a crashing wave. Though it is tempting to fold in bands like the Beach Boys, who often sang about surfing, surf rock was wet and gnarly and unconcerned with romance or sweetness. The important part was successfully evincing the sensation of riding atop a rushing crest of water and to capture something about that experience, which was both tense and glorious: man versus sea, man versus himself, man versus the banality and ugliness of life on land. Its biggest question was: How do we make this thing sound the way that thing feels? Surfing is an alluring sport in part because it combines recklessness with grace. Dale’s music did similar work. It was as audacious as it was beautiful.

      For six months, beginning on July 1, 1961, Dale set up at the Rendezvous Ballroom, an old dance hall on the Balboa Peninsula, in Newport Beach, and tried to bring the wildness of the Pacific Ocean inside. His song “Let’s Go Trippin’,” which he started playing that summer, is now widely considered the very first surf-rock song. He recorded it in September, and it reached No. 60 on the Hot 100. His shows at the Rendezvous were often referred to as stomps, and they routinely sold out. It is hard not to wonder now what it must have felt like in that room: the briny air, a bit of sand in everyone’s hair, Dale shredding so loud and so hard that the windows rattled. He was messing around with reverb and non-Western scales, ideas that had not yet infiltrated rock music in any meaningful way. Maybe you took a beer outside and let his guitar fade into the sound of the surf. Maybe you stood up close, near a speaker, and felt every bone in your body clack together.

      Dale’s work was directly and mightily informed by the Arabic music that he listened to as a child. “My music comes from the rhythm of Arab songs,” Dale told the journalist George Baramki Azar, in 1998. “The darbukkah, along with the wailing style of Arab singing, especially the way they use the throat, creates a very powerful force.”

      Dale was left-handed, and he preferred to play a custom-made Fender Stratocaster guitar at an indecent volume. (After he exploded enough amplifiers, Fender also made him a custom amplifier—the Dick Dale Dual Showman.) His version of “Misirlou” is gorgeously belligerent. Though it feels deeply American—it is so heavy with the energy of teen-agers, hot rods, and wide suburban boulevards—“Misirlou” is in fact an eastern Mediterranean folk song. The earliest recorded version is Greek, from 1927, and it was performed in a style known as rebetiko, itself a complex mélange of Orthodox chanting, indigenous Greek music, and the Ottoman songs that took root in Greek cities during the occupation. (A few years back, I spent some time travelling through Greece for a Times Magazine story about indigenous-Greek folk music; when I heard “Misirlou” playing from a 78-r.p.m. record on a gramophone on the outskirts of Athens—a later, slower version, recorded by an extraordinary oud player named Anton Abdelahad—I nearly choked on my cup of wine.)

      That a song written at least a century before and thousands of miles away could leave me quaking in a movie theatre in suburban New York City in 1994 is so plainly miraculous and wonderful—how do we not toast Dale for being the momentary keeper of such a thing? He eventually released nine studio albums, beginning in 1962 and ending in 2001. (In 2019, he was still touring regularly and had new dates scheduled for this spring and summer.) There’s some footage of Dale playing “Misirlou” on “Later…with Jools Holland,” in 1996, when he was nearly sixty years old. His hair has thinned, and he’s wearing a sweatband across his forehead. A feathery earring hangs from one ear. The dude is going for it in a big way. It feels like a plume of smoke is about to start rising from the strings of his guitar. His fingers never stop moving. It’s hard to see the faces of the audience members, but I like to think that their eyes were wide, and they were thinking of the sea.

      Amanda Petrusich is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of, most recently, “Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records.”

    • Dale’s work was directly and mightily informed by the Arabic music that he listened to as a child. “My music comes from the rhythm of Arab songs,” Dale told the journalist George Baramki Azar, in 1998. “The darbukkah, along with the wailing style of Arab singing, especially the way they use the throat, creates a very powerful force.”

  • Attacks on #refugees in #Greece continue :

    The Alarm Phone was contacted today by a group of people that was attacked by a mob outside Athens. With #Greek police presence, the mob used petrol bombs, stones and batons to attack the whole group - men, women and children.

    https://twitter.com/alarm_phone/status/1106651815859417089
    #racisme #attaques_racistes #Athènes #anti-réfugiés #réfugiés #asile #migrations #Grèce

  • When the Camera Was a Weapon of Imperialism. (And When It Still Is.)

    I first saw the photograph some years ago, online. Later, I tracked it down to its original source: “In Afric’s Forest and Jungle: Or Six Years Among the Yorubans,” a memoir published in 1899 by the Rev. R.H. Stone. It shows a crowd in what is now Nigeria, but what was then Yorubaland under British colonial influence. The caption below the photograph reads: “A king of Ejayboo. Governor of Lagos on right. For years the rulers of this fierce tribe made the profession of Christianity a capital crime.” This description is familiar in tone from anthropological literature of the period, though the photograph is hard to date precisely. “Ejayboo” is what we would nowadays spell as “Ijebu,” a subgroup of Yoruba. That catches my attention: I am Yoruba and also Ijebu. This picture is a time capsule from a world to which I am connected but had not seen before, a world by colonial encounter.

    By the middle of the 19th century, through treaties and threats of force, the British had wrested control of the coastal city Lagos from its king. They then turned their efforts to improving access to the goods and services in the Yoruba hinterland. The Yoruba were already by that time a populous and diverse ethnic group, full of rivalrous kingdoms large and small, some friendly to the British, others less so.

    Stone, a Virginian sent by the Southern Baptist Convention, lived among them — lived among us — for two spells, in 1859-63 and 1867-69, before, during and after the American Civil War. He had this to say about Yoruba people: “They are reasonable, brave and patriotic, and are capable of a very high degree of intellectual culture.” It is praise, but must be understood in the context of a statement he makes earlier in his book about living “among the barbarous people” of that part of the world. In any case, the Ijebu in the mid-19th century were largely wealthy traders and farmers who did not want to give the British right of way to the interior of the country; only through diplomacy, subterfuge and violence were they finally overcome.

    This photograph was made in the aftermath. The white governor of Lagos — based on the plausible dates, it is probably John Hawley Glover — sits under an enormous umbrella. On one side of him is another high-ranking colonial officer. On the other side is the Ijebu king, or oba, probably the Awujale of the Ijebu kingdom, Oba Ademuyewo Fidipote.

    The oba wears a beaded crown, but the beads have been parted and his face is visible. This is unusual, for the oba is like a god and must be concealed when in public. The beads over his face, with their interplay of light and shadow, are meant to give him a divine aspect. Why is his face visible in this photograph? Some contravention of customary practice has taken place. The dozens of men seated on the ground in front of him are visibly alarmed. Many have turned their bodies away from the oba, and several are positioned toward the camera, not in order to look at the camera but in order to avoid looking at the exposed radiance of their king.

    The invention of the daguerreotype was announced in 1839. By the 1840s, photography had spread like wildfire and become a vital aspect of European colonialism. It played a role in administrative, missionary, scientific and commercial activities. As the Zimbabwean novelist Yvonne Vera put it: “The camera has often been a dire instrument. In Africa, as in most parts of the dispossessed, the camera arrives as part of the colonial paraphernalia, together with the gun and the bible. ...”

    Photography in colonialized societies was not only a dire instrument. Subject peoples often adopted photography for their own uses. There were, for instance, a number of studios in Lagos by the 1880s, where elites could go to pose for portraits. But such positive side effects aside, photography during colonial rule imaged the world in order to study, profit from and own it. The colonial gaze might describe as barbarous both the oba’s beaded crown and his regal right to conceal himself. This was one of the repeated interactions between imperial powers and the populations that they sought to control: The dominant power decided that everything had to be seen and cataloged, a task for which photography was perfectly suited. Under the giant umbrella of colonialism, nothing would be allowed to remain hidden from the imperial authorities.

    Imperialism and colonial photographic practices both flourished in the 19th century, and both extended themselves, with cosmetic adaptations, into the 20th. In 1960, during the horrific French war on Algeria, the French military assigned a young soldier, Marc Garanger, to photograph people in an internment camp in the Kabylia region of Northern Algeria. Thousands of people had been confined in the region under armed guard, and the French military commander had decreed that ID cards were mandatory. A picture of each prisoner was required. Many of the women were forced to remove their veils. These were women who did not wish to be seen, made to sit for photographs that were not for them. (Photography played a different military role in the numerous aerial reconnaissance missions by the French, which resulted in thousands of negatives mapping the region.)

    Garanger’s photographs both record an injustice and occasion it. His alternative, not an easy one, would have been to refuse the order and go to prison. His pictures show us what we ought not to see: Young and old women, their hair free flowing or plaited, one face after the other, in the hundreds. They collectively emanate refusal. The women of Kabylia look through the photographer, certainly not considering him an ally. Their gazes rise from the surface of the photograph, palpably furious.

    When we speak of “shooting” with a camera, we are acknowledging the kinship of photography and violence. The anthropological photographs made in the 19th century under the aegis of colonial powers are related to the images created by contemporary photojournalists, including those who embed with military forces. Embedding is sometimes the only way to get a direct record, no matter how limited, of what is happening in an armed conflict. On occasion such an arrangement leads to images whose directness displeases the authorities, but a more common outcome has been that proximity to an army helps bolster the narrative preferred by the army.

    Still, photographic reportage has the power to quicken the conscience and motivate political commitments. Examples abound of photographs acting as catalysts in the public’s understanding of vital issues, from the images of Bergen-Belsen in 1945 to the photograph of the Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi in 2015. And yet, perhaps even more insistently, on a day-by-day, week-by-week basis, photography implicitly serves the powers that be. To insist that contemporary photographic practice — and I mean to include a majority of the international news coverage in newspapers like this one — is generally made (and published) for the greater good is to misconstrue history, because it leaves out the question of “Good for whom?” Such pictures aren’t for their subjects any more than the photograph in Stone’s book was for the Ijebus and their king.

    Certain images underscore an unbridgeable gap and a never-to-be-toppled hierarchy. When a group of people is judged to be “foreign,” it becomes far more likely that news organizations will run, for the consumption of their audiences, explicit, disturbing photographs of members of that group: starving children or bullet-riddled bodies. Meanwhile, the injury and degradation of those with whom readers perceive a kinship — a judgment often based on racial sympathy and class loyalties — is routinely treated in more circumspect fashion. This has hardly changed since Susan Sontag made the same observation in “Regarding the Pain of Others” (2003), and it has hardly changed because the underlying political relationships between dominant and subject societies have hardly changed.

    Without confronting this inequality, this misconstrual of history, photography will continue to describe itself as one thing (a force for liberation) while obdurately remaining another (an obedient appendage of state power). It will continue to be like the organs of the state that “spread democracy” and change regimes. Even when it appears to go against the state, it will only do so selectively, quaintly, beautifully, piteously, in terms that do not question the right of the state to assert power.

    For how long will these radically unequal societal realities endure? Many affecting photographs have been made during the huge waves of international migration of the past few years. These pictures issue, as usual, from the presumed rights of photographers to depict the suffering of people “out there” for the viewing of those “back home.” But in looking at these images — images of war, of starvation, of capsized boats and exhausted caravans — we must go beyond the usual frames of pity and abjection. Every picture of suffering should elicit a question stronger than “Why is this happening?” The question should be “Why have I allowed this to happen?”

    This is what the scholar Ariella Azoulay calls the “citizenship” of photography, its ability, when practiced thoughtfully, to remind us of our mutual responsibilities. When I look at the bewildering photographs of refugee camps in Richard Mosse’s recent book, “The Castle,” I feel indicted. The imperial underpinnings of Mosse’s project are inescapable: Using military-grade thermal cameras, he makes extremely complex panoramic images (stitched together from hundreds of shots) of landscapes in the Middle East and Europe in which refugees have gathered or have been confined. His pictures echo the surveillance to which these bodies are already subjected. But the thermal imaging renders the images very dark, with the humans showing up as white shapes (almost like a negative). The picture conceals what it reveals. We see people, but they remain hidden.

    This technique makes for uncanny images in which distressed people move about like the figures you see in dreams, indistinct but full of ghostly presence. At the Moria camp in Greece, it is snowing. We see a long snaking line of people, waiting. What are they waiting for? For some material handout, probably, for food or blankets or documents. But their waiting represents the deeper waiting of all those who have been confined in the antechamber of humanity. They are waiting to be allowed to be human.

    Mosse’s images, formally striking as they are, are unquestionably part of the language of visual domination. With his political freedom of movement and his expensive technical equipment, he makes meticulous pictures of suffering that end up in exquisite books and in art galleries. He is not the first photographer to aestheticize suffering, nor will he be the last. And yet, by suppressing color, by overwhelming the viewer with detail, by evoking racial horror rather than prettily displaying it and by including in his work philosophical considerations of the scenes he shows — “The Castle” contains essays by Judith Butler, Paul K. Saint-Amour and Mosse himself and a poem by Behrouz Boochani — he does something quite different from most photojournalists. He unsettles the viewer.

    Photography’s future will be much like its past. It will largely continue to illustrate, without condemning, how the powerful dominate the less powerful. It will bring the “news” and continue to support the idea that doing so — collecting the lives of others for the consumption of “us” — is a natural right. But with a project like “The Castle,” I have a little bit of hope that an ethic of self-determination can be restored. I have hope that the refugees of Moria, Athens, Berlin and Belgrade will gain a measure of privacy. The women of Kabylia will cover their faces and return to themselves as they wish to be. The oba’s beaded crown will fall back into place, shadowing his face. Photography writes with light, but not everything wants to be seen. Among the human rights is the right to remain obscure, unseen and dark.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/06/magazine/when-the-camera-was-a-weapon-of-imperialism-and-when-it-still-is.html

    #photographie #colonialisme #post-colonialisme #impérialisme
    ping @albertocampiphoto @philippe_de_jonckheere

    Reçu via la mailing-list Migreurop avec le commentaire suivant de Emmanuel Blanchard:

    L’auteur fait notamment référence au travail récent de #Richard_Mosse (exposition et ouvrage « The Castle ») dont il fait un compte rendu à la critique et laudatif. Un point de vue qui peut lui-même être critiqué... dans un sens plus critique.
    Pour accéder à quelques images de Richard Mosse :

    https://vimeo.com/302281332


    https://wsimag.com/art/33291-richard-mosse-the-castle
    https://bit.ly/2NglY08

    #réfugiés #asile #migrations #images #image

    The Castle

    Richard Mosse has spent the past few years documenting the ongoing refugee and migration crisis, repurposing military-grade camera technology to confront how governments and societies perceive refugees. His latest book The Castle is a meticulous record of refugee camps located across mass migration routes from the Middle East and Central Asia into the European Union via Turkey. Using a thermal video camera intended for long-range border enforcement, Mosse films the camps from high elevations to draw attention to the ways in which each interrelates with, or is divorced from, adjacent citizen infrastructure. His source footage is then broken down into hundreds of individual frames, which are digitally overlapped in a grid formation to create composite heat maps.

    Truncating time and space, Mosse’s images speak to the lived experience of refugees indefinitely awaiting asylum and trapped in a Byzantine state of limbo. The book is divided into 28 sites, each presenting an annotated sequence of close-up images that fold out into a panoramic heat map. Within this format, Mosse underscores the provisional architecture of the camps and the ways in which each camp is variously marginalised, concealed, regulated, militarized, integrated, and/or dispersed. His images point to the glaring disconnect between the brisk free trade of globalized capitalism and the dehumanizing erosion of international refugee law in European nation-states. Named after Kafka’s 1926 novel, The Castle prompts questions about the ‘visibility’ of refugees and the erosion of their human rights.

    The book comes with a separate book of texts, including a poem by Behrouz Boochani, the journalist, novelist and Iranian refugee currently held by the Australian government in confinement on Manus island, an essay by Paul K. Saint-Amour, associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, an essay by philosopher Judith Butler, and a text by Richard Mosse.


    #livre

  • Greece - Macedonia

    from Zoe Mavroudi sur FB - Une réflexion intéressante à propos du différend sur le nom « Macédoine »

    If you don’t follow Greek politics you may have come across reports and photos from a protest in Athens on the “Macedonian” issue. The political dispute between Greece and Macedonia (the country) on this issue goes back more than a century, and is too complicated to parse in one post but, in brief, it centers on the right of Greece’s neighbouring State to use the word “Macedonia” in its official name. The Greek State has historically claimed that this right would be an infringement on its history because the Greek region of Macedonia (which covers the largest part of its northern territory) used to be the home of Alexander the Great, the place where his golden hair glowed under the sun and that only Greeks as his true descendants can claim this name and bask in his glory forever etc etc.

    Last week’s protest was held against a new pact scheduled for a vote tomorrow in Greece’s parliament, which will settle the issue once and for all between the two countries, binding Greece to accept the name “North Macedonia” in return for real concessions that Macedonians will never again attempt to steal Alexander’s glory from us...or something. The pact is advantageous for Greece and will be the end of a political hot potato.

    You might have seen pictures from last week’s protest of men wearing ancient garb, armour and helmets, looking like Pride gays with some kind of Greco-Roman fetish.

    Needless to say not everyone who is Greek, including myself, agrees with their bullshit.

    Among the reasons why their bullshit is such pure bullshit should be obvious: their argument imagines that “Greekness” involves racial and linguistic purity and that other ethnicities which lived in the region, a melting pot of different cultures for centuries, are impure and therefore unwelcome. Scratch the surface of Greek patriotic dissent and you get some good-old fascism. Fascist MPs have manipulated popular sentiment around this issue for years and were front line at the protest, where journos were attacked and beaten by fascist groups.

    The nationalism that has been unleashed about all this has existed on both sides of the border of course but ultimately, it is Greece, a member of the EU and NATO that has infringed on the right of its neighbour to self-determination by repeatedly vetoing its attempts to enter international organizations and doing this based on historical inaccuracies and fantasies of a supposedly uninterrupted continuum of its national identity. The Greek argument was also predicated on the erasure of the history of Slavo-Macedonians (I use the term “slavo” for the purposes of explaining the issue but don’t fully accept its accuracy) via systematic exclusion, confiscation of property through racist laws and linguistic oppression.

    As someone born and raised in Greece, I was only vaguely aware of these facts until relatively recently given that it was all omitted from our school manuals and suppressed in public discourse. I have received abuse on twitter for simply expressing support for the pact.

    The dangers of rejecting this new deal for Greece and Macedonia are multi-fold and involve the increased influence in the Balkans of Turkey’s Erdogan and the real danger that the region becomes inflamed by conflict. Though the pact is NATO and EU-approved, NATO being one of the main culprits of the war in Yugoslavia, there is imo no excuse for left-wing opposition against the deal, given the lack of alternatives. This is a case where Greece’s geopolitical interests happen to be aligned with those of NATO-EU and where workers in N. Macedonia, who have been suffering for too long under what is, essentially, an embargo aimed at their society, must have our support. On a personal note, I wouldn’t give one piece of my pure Greek hair for any argument that supports one imperialist influence in the Balkans over another (in this case, Putin-Erdogan over NATO-EU). I stand with citizens of another country, especially one weaker and poorer than mine and support their democratic right to self-determination.

    #grèce #macédoin #noms #terminologie #mots

  • #Gazochori : The History of a Neighbourhood (1857–1980)

    The Athens gasworks was established in 1857 by royal decree of King Otto, which granted French businessman François Théophile Feraldi the right to establish and operate the gasworks.

    It was the first gasworks in the city of Athens and all of Greece and it quickly became an integral part of life in the capital, as it made street illumination possible and transformed everyday life in the city; the new gas streetlights gave those who were out in the city at night an improved sense of security. However, the biggest change anticipated with the coming of gas lighting was European splendour, which appears to have been coveted by part of the population of Athens from the mid-19th century onwards (Newspaper Skrip/ Σκριπ 25 December 1895).

    Following the construction of the gasworks, which began in 1857 and continued for almost a century with the gradual addition of various annexes, unlicensed buildings began to spring up around it, forming the neighbourhood of Gazochori (Στογιαννίδης & Χατζηγώγας 2013: 53). As evidenced by its name—from the Greek gazi for gas and chorio for village—the settlement was formed after the gasworks began operations. In 19th and early 20th century sources, the neighbourhood is referred to sometimes as Gazochori and sometimes as the #Aeriofotos neighbourhood or simply #Fotaerio [1].


    https://www.athenssocialatlas.gr/en/article/gazochori
    #Athènes #cartographie #histoire #visualisation #quartier #femmes #évolution #Grèce

  • What is Salesforce? Four days, 170,000 people, and one Metallica concert later, I figured out what Salesforce is — Quartz
    https://qz.com/1500717/what-is-salesforce-four-days-170000-people-and-one-metallica-concert-later-i-fig

    I had not registered for this session, and had to convince the conference bouncers that my press pass allowed me entry. They allowed me to attend on the condition that I wouldn’t take up a precious chair.

    What dawned on me over the course of this discussion was the sheer ubiquity of software.
    I agreed and sat in a chair at the far end of the room. Slowly, several people, all of them white, nearly all of them women, joined our table. One worked for a community bank in Wisconsin. Another for Freddie Mac. Two of the women, it turned out, worked for the company my brother co-founded, which often helps financial firms with Salesforce.

    This was the closest I had come to understanding what Salesforce is actually good for, beyond throwing swanky parties. Everyone at the table had used Salesforce to solve problems at their companies. It had worked well. They had many more problems, and wanted to figure out the best way to use the platform to solve those, too. As they discussed how best to “leverage Financial Services Cloud,” their heads nodded.

    What dawned on me over the course of this discussion was the sheer ubiquity of software. Yes, it is several years now since Marc Andreessen wrote that “software is eating the world.” But it’s not just the smartphones and websites that we have come to be familiar with as “software.” It’s literally everything. Do anything in a modern city and it will trigger a long string of computational processes. Test-drive a car, express interest in an insurance plan, apply for a loan, contribute to a nonprofit, use a credit card, call airline customer service, change a t-shirt order from “large” to “medium,” and you will be entered into a database, added to annual reports, sent automated emails, plugged into “people who buy X also buy Y” algorithms. This is obviously true for hip startups like AirBnb. It is also true for boring, ancient, bailed-out behemoths like Freddie Mac.

    Usually, the software that runs in the dark server rooms of non-tech companies either comes with hefty license fees or is barely functional, hacked together over years by in-house coders who have come and gone. Information relevant to the company may be spread across hundreds of spreadsheets and thousands of emails, accessible only from certain computers or networks. One of the chief complaints of the woman from Freddie Mac was that the company has “a lot of legacy systems” that need to be modernized.

    “Enterprise software”—specifically “customer relationship management” software—aims to solve, or at least alleviate, such problems. Benioff’s insight was to do so using the “cloud.” Instead of charging people for a license to use your software, a la Windows XP, have them pay for a subscription to use your service, which can be accessed anywhere. It’s like Gmail, but for all of the mind-numbing tasks of the modern salesperson, customer service representative, or middle manager, like inputting what happened on a call with a customer or generating inventory reports. No more understaffed IT departments, no more inaccessible spreadsheets, no more massive upfront costs.

    These days, most people use several cloud-based services, like Spotify or Dropbox. It’s why the Google Chromebook can be a thing, and why Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, can get by without ever using a computer. It’s why Salesforce can count among its several mascots SaaSy, named after “Software as a Service,” a dancing white circle with arms and legs, but no face, that displays the word “software” in a red circle with a red line crossing it out. Nothing to install, just the cloud. That is sassy.

    But Benioff was onto the idea early. Less than 20 years have passed since he staged a sassy fake protest at the annual conference of the incumbent CRM giant, Siebel Systems, with protesters chanting, “The internet is really neat, software is obsolete!” Now 89 of the companies on the Fortune 100 use Salesforce. For the past three years, Salesforce has grown over 20% year-over-year every single quarter.

    What is Salesforce? Four days, 170,000 people, and one Metallica concert later, I figured out what Salesforce is — Quartz
    https://qz.com/1500717/what-is-salesforce-four-days-170000-people-and-one-metallica-concert-later-i-fig

    Giving more people access to high-paying tech jobs. Looks great.

    Soon after that, though, a darker, less altruistic interpretation of “inclusive capitalism” began to emerge. One that sees it not primarily as a way to bring in the excluded, but to boost the Salesforce brand, to fortify the cult, to attract talent and investors. To establish a place in history.

    After the PepUp Tech video, another told the story of billionaire Italian fashion designer Brunello Cucinelli, who uses Salesforce at his company. Cucinelli was himself in attendance. After the video finished, he took the microphone and spoke directly to Benioff in rapid-fire Italian, through an interpreter, as if he were the effusive prognosticator of an ancient king.

    “For your birthday,” Cucinelli pronounced, “I have a special request to submit to you.” This was how I learned that the keynote speech was happening on the day of Benioff’s 54th birthday.

    If “inclusive capitalism” has any chance of succeeding, one could hope for no better agent than Benioff.
    “I would like you, in this special world, which is the cradle of genius, you should envision something that lasts for the next 2,000 years,” Cucinelli continued. “In ancient Greece, Pericles 2,500 years ago stated, ‘as long as our Parthenon is standing, our Athens will be standing, too.’ In ancient Rome, Hadrian stated, ‘I feel responsible for the beauty in the world,’ and he states, ‘my Rome will be there forever.’ In my Florence, during the Renaissance, there is Lorenzo the Magnificent, another genius, who basically sits around the same table, Michelangelo, Leonardo, all together, and they design and plan for eternity…I think you, Marc, you could be the new Lorenzo the Magnificent of this side of the world.”

    Benioff was certainly positive about the first video, but this speech appeared to affect him in a deeper way. Salesforce Tower is now the tallest building in San Francisco. There is a children’s hospital in the city with his name on it. Maybe not quite 2,000 years, but those will last. And with Time under his belt, Benioff is in a position to become known as the guy who figured out how to improve the world while making loads of cash. He has deflected suggestions that he intends to run for political office by saying he can do even more good as a CEO.

    If “inclusive capitalism” has any chance of succeeding, one could hope for no better agent than Benioff. He’s a large, imposing, wealthy white man with ties to cultural icons and A-level politicians, but also to community leaders and local activists. Instead of making grand, world-changing gestures to “cure all diseases,” his focus is local, on things he has a personal stake in and can observe, like the well-being of the Bay Area. He has a chief philanthropy officer. Salesforce develops tools that make charitable giving easier for companies and organizations. His intentions appear to be good.

    But it’s also true that Benioff probably couldn’t have bought Time magazine, or built such a tall tower, if not for the exclusive capitalism that he hopes to rid the world of. This is the hard thing about being a billionaire who wants to do good: they only feel responsible for the beauty in the world so long as they still get to have lots and lots and lots of money. Benioff can donate tens of millions of dollars, marginally expanding the set of people who benefit from the status quo, without really losing any of his own wealth. And if anything, it raises his status even further.

    But if “inclusive” and “capitalism” turn out to be incompatible, would he be willing to give it all up for the greater good?

    #USA #capitalisme #action_charitable #affaires

  • Icon: The Embodiment Of Democracy And The Free Market
    https://hackernoon.com/icon-the-embodiment-of-democracy-and-the-free-market-55d01e15c6f5?source

    Icon: The Democracy Of CryptocurrencyDemocracy: A Short AnalysisThe conception of democracy began millennia ago, with its origins in Ancient Greece and Ancient India, particularly, Athens. Citizens voted directly on legislation and executive bills, however, the democracy of Athens was far more primitive than our contemporary paradigm of global democracy. Within Athens, approximately 30% of the population could vote, siphoning equality and equity from the political paradigm of democracy as we know and understand it today. Women could not vote, foreigners could not vote, nor could slaves vote; you had to be a male citizen within Athens to obtain the unique privilege to vote on legislation. Democracy existed within the Kingdom of Ganarajya, where king’s were elected by the people and for (...)

    #ethereum #bitcoin #cryptocurrency #blockchain #south-korea

  • Europe is using smartphone data as a weapon to deport refugees

    European leaders need to bring immigration numbers down, and #metadata on smartphones could be just what they need to start sending migrants back.

    Smartphones have helped tens of thousands of migrants travel to Europe. A phone means you can stay in touch with your family – or with people smugglers. On the road, you can check Facebook groups that warn of border closures, policy changes or scams to watch out for. Advice on how to avoid border police spreads via WhatsApp.

    Now, governments are using migrants’ smartphones to deport them.

    Across the continent, migrants are being confronted by a booming mobile forensics industry that specialises in extracting a smartphone’s messages, location history, and even #WhatsApp data. That information can potentially be turned against the phone owners themselves.

    In 2017 both Germany and Denmark expanded laws that enabled immigration officials to extract data from asylum seekers’ phones. Similar legislation has been proposed in Belgium and Austria, while the UK and Norway have been searching asylum seekers’ devices for years.

    Following right-wing gains across the EU, beleaguered governments are scrambling to bring immigration numbers down. Tackling fraudulent asylum applications seems like an easy way to do that. As European leaders met in Brussels last week to thrash out a new, tougher framework to manage migration —which nevertheless seems insufficient to placate Angela Merkel’s critics in Germany— immigration agencies across Europe are showing new enthusiasm for laws and software that enable phone data to be used in deportation cases.

    Admittedly, some refugees do lie on their asylum applications. Omar – not his real name – certainly did. He travelled to Germany via Greece. Even for Syrians like him there were few legal alternatives into the EU. But his route meant he could face deportation under the EU’s Dublin regulation, which dictates that asylum seekers must claim refugee status in the first EU country they arrive in. For Omar, that would mean settling in Greece – hardly an attractive destination considering its high unemployment and stretched social services.

    Last year, more than 7,000 people were deported from Germany according to the Dublin regulation. If Omar’s phone were searched, he could have become one of them, as his location history would have revealed his route through Europe, including his arrival in Greece.

    But before his asylum interview, he met Lena – also not her real name. A refugee advocate and businesswoman, Lena had read about Germany’s new surveillance laws. She encouraged Omar to throw his phone away and tell immigration officials it had been stolen in the refugee camp where he was staying. “This camp was well-known for crime,” says Lena, “so the story seemed believable.” His application is still pending.

    Omar is not the only asylum seeker to hide phone data from state officials. When sociology professor Marie Gillespie researched phone use among migrants travelling to Europe in 2016, she encountered widespread fear of mobile phone surveillance. “Mobile phones were facilitators and enablers of their journeys, but they also posed a threat,” she says. In response, she saw migrants who kept up to 13 different #SIM cards, hiding them in different parts of their bodies as they travelled.

    This could become a problem for immigration officials, who are increasingly using mobile phones to verify migrants’ identities, and ascertain whether they qualify for asylum. (That is: whether they are fleeing countries where they risk facing violence or persecution.) In Germany, only 40 per cent of asylum applicants in 2016 could provide official identification documents. In their absence, the nationalities of the other 60 per cent were verified through a mixture of language analysis — using human translators and computers to confirm whether their accent is authentic — and mobile phone data.

    Over the six months after Germany’s phone search law came into force, immigration officials searched 8,000 phones. If they doubted an asylum seeker’s story, they would extract their phone’s metadata – digital information that can reveal the user’s language settings and the locations where they made calls or took pictures.

    To do this, German authorities are using a computer programme, called Atos, that combines technology made by two mobile forensic companies – T3K and MSAB. It takes just a few minutes to download metadata. “The analysis of mobile phone data is never the sole basis on which a decision about the application for asylum is made,” says a spokesperson for BAMF, Germany’s immigration agency. But they do use the data to look for inconsistencies in an applicant’s story. If a person says they were in Turkey in September, for example, but phone data shows they were actually in Syria, they can see more investigation is needed.

    Denmark is taking this a step further, by asking migrants for their Facebook passwords. Refugee groups note how the platform is being used more and more to verify an asylum seeker’s identity.

    It recently happened to Assem, a 36-year-old refugee from Syria. Five minutes on his public Facebook profile will tell you two things about him: first, he supports a revolution against Syria’s Assad regime and, second, he is a devoted fan of Barcelona football club. When Danish immigration officials asked him for his password, he gave it to them willingly. “At that time, I didn’t care what they were doing. I just wanted to leave the asylum center,” he says. While Assem was not happy about the request, he now has refugee status.

    The Danish immigration agency confirmed they do ask asylum applicants to see their Facebook profiles. While it is not standard procedure, it can be used if a caseworker feels they need more information. If the applicant refused their consent, they would tell them they are obliged under Danish law. Right now, they only use Facebook – not Instagram or other social platforms.

    Across the EU, rights groups and opposition parties have questioned whether these searches are constitutional, raising concerns over their infringement of privacy and the effect of searching migrants like criminals.

    “In my view, it’s a violation of ethics on privacy to ask for a password to Facebook or open somebody’s mobile phone,” says Michala Clante Bendixen of Denmark’s Refugees Welcome movement. “For an asylum seeker, this is often the only piece of personal and private space he or she has left.”

    Information sourced from phones and social media offers an alternative reality that can compete with an asylum seeker’s own testimony. “They’re holding the phone to be a stronger testament to their history than what the person is ready to disclose,” says Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International. “That’s unprecedented.”
    Read next

    Everything we know about the UK’s plan to block online porn
    Everything we know about the UK’s plan to block online porn

    By WIRED

    Privacy campaigners note how digital information might not reflect a person’s character accurately. “Because there is so much data on a person’s phone, you can make quite sweeping judgements that might not necessarily be true,” says Christopher Weatherhead, technologist at Privacy International.

    Bendixen cites the case of one man whose asylum application was rejected after Danish authorities examined his phone and saw his Facebook account had left comments during a time he said he was in prison. He explained that his brother also had access to his account, but the authorities did not believe him; he is currently waiting for appeal.

    A spokesperson for the UK’s Home Office told me they don’t check the social media of asylum seekers unless they are suspected of a crime. Nonetheless, British lawyers and social workers have reported that social media searches do take place, although it is unclear whether they reflect official policy. The Home Office did not respond to requests for clarification on that matter.

    Privacy International has investigated the UK police’s ability to search phones, indicating that immigration officials could possess similar powers. “What surprised us was the level of detail of these phone searches. Police could access information even you don’t have access to, such as deleted messages,” Weatherhead says.

    His team found that British police are aided by Israeli mobile forensic company Cellebrite. Using their software, officials can access search history, including deleted browsing history. It can also extract WhatsApp messages from some Android phones.

    There is a crippling irony that the smartphone, for so long a tool of liberation, has become a digital Judas. If you had stood in Athens’ Victoria Square in 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis, you would have noticed the “smartphone stoop”: hundreds of Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans standing or sitting about this sun-baked patch of grass and concrete, were bending their heads, looking into their phones.

    The smartphone has become the essential accessory for modern migration. Travelling to Europe as an asylum seeker is expensive. People who can’t afford phones typically can’t afford the journey either. Phones became a constant feature along the route to Northern Europe: young men would line the pavements outside reception centres in Berlin, hunched over their screens. In Calais, groups would crowd around charging points. In 2016, the UN refugee agency reported that phones were so important to migrants moving across Europe, that they were spending up to one third of their income on phone credit.

    Now, migrants are being forced to confront a more dangerous reality, as governments worldwide expand their abilities to search asylum seekers’ phones. While European countries were relaxing their laws on metadata search, last year US immigration spent $2.2 million on phone hacking software. But asylum seekers too are changing their behaviour as they become more aware that the smartphone, the very device that has bought them so much freedom, could be the very thing used to unravel their hope of a new life.

    https://www.wired.co.uk/article/europe-immigration-refugees-smartphone-metadata-deportations
    #smartphone #smartphones #données #big_data #expulsions #Allemagne #Danemark #renvois #carte_SIM #Belgique #Autriche

  • The Vulnerability Contest

    Traumatized Afghan child soldiers who were forced to fight in Syria struggle to find protection in Europe’s asylum lottery.

    Mosa did not choose to come forward. Word had spread among the thousands of asylum seekers huddled inside Moria that social workers were looking for lone children among the general population. High up on the hillside, in the Afghan area of the chaotic refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, some residents knew someone they suspected was still a minor. They led the aid workers to Mosa.

    The boy, whose broad and beardless face mark him out as a member of the Hazara ethnic group, had little reason to trust strangers. It was hard to persuade him just to sit with them and listen. Like many lone children, Mosa had slipped through the age assessment carried out on first arrival at Moria: He was registered as 27 years old. With the help of a translator, the social worker explained that there was still time to challenge his classification as an adult. But Mosa did not seem to be able to engage with what he was being told. It would take weeks to establish trust and reveal his real age and background.

    Most new arrivals experience shock when their hopes of a new life in Europe collide with Moria, the refugee camp most synonymous with the miserable consequences of Europe’s efforts to contain the flow of refugees and migrants across the Aegean. When it was built, the camp was meant to provide temporary shelter for fewer than 2,000 people. Since the European Union struck a deal in March 2016 with Turkey under which new arrivals are confined to Greece’s islands, Moria’s population has swollen to 9,000. It has become notorious for overcrowding, snowbound tents, freezing winter deaths, violent protests and suicides by adults and children alike.

    While all asylum systems are subjective, he said that the situation on Greece’s islands has turned the search for protection into a “lottery.”

    Stathis Poularakis is a lawyer who previously served for two years on an appeal committee dealing with asylum cases in Greece and has worked extensively on Lesbos. While all asylum systems are subjective, he said that the situation on Greece’s islands has turned the search for protection into a “lottery.”

    Asylum claims on Lesbos can take anywhere between six months and more than two years to be resolved. In the second quarter of 2018, Greece faced nearly four times as many asylum claims per capita as Germany. The E.U. has responded by increasing the presence of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and broadening its remit so that EASO officials can conduct asylum interviews. But the promises that EASO will bring Dutch-style efficiency conceal the fact that the vast majority of its hires are not seconded from other member states but drawn from the same pool of Greeks as the national asylum service.

    Asylum caseworkers at Moria face an overwhelming backlog and plummeting morale. A serving EASO official describes extraordinary “pressure to go faster” and said there was “so much subjectivity in the system.” The official also said that it was human nature to reject more claims “when you see every other country is closing its borders.”

    Meanwhile, the only way to escape Moria while your claim is being processed is to be recognized as a “vulnerable” case. Vulnerables get permission to move to the mainland or to more humane accommodation elsewhere on the island. The term is elastic and can apply to lone children and women, families or severely physically or mentally ill people. In all cases the onus is on the asylum seeker ultimately to persuade the asylum service, Greek doctors or the United Nations Refugee Agency that they are especially vulnerable.

    The ensuing scramble to get out of Moria has turned the camp into a vast “vulnerability contest,” said Poularakis. It is a ruthless competition that the most heavily traumatized are often in no condition to understand, let alone win.

    Twice a Refugee

    Mosa arrived at Moria in October 2017 and spent his first night in Europe sleeping rough outside the arrivals tent. While he slept someone stole his phone. When he awoke he was more worried about the lost phone than disputing the decision of the Frontex officer who registered him as an adult. Poularakis said age assessors are on the lookout for adults claiming to be children, but “if you say you’re an adult, no one is going to object.”

    Being a child has never afforded Mosa any protection in the past: He did not understand that his entire future could be at stake. Smugglers often warn refugee children not to reveal their real age, telling them that they will be prevented from traveling further if they do not pretend to be over 18 years old.

    Like many other Hazara of his generation, Mosa was born in Iran, the child of refugees who fled Afghanistan. Sometimes called “the cursed people,” the Hazara are followers of Shia Islam and an ethnic and religious minority in Afghanistan, a country whose wars are usually won by larger ethnic groups and followers of Sunni Islam. Their ancestry, traced by some historians to Genghis Khan, also means they are highly visible and have been targets for persecution by Afghan warlords from 19th-century Pashtun kings to today’s Taliban.

    In recent decades, millions of Hazara have fled Afghanistan, many of them to Iran, where their language, Dari, is a dialect of Persian Farsi, the country’s main language.

    “We had a life where we went from work to home, which were both underground in a basement,” he said. “There was nothing (for us) like strolling the streets. I was trying not to be seen by anyone. I ran from the police like I would from a street dog.”

    Iran hosts 950,000 Afghan refugees who are registered with the U.N. and another 1.5 million undocumented Afghans. There are no official refugee camps, making displaced Afghans one of the largest urban refugee populations in the world. For those without the money to pay bribes, there is no route to permanent residency or citizenship. Most refugees survive without papers on the outskirts of cities such as the capital, Tehran. Those who received permits, before Iran stopped issuing them altogether in 2007, must renew them annually. The charges are unpredictable and high. Mostly, the Afghan Hazara survive as an underclass, providing cheap labor in workshops and constructions sites. This was how Mosa grew up.

    “We had a life where we went from work to home, which were both underground in a basement,” he said. “There was nothing (for us) like strolling the streets. I was trying not to be seen by anyone. I ran from the police like I would from a street dog.”

    But he could not remain invisible forever and one day in October 2016, on his way home from work, he was detained by police for not having papers.

    Sitting in one of the cantinas opposite the entrance to Moria, Mosa haltingly explained what happened next. How he was threatened with prison in Iran or deportation to Afghanistan, a country in which he has never set foot. How he was told that that the only way out was to agree to fight in Syria – for which they would pay him and reward him with legal residence in Iran.

    “In Iran, you have to pay for papers,” said Mosa. “If you don’t pay, you don’t have papers. I do not know Afghanistan. I did not have a choice.”

    As he talked, Mosa spread out a sheaf of papers from a battered plastic wallet. Along with asylum documents was a small notepad decorated with pink and mauve elephants where he keeps the phone numbers of friends and family. It also contains a passport-sized green booklet with the crest of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is a temporary residence permit. Inside its shiny cover is the photograph of a scared-looking boy, whom the document claims was born 27 years ago. It is the only I.D. he has ever owned and the date of birth has been faked to hide the fact that the country that issues it has been sending children to war.

    Mosa is not alone among the Hazara boys who have arrived in Greece seeking protection, carrying identification papers with inflated ages. Refugees Deeply has documented the cases of three Hazara child soldiers and corroborated their accounts with testimony from two other underage survivors. Their stories are of childhoods twice denied: once in Syria, where they were forced to fight, and then again after fleeing to Europe, where they are caught up in a system more focused on hard borders than on identifying the most damaged and vulnerable refugees.

    From Teenage Kicks to Adult Nightmares

    Karim’s descent into hell began with a prank. Together with a couple of friends, he recorded an angsty song riffing on growing up as a Hazara teenager in Tehran. Made when he was 16 years old, the song was meant to be funny. His band did not even have a name. The boys uploaded the track on a local file-sharing platform in 2014 and were as surprised as anyone when it was downloaded thousands of times. But after the surprise came a creeping sense of fear. Undocumented Afghan refugee families living in Tehran usually try to avoid drawing attention to themselves. Karim tried to have the song deleted, but after two months there was a knock on the door. It was the police.

    “I asked them how they found me,” he said. “I had no documents but they knew where I lived.”

    Already estranged from his family, the teenager was transported from his life of working in a pharmacy and staying with friends to life in a prison outside the capital. After two weeks inside, he was given three choices: to serve a five-year sentence; to be deported to Afghanistan; or to redeem himself by joining the Fatemiyoun.

    According to Iranian propaganda, the Fatemiyoun are Afghan volunteers deployed to Syria to protect the tomb of Zainab, the granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammad. In reality, the Fatemiyoun Brigade is a unit of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, drawn overwhelmingly from Hazara communities, and it has fought in Iraq and Yemen, as well as Syria. Some estimates put its full strength at 15,000, which would make it the second-largest foreign force in support of the Assad regime, behind the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah.

    Karim was told he would be paid and given a one-year residence permit during leave back in Iran. Conscripts are promised that if they are “martyred,” their family will receive a pension and permanent status. “I wasn’t going to Afghanistan and I wasn’t going to prison,” said Karim. So he found himself forced to serve in the #Fatemiyoun.

    His first taste of the new life came when he was transferred to a training base outside Tehran, where the recruits, including other children, were given basic weapons training and religious indoctrination. They marched, crawled and prayed under the brigade’s yellow flag with a green arch, crossed by assault rifles and a Koranic phrase: “With the Help of God.”

    “Imagine me at 16,” said Karim. “I have no idea how to kill a bird. They got us to slaughter animals to get us ready. First, they prepare your brain to kill.”

    The 16-year-old’s first deployment was to Mosul in Iraq, where he served four months. When he was given leave back in Iran, Karim was told that to qualify for his residence permit he would need to serve a second term, this time in Syria. They were first sent into the fight against the so-called Islamic State in Raqqa. Because of his age and physique, Karim and some of the other underage soldiers were moved to the medical corps. He said that there were boys as young as 14 and he remembers a 15-year-old who fought using a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

    “One prisoner was killed by being hung by his hair from a tree. They cut off his fingers one by one and cauterized the wounds with gunpowder.”

    “I knew nothing about Syria. I was just trying to survive. They were making us hate ISIS, dehumanizing them. Telling us not to leave one of them alive.” Since media reports revealed the existence of the Fatemiyoun, the brigade has set up a page on Facebook. Among pictures of “proud volunteers,” it shows stories of captured ISIS prisoners being fed and cared for. Karim recalls a different story.

    “One prisoner was killed by being hung by his hair from a tree. They cut off his fingers one by one and cauterized the wounds with gunpowder.”

    The casualties on both sides were overwhelming. At the al-Razi hospital in Aleppo, the young medic saw the morgue overwhelmed with bodies being stored two or three to a compartment. Despite promises to reward the families of martyrs, Karim said many of the bodies were not sent back to Iran.

    Mosa’s basic training passed in a blur. A shy boy whose parents had divorced when he was young and whose father became an opium addict, he had always shrunk from violence. He never wanted to touch the toy guns that other boys played with. Now he was being taught to break down, clean and fire an assault rifle.

    The trainees were taken three times a day to the imam, who preached to them about their holy duty and the iniquities of ISIS, often referred to as Daesh.

    “They told us that Daesh was the same but worse than the Taliban,” said Mosa. “I didn’t listen to them. I didn’t go to Syria by choice. They forced me to. I just needed the paper.”

    Mosa was born in 2001. Before being deployed to Syria, the recruits were given I.D. tags and papers that deliberately overstated their age: In 2017, Human Rights Watch released photographs of the tombstones of eight Afghan children who had died in Syria and whose families identified them as having been under 18 years old. The clerk who filled out Mosa’s forms did not trouble himself with complex math: He just changed 2001 to 1991. Mosa was one of four underage soldiers in his group. The boys were scared – their hands shook so hard they kept dropping their weapons. Two of them were dead within days of reaching the front lines.

    “I didn’t even know where we were exactly, somewhere in the mountains in a foreign country. I was scared all the time. Every time I saw a friend dying in front of my eyes I was thinking I would be next,” said Mosa.

    He has flashbacks of a friend who died next to him after being shot in the face by a sniper. After the incident, he could not sleep for four nights. The worst, he said, were the sudden raids by ISIS when they would capture Fatemiyoun fighters: “God knows what happened to them.”

    Iran does not release figures on the number of Fatemiyoun casualties. In a rare interview earlier this year, a senior officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard suggested as many as 1,500 Fatemiyoun had been killed in Syria. In Mashhad, an Iranian city near the border with Afghanistan where the brigade was first recruited, video footage has emerged of families demanding the bodies of their young men believed to have died in Syria. Mosa recalls patrols in Syria where 150 men and boys would go out and only 120 would return.

    Escaping Syria

    Abbas had two weeks left in Syria before going back to Iran on leave. After 10 weeks in what he describes as a “living hell,” he had begun to believe he might make it out alive. It was his second stint in Syria and, still only 17 years old, he had been chosen to be a paramedic, riding in the back of a 2008 Chevrolet truck converted into a makeshift ambulance.

    He remembers thinking that the ambulance and the hospital would have to be better than the bitter cold of the front line. His abiding memory from then was the sound of incoming 120mm shells. “They had a special voice,” Abbas said. “And when you hear it, you must lie down.”

    Following 15 days of nursing training, during which he was taught how to find a vein and administer injections, he was now an ambulance man, collecting the dead and wounded from the battlefields on which the Fatemiyoun were fighting ISIS.

    Abbas grew up in Ghazni in Afghanistan, but his childhood ended when his father died from cancer in 2013. Now the provider for the family, he traveled with smugglers across the border into Iran, to work for a tailor in Tehran who had known his father. He worked without documents and faced the same threats as the undocumented Hazara children born in Iran. Even more dangerous were the few attempts he made to return to Ghazni. The third time he attempted to hop the border he was captured by Iranian police.

    Abbas was packed onto a transport, along with 23 other children, and sent to Ordugah-i Muhaceran, a camplike detention center outside Mashhad. When they got there the Shia Hazara boys were separated from Sunni Pashtuns, Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group, who were pushed back across the border. Abbas was given the same choice as Karim and Mosa before him: Afghanistan or Syria. Many of the other forced recruits Abbas met in training, and later fought alongside in Syria, were addicts with a history of substance abuse.

    Testimony from three Fatemiyoun child soldiers confirmed that Tramadol was routinely used by recruits to deaden their senses, leaving them “feeling nothing” even in combat situations but, nonetheless, able to stay awake for days at a time.

    The Fatemiyoun officers dealt with withdrawal symptoms by handing out Tramadol, an opioid painkiller that is used to treat back pain but sometimes abused as a cheap alternative to methadone. The drug is a slow-release analgesic. Testimony from three Fatemiyoun child soldiers confirmed that it was routinely used by recruits to deaden their senses, leaving them “feeling nothing” even in combat situations but, nonetheless, able to stay awake for days at a time. One of the children reiterated that the painkiller meant he felt nothing. Users describe feeling intensely thirsty but say they avoid drinking water because it triggers serious nausea and vomiting. Tramadol is addictive and prolonged use can lead to insomnia and seizures.

    Life in the ambulance had not met Abbas’ expectations. He was still sent to the front line, only now it was to collect the dead and mutilated. Some soldiers shot themselves in the feet to escape the conflict.

    “We picked up people with no feet and no hands. Some of them were my friends,” Abbas said. “One man was in small, small pieces. We collected body parts I could not recognize and I didn’t know if they were Syrian or Iranian or Afghan. We just put them in bags.”

    Abbas did not make it to the 12th week. One morning, driving along a rubble-strewn road, his ambulance collided with an anti-tank mine. Abbas’ last memory of Syria is seeing the back doors of the vehicle blasted outward as he was thrown onto the road.

    When he awoke he was in a hospital bed in Iran. He would later learn that the Syrian ambulance driver had been killed and that the other Afghan medic in the vehicle had lost both his legs. At the time, his only thought was to escape.

    The Toll on Child Soldiers

    Alice Roorda first came into contact with child soldiers in 2001 in the refugee camps of Sierra Leone in West Africa. A child psychologist, she was sent there by the United Kingdom-based charity War Child. She was one of three psychologists for a camp of more than 5,000 heavily traumatized survivors of one of West Africa’s more brutal conflicts.

    “There was almost nothing we could do,” she admitted.

    The experience, together with later work in Uganda, has given her a deep grounding in the effects of war and post-conflict trauma on children. She said prolonged exposure to conflict zones has physical as well as psychological effects.

    “If you are chronically stressed, as in a war zone, you have consistently high levels of the two basic stress hormones: adrenaline and cortisol.”

    Even after reaching a calmer situation, the “stress baseline” remains high, she said. This impacts everything from the immune system to bowel movements. Veterans often suffer from complications related to the continual engagement of the psoas, or “fear muscle” – the deepest muscles in the body’s core, which connect the spine, through the pelvis, to the femurs.

    “With prolonged stress you start to see the world around you as more dangerous.” The medial prefrontal cortex, the section of the brain that interprets threat levels, is also affected, said Roorda. This part of the brain is sometimes called the “watchtower.”

    “When your watchtower isn’t functioning well you see everything as more dangerous. You are on high alert. This is not a conscious response; it is because the stress is already so close to the surface.”

    Psychological conditions that can be expected to develop include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Left untreated, these stress levels can lead to physical symptoms ranging from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME) to high blood pressure or irritable bowel syndrome. Also common are heightened sensitivity to noise and insomnia.

    The trauma of war can also leave children frozen at the point when they were traumatized. “Their life is organized as if the trauma is still ongoing,” said Roorda. “It is difficult for them to take care of themselves, to make rational well informed choices, and to trust people.”

    The starting point for any treatment of child soldiers, said Roorda, is a calm environment. They need to release the tension with support groups and physical therapy, she said, and “a normal bedtime.”

    The Dutch psychologist, who is now based in Athens, acknowledged that what she is describing is the exact opposite of the conditions at #Moria.

    Endgame

    Karim is convinced that his facility for English has saved his life. While most Hazara boys arrive in Europe speaking only Farsi, Karim had taught himself some basic English before reaching Greece. As a boy in Tehran he had spent hours every day trying to pick up words and phrases from movies that he watched with subtitles on his phone. His favorite was The Godfather, which he said he must have seen 25 times. He now calls English his “safe zone” and said he prefers it to Farsi.

    When Karim reached Greece in March 2016, new arrivals were not yet confined to the islands. No one asked him if he was a child or an adult. He paid smugglers to help him escape Iran while on leave from Syria and after crossing through Turkey landed on Chios. Within a day and a half, he had passed through the port of Piraeus and reached Greece’s northern border with Macedonia, at Idomeni.

    When he realized the border was closed, he talked to some of the international aid workers who had come to help at the makeshift encampment where tens of thousands of refugees and migrants waited for a border that would not reopen. They ended up hiring him as a translator. Two years on, his English is now much improved and Karim has worked for a string of international NGOs and a branch of the Greek armed forces, where he was helped to successfully apply for asylum.

    The same job has also brought him to Moria. He earns an above-average salary for Greece and at first he said that his work on Lesbos is positive: “I’m not the only one who has a shitty background. It balances my mind to know that I’m not the only one.”

    But then he admits that it is difficult hearing and interpreting versions of his own life story from Afghan asylum seekers every day at work. He has had problems with depression and suffered flashbacks, “even though I’m in a safe country now.”

    Abbas got the help he needed to win the vulnerability contest. After he was initially registered as an adult, his age assessment was overturned and he was transferred from Moria to a shelter for children on Lesbos. He has since been moved again to a shelter in mainland Greece. While he waits to hear the decision on his protection status, Abbas – like other asylum seekers in Greece – receives 150 euros ($170) a month. This amount needs to cover all his expenses, from food and clothing to phone credit. The money is not enough to cover a regular course of the antidepressant Prozac and the sleeping pills he was prescribed by the psychiatrist he was able to see on Lesbos.

    “I save them for when it gets really bad,” he said.

    Since moving to the mainland he has been hospitalized once with convulsions, but his main worry is the pain in his groin. Abbas underwent a hernia operation in Iran, the result of injuries sustained as a child lifting adult bodies into the ambulance. He has been told that he will need to wait for four months to see a doctor in Greece who can tell him if he needs another operation.

    “I would like to go back to school,” he said. But in reality, Abbas knows that he will need to work and there is little future for an Afghan boy who can no longer lift heavy weights.

    Walking into an Afghan restaurant in downtown Athens – near Victoria Square, where the people smugglers do business – Abbas is thrilled to see Farsi singers performing on the television above the door. “I haven’t been in an Afghan restaurant for maybe three years,” he said to explain his excitement. His face brightens again when he catches sight of Ghormeh sabzi, a herb stew popular in Afghanistan and Iran that reminds him of his mother. “I miss being with them,” he said, “being among my family.”

    When the dish arrives he pauses before eating, taking out his phone and carefully photographing the plate from every angle.

    Mosa is about to mark the end of a full year in Moria. He remains in the same drab tent that reminds him every day of Syria. Serious weight loss has made his long limbs – the ones that made it easier for adults to pretend he was not a child – almost comically thin. His skin is laced with scars, but he refuses to go into detail about how he got them. Mosa has now turned 18 and seems to realize that his best chance of getting help may have gone.

    “Those people who don’t have problems, they give them vulnerability (status),” he said with evident anger. “If you tell them the truth, they don’t help you.”

    Then he apologises for the flash of temper. “I get upset and angry and my body shakes,” he said.

    Mosa explained that now when he gets angry he has learned to remove himself: “Sometimes I stuff my ears with toilet paper to make it quiet.”

    It is 10 months since Mosa had his asylum interview. The questions he expected about his time in the Fatemiyoun never came up. Instead, the interviewers asked him why he had not stayed in Turkey after reaching that country, having run away while on leave in Iran.

    The questions they did ask him point to his likely rejection and deportation. Why, he was asked, was his fear of being persecuted in Afghanistan credible? He told them that he has heard from other Afghan boys that police and security services in the capital, Kabul, were arresting ex-combatants from Syria.

    Like teenagers everywhere, many of the younger Fatemiyoun conscripts took selfies in Syria and posted them on Facebook or shared them on WhatsApp. The images, which include uniforms and insignia, can make him a target for Sunni reprisals. These pictures now haunt him as much as the faces of his dead comrades.

    Meanwhile, the fate he suffered two tours in Syria to avoid now seems to be the most that Europe can offer him. Without any of his earlier anger, he said, “I prefer to kill myself here than go to Afghanistan.”

    #enfants-soldats #syrie #réfugiés #asile #migrations #guerre #conflit #réfugiés_afghans #Afghanistan #ISIS #EI #Etat_islamique #trauma #traumatisme #vulnérabilité

    ping @isskein

  • Migration: the riddle of Europe’s shadow population
    Lennys — not her real name — is part of a shadow population living in Europe that predates the arrival of several million people on the continent in the past few years, amid war and chaos in regions of the Middle East and Africa. That influx, which has fuelled Eurosceptic nativism, has if anything complicated the fate of Lennys and other irregular migrants.

    Now she is using a service set up by the Barcelona local administration to help naturalise irregular migrants and bring them in from the margins of society. She is baffled by the anti-immigrant rhetoric of politicians who suggest people like her prefer living in the legal twilight, without access to many services — or official protection.❞

    The fate of Lennys and other irregulars is likely to take an ever more central role in Europe’s deepening disputes on migration. They are a diverse group: many arrived legally, as Lennys did, on holiday, work or family visas that have since expired or become invalid because of changes in personal circumstances. Others came clandestinely and have never had any legal right to stay.

    The most scrutinised, and frequently demonised, cohort consists of asylum seekers whose claims have failed. Their numbers are growing as the cases from the surge in migrant arrivals in the EU in 2015 and 2016 — when more than 2.5m people applied for asylum in the bloc — work their way through the process of decisions and appeals. Almost half of first instance claims failed between 2015 and 2017, but many of those who are rejected cannot be returned to their home countries easily — or even at all.

    The question of what to do about rejected asylum applicants and the rest of Europe’s shadow population is one that many governments avoid. Bouts of hostile rhetoric and unrealistic targets — such as the Italian government’s pledge this year to expel half a million irregular migrants — mask a structural failure to deal with the practicalities.

    Many governments have sought to deny irregular migrants services and expel them — policies that can create their own steep human costs. But authorities in a growing number of cities from Barcelona to Brussels have concluded that the combination of hostile attitudes and bureaucratic neglect is destructive.

    These cities are at the frontline of dealing with irregular status residents from Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere. Local authorities have, to varying degrees, brought these populations into the system by offering them services such as healthcare, language courses and even legal help.

    The argument is part humanitarian but also pragmatic. It could help prevent public health threats, crime, exploitative employment practices — and the kind of ghettoisation that can tear communities apart.

    “If we provide ways for people to find their path in our city . . . afterwards probably they will get regularisation and will get their papers correct,” says Ramon Sanahuja, director of immigration at the city council in Barcelona. “It’s better for everybody.”

    The size of Europe’s shadow population is unknown — but generally reckoned by experts to be significant and growing. The most comprehensive effort to measure it was through an EU funded project called Clandestino, which estimated the number of irregular migrants at between 1.9m and 3.8m in 2008 — a figure notable for both its wide margin of error and the lack of updates to it since, despite the influx after 2015.

    A more contemporaneous, though also imprecise, metric comes from comparing the numbers of people ordered to leave the EU each year with the numbers who actually went. Between 2008 and 2017, more than 5m non-EU citizens were instructed to leave the bloc. About 2m returned to countries outside it, according to official data.

    While the two sets of numbers do not map exactly — people don’t necessarily leave in the same year they are ordered to do so — the figures do suggest several million people may have joined Europe’s shadow population in the past decade or so. The cohort is likely to swell further as a glut of final appeals from asylum cases lodged since 2015 comes through.

    “The volume of people who are in limbo in the EU will only grow, so it’s really problematic,” says Hanne Beirens, associate director at Migration Policy Institute Europe, a think-tank. “While the rhetoric at a national level will be ‘These people cannot stay’, at a local community level these people need to survive.”

    Barcelona: cities seek practical solutions to ease migrant lives

    Barcelona’s pragmatic approach to irregular migration echoes its history as a hub for trade and movement of people across the Mediterranean Sea.

    It is one of 11 cities from 10 European countries involved in a two-year project on the best ways to provide services to irregular status migrants. Other participants in the initiative — set up last year by Oxford university’s Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society — include Athens, Frankfurt, Ghent, Gothenburg, Lisbon, Oslo, Stockholm and Utrecht.

    A report for the group, published last year, highlights the restrictions faced by undocumented migrants in accessing services across the EU. They were able to receive only emergency healthcare in six countries, while in a further 12 they were generally excluded from primary and secondary care services.

    Some cities have made special efforts to offer help in ways that they argue also benefit the community, the report said. Rotterdam asked midwives, doctors, and schools to refer children for vaccinations, in case their parents were afraid to reveal their immigration status.

    The impact of some of these policies has still to be demonstrated. Ramon Sanahuja, director of immigration at the city council in Barcelona, says authorities there had an “intuition” their approach brought benefits, but he admits they need to do a cost-benefit analysis. As to the potential for the scheme to be exploited by anti-immigrant groups, he says Europe needs “brave politicians who explain how the world works and that the system is complicated”.

    “A lot of people in Barcelona are part of the system — they have [for example] a cleaning lady from Honduras who they pay €10 per hour under the counter,” he says. “Someone has to explain this, that everything is related.” Michael Peel

    https://www.ft.com/content/58f2f7f8-c7c1-11e8-ba8f-ee390057b8c9?segmentid=acee4131-99c2-09d3-a635-873e61754
    #naturalisation #villes-refuge #ville-refuge #citoyenneté #sans-papiers #migrerrance #régularisation #statistiques #chiffres #Europe #Etat-nation #limbe #pragmatisme #Barcelone

    cc @isskein

    –----

    Au niveau de la #terminologie (#mots, #vocabulaire), pour @sinehebdo:

    Belgian policy towards irregular migrants and undocumented workers has stiffened under the current government, which includes the hardline Flemish nationalist NVA party. It has prioritised the expulsion of “transmigrants”— the term used for people that have travelled to Europe, often via north Africa and the Mediterranean and that are seeking to move on from Belgium to other countries, notably the UK. Several hundred live rough in and around Brussels’ Gare du Nord.

    –-> #transmigrants

  • The Murder of Pavlos Fyssas (Full Investigation; English) on Vimeo
    https://vimeo.com/293623169

    Shortly after midnight on 18 September 2013, Pavlos Fyssas, a young Greek anti-fascist rapper, was murdered in his home neighbourhood of Keratsini, Athens. The killer and others who participated in the attack were members of the neo-Nazi organisation Golden Dawn.

    Golden Dawn have brutally attacked migrants and political opponents ever since their formation in the late ‘80s, with most of their crimes going unpunished through the silent support of the Greek police aligned to their nationalist cause. Following the murder of Fyssas, a Greek citizen, the government was finally forced to make a series of arrests. Sixty-nine members of Golden Dawn, including all of their fifteen parliamentarians, were brought to trial. Charges in the trial, relating to events as far back as 2008, allege that even while holding seats in the Greek parliament, Golden Dawn operated as a criminal organisation. Even as the ongoing trial threatens the existence of Golden Dawn as a political party, the Greek courts remain reluctant to investigate the role of the police in covering up these crimes.

    Forensic Architecture was commissioned by the Fyssas family and their legal representatives to reconstruct the events of the night from the audio and video material made available to the court. The resulting video investigation and accompanying report, presented to the Athens courtroom on 10 and 11 September 2018, brings together CCTV footage, recordings of communications between police and emergency services, and witness testimony. We established a precise timeline and reconstruction of the events that led to the murder.

    The investigation established that members of Golden Dawn, including senior officials, acted in a co-ordinated manner in relation to the murder, and that DIAS officers were present at the scene before, during and after the murder, and failed to intervene.

  • Cher Zak, chère Zackie, hier nous sommes allé.e.s à ton enterrement

    ׀ FILTIG ׀ lettre ouverte à Zak Kostopoulos

    Le vendredi 21 septembre 2018, Zak Kostopoulos, activiste #LGBTQI+, séropositif et drag queen (Zackie Oh), a été assassiné dans des circonstances atroces et à la vue de tous dans le centre d’#Athènes. Ce lynchage est le fait de « bons citoyens » qui ont agi sous la protection et avec le concours de la #police grecque. Ces faits ont été suivis d’une entreprise sans précédent de désinformation de l’opinion publique et de culpabilisation de la victime, notamment accusée par les assassins puis une grande partie de la presse d’avoir essayé de commettre un cambriolage, avant que cette version ne s’effondre à l’épreuve des témoignages et des vidéos recueillis depuis lors.

    #lgbt #queer #zakkostopoulos #zak #Grèce

    https://www.lautrequotidien.fr/articles/2018/9/29/0514ges4b1leust52qw9dugwo35m1k?rq=zak+kostopoulos

    _________________

    • Filtig - Δολοφόνοι

      These are the peaceful citizens
      Those that defend their property
      These are the lads that do not cry
      The world of television spectacle

      These are the guys who fuck
      These are the women who know their place
      Those who drink after work
      Those who mind their business
      Those

      Those who choose the good girls
      Those who choose the real men
      Those that produce proper Greek kids
      The seed of the Hellenic youth

      Those who kill, wipe and finish
      Those who protect us from the immigrants
      Those who “are not racists, but”
      Those who remember what Athens was once like
      Those

      Murderers, murderers, murderers

      Those who have no problem with faggots
      they have no problem as long as they do not see them
      Those who have no problem with foreigners
      they have no problem as long as they do not meet them
      Those who do not hate women
      They do not hate them if they do not listen to them
      Those who have no problem with junkies
      They have no problem as long as they don’t dirty their space
      Those

      Those who have clean hands
      Those who have clean sidewalks
      Those who have clean parks
      Those who have clean shores
      Those who have a clean conscience
      Those who have a clean record
      Those who have clean bodies
      Those who have pure, clean blue-white blood

      Murderers, murderers, murderers

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFbQpN-dWlI&feature=youtu.be

    • Commentaire important de la réalisatrice et activiste Zoe Mavroudi à propos des derniers développements (publié en anglais sur FB ce dimanche 30 septembre) :

      Friends:
      As many of you know, the queer community in Greece is under shock for the past nine days over the public lynching in broad daylight in central Athens of Zak Kostopoulos, an HIV+ gay activist and drag performer and a widely loved and influential human being.

      I would kindly suggest to those who can handle descriptions of violence at this time, to consider reading and sharing the article I’m posting here. It is the first English-language piece of journalism from a Greek outlet, which details the latest developments, including from medical exams and forensics. It also traces the media coverage of the murder and the disgraceful and sloppy attempt at victim blaming which unfolded during the first hours. Mainstream outlets reproduced stigmatizing hate speech in an attempt to paint Zak as a “burglar” who threatened passer-by at knife point as a result of an unspecified substance abuse. The claims quickly collapsed and were exposed as a blatant attempt to conceal and whitewash the role of not only the men who attacked Zak (possibly three males) but also of the police, in his death.

      I would add to the information in the piece, two things:
      1. a suggestion made recently on facebook by one of the lawyers involved with the prosecution of evidence that the cause of death was positional asphyxia brought on during Zak’s arrest when police handcuffed his arms behind his back and dragged him lifting his feet up from behind; all this while he was bleeding profusely from head wounds (a disturbing video of the moment of the arrest is online).
      2. a suggestion made by the same lawyer that blood traces shown in video on the glass door of the shop Zak allegedly attempted to rob were from inside. This would mean Zak was already bleeding when he entered the shop, possibly after an earlier attack. A prominent LGBT-rights figure in Greece has also suggested he knows of evidence that Zak’s lynching started before he entered the store and the doors closed behind him trapping him inside.

      For additional info on the case, and in lieu of comprehensive announcements from the Greek LGBTQ+ organizations, I would also recommend that you check out the page “Justice For Zak/Zackie” (@justice4ZakZackie) on Facebook.

      My condolences to those of you abroad who knew him.

      https://www.thepressproject.gr/details_en.php?aid=134723

      #zak #zakkostopoulos #lgbt #lgbtqi #queer #Grèce #athènes

  • Tree That Owns Itself
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_That_OwnsItself

    The Tree That Owns Itself is a white oak tree that has, according to legend, legal ownership of itself and of all land within eight feet (2.4 m) of its base. The tree, also called the Jackson Oak, is located at the corner of South Finley and Dearing Streets in Athens, Georgia, United States. The original tree, thought to have started life between the mid-16th and late 18th century, fell in 1942, but a new tree was grown from one of its acorns, and planted in the same location. The current tree is sometimes referred to as the Son of The Tree That Owns Itself. Both trees have appeared in numerous national publications, and the site is a local landmark.


    #arbre #propriété #arbre_légendaire

  • EU steps up planning for refugee exodus if Assad attacks #Idlib

    Thousands to be moved from Greek island camps to make space in case of mass arrivals.

    Children walk past the remains of burned-out tents after an outbreak of violence at the Moria migrant centre on Lesbos. Aid groups say conditions at the camps on Greek islands are ’shameful’ © Reuters

    Michael Peel in Brussels September 14, 2018

    Thousands of migrants will be moved from Greek island camps within weeks to ease chronic overcrowding and make space if Syrians flee from an assault on rebel-held Idlib province, under plans being discussed by Brussels and Athens.

    Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU’s migration commissioner, is due to meet senior Greek officials next week including Alexis Tsipras, prime minister, to hammer out a plan to move an initial 3,000 people.

    The proposal is primarily aimed at dealing with what 19 non-governmental groups on Thursday branded “shameful” conditions at the island migrant centres. The strategy also dovetails with contingency planning in case Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Russian-backed regime launches a full-scale offensive to retake Idlib and triggers an exodus of refugees to Greece via Turkey.

    The numbers in the planned first Greek migrant transfer would go only partway to easing the island overcrowding — and they are just a small fraction of the several million people estimated to be gathered in the Syrian opposition enclave on the Turkish border.

    “It’s important to get those numbers down,” said one EU diplomat of the Greek island camps. “If we have mass arrivals in Greece, it’s going to be very tough. There is no spare capacity.”

    Syria’s Idlib awaits major assault The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said this week that 30,000 people had been displaced from their homes by air and ground attacks by the Syrian regime and its allies in the Idlib area, while a full assault could drive out 800,000.

    Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president, this week warned that the “impending humanitarian disaster” in Idlib must be a “deep and direct concern to us all”.

    17,000 Number of migrants crammed into camps designed for 6,000 The European Commission wants to help Athens accelerate an existing programme to send migrants to the Greek mainland and provide accommodation there to ease the island overcrowding, EU diplomats say.

    The commission said it was working with the Greeks to move 3,000 “vulnerable” people whom Athens has made eligible for transfer, in many cases because they have already applied for asylum and are awaiting the results of their claims.

    Migrant numbers in the island camps have climbed this year, in part because of the time taken to process asylum cases. More than 17,000 are crammed into facilities with capacity of barely 6,000, the NGOs said on Thursday, adding that Moria camp on the island of Lesbos was awash with raw sewage and reports of sexual violence and abuse.

    “It is nothing short of shameful that people are expected to endure such horrific conditions on European soil,” the NGOs said in a statement.

    Mr Avramopoulos, the EU migration commissioner, told reporters on Thursday he knew there were “problems right now, especially in the camp of Moria”. The commission was doing “everything in our power” to support the Greek authorities operationally and financially, he added.

    Recommended The FT View The editorial board The high price of Syria’s next disaster “Money is not an issue,” he said. “Greece has had and will continue having all the financial support to address the migration challenges.

    ” The Greek government has already transferred some asylum seekers to the mainland. It has urged the EU to give it more funds and support.

    EU diplomats say the effect of the Idlib conflict on the Greek situation is hard to judge. One uncertainty is whether Ankara would open its frontier to allow people to escape. Even if civilians do cross the border, it is not certain that they would try to move on to the EU: Turkey already hosts more than 3.5m Syrian refugees.

    The EU secured a 2016 deal with Turkey under which Brussels agreed to pay €6bn in exchange for Ankara taking back migrants who cross from its territory to the Greek islands. The agreement has helped drive a sharp fall in Mediterranean migrant arrival numbers to a fraction of their 2015-16 highs.

    https://www.ft.com/content/0aada630-b77a-11e8-bbc3-ccd7de085ffe
    #Syrie #réfugiés_syriens #asile #migrations #Grèce #guerre #réfugiés_syriens #Moria #vide #plein #géographie_du_vide #géographie_du_plein (on vide le camp pour être prêt à le remplir au cas où...) #politique_migratoire
    cc @reka

  • Map-archive of Europe’s migrant spaces

    The project of an interactive map-archive of ‘migrant spaces’ of transit, border enforcement and refuge across Europe stems from a workshop organised in London in November 2016 by researchers working on migration and based in different European countries.

    The goal of this collective project, is to bring to the fore the existence and the stories of ephemeral spaces of containment, transit, and struggle, that are the outcome of border enforcement politics and of their spatial effects, as well as of their impact on migrant lives.
    What we want to represent

    We do not represent on the map official detention centres or reception camps, but rather unofficial (but visible) spaces that have been produced as an effect of migration and border policies as well as of migrants’ practices of movement. Some well-known examples are the Jungle of Calais, or the Hellenic’s airport in Athens, which represent the output of the relation between the border enforcement policies with the autonomous movements of migrant subjects across Europe. Moreover, spaces of transit like the rail station of Milan will be represented, which have then become places of containment – such as Ventimiglia, Como, and the Brenner after the suspension of Schengen in such border areas. Several structures have been build in such transit knots, being characterized by their humanitarian element that intertwine the dimension of control with that of help and care. Finally, some of these places are zones inside European cities that have played the twofold role of spaces-refuge and area

    controlled by the police, and then have been evicted as dwelling places where migrants found a temporary place to stay – like Lycée Jean-Quarré in Paris, La Chapelle. Others are self-managed places, like Refugee City Plaza Hotel, or square and public spaces that had been sites of migrant struggles for some time – as Orianenplatz in Berlin.
    The three dimensions

    The complexity of the processes that get intertwined in these places can be represented through three dimensions that we aimed to represent, although they cannot be exhaustively of the complexity of this phenomenon.

    Border enforcement/ border control: by border control we understand all the operations, measures and actions put into place by the police for enhancing national borders and obstructing migrants’ movements and presence.

    Humanitarian enforcement: by humanitarian enforcement we understand all the operation/action and structures deployed by those humanitarian actors involved in managing migrants. Being ‘humanitarianism’ a blurry and contested category, we understand it as a continuum with the two endpoints of humanitarian control and humanitarian support. The first endpoint refers to all these actions, operations and structures that aim to control migrants and contain their mobilities. The second endpoint refers to all these actions, operation and structures that aim to support migrants and their movements avoiding deploying control measures.

    Migrant struggles: by ‘struggles’ we understand both self-organized struggles with a declared political claim, and everyday struggles such as the transits mobilities and the ‘everyday resistance’ (Scott, 1985) practices collectively enacted by migrants, that can be visible or remaining under the threshold of visibility.
    Temporality and spatiality

    A crucial feature of this map is the focus on temporality rather than spatiality. Indeed, this map cis an archive of those fleeting and ephemeral spaces that do no longer exist and that have changed their function over time, as frontiers or as spaces of refuge and struggle. The focus on temporality allows us to go beyond the mainstream representations of migrants routes offered by those official actors managing migration such as Fontex, European Union, IOM and the UNHCR.

    We do not want to represent those informal places that are still existing in order to avoid shedding more light on them that could bring some problem to the people dwelling and transiting through those places. The idea of archive is related to that ethical/political topic: we do not want to trace the still existing place where people are struggling, but rather we aim to keep a record and a memory of such ephemeral spaces that do not exist any-more but nevertheless have contributed to the production of a Europe not represented in the mainstream debate. Therefore, we represent only those places still existing where the border and humanitarian enforcement come to the fore, in order to keep an ongoing monitoring gaze.
    The aim

    The aims of this map-archive are: a) to keep memory of these spaces that have been visible and have been the effect of border enforcement policies but that then had been evicted, or ‘disappeared’ ; b) to produce a new map of Europe, that is a map formed by these spaces of transit, containment, and refuge, as result of politics of border enforcement and of migration movements; c) to shed light on the temporality of migration as a crucial dimension through which understand and interpret the complexity of social processes related to migration towards and within Europe and the consequent border enforcement.

    To be continued

    Since Europe externalizes its borders beyond its geopolitical frontiers, we would like to add also spaces of transit and containment that are located in the so called ‘third countries’ – for instance, in Tunisia, Turkey and Morocco – as the map wants also to represent a different image of the borders of Europe, looking also at sites that are the effects of EU borders externalisation politics.


    http://cherish-de.uk/migrant-digitalities/#/2011/intro
    #cartographie #cartographie_radicale #cartographie_critique #frontières #frontière_sud-alpine #visualisation #migrations #asile #réfugiés #conflits #contrôle_humanitaire #militarisation_des_frontières #Europe

    On peut faire un zoom sur la #frontière_sud-alpine :


    #Vintimille #Côme #Brenner #Briançon #Menton

    cc @reka

    • Migration: new map of Europe reveals real frontiers for refugees

      Since the EU declared a “refugee crisis” in 2015 that was followed by an unprecedented number of deaths in the Mediterranean, maps explaining the routes of migrants to and within Europe have been used widely in newspapers and social media.

      Some of these maps came out of refugee projects, while others are produced by global organisations, NGOs and agencies such as Frontex, the European Border and Coastguard Agency, and the International Organisation for Migration’s project, Missing Migrants. The Balkan route, for example, shows the trail along which hundred of thousands of Syrian refugees trekked after their towns and cities were reduced to rubble in the civil war.

      However, migration maps tend to produce an image of Europe being “invaded” and overwhelmed by desperate women, men and children in search of asylum. At the same time, migrants’ journeys are represented as fundamentally linear, going from a point A to a point B. But what about the places where migrants have remained stranded for a long time, due to the closure of national borders and the suspension of the Schengen Agreement, which establishes people’s free internal movement in Europe? What memories and impressions remain in the memory of the European citizens of migrants’ passage and presence in their cities? And how is this most recent history of migration in Europe being recorded?

      Time and memory

      Our collective project, a map archive of Europe’s migrant spaces, engages with with these questions by representing border zones in Europe – places that have functioned as frontiers for fleeing migrants. Some of these border zones, such as Calais, have a long history, while other places have become effective borders for migrants in transit more recently, such as Como in Italy and Menton in France. The result of a collaborative work by researchers in the UK, Greece, Germany, Italy and the US, the project records memories of places in Europe where migrants remained in limbo for a long time, were confronted with violence, or found humanitarian aid, as well as marking sites of organised migrant protest.

      All the cities and places represented in this map archive have over time become frontiers and hostile environments for migrants in transit. Take for instance the Italian city of Ventimiglia on the French-Italian border. This became a frontier for migrants heading to France in 2011, when the French government suspended Schengen to deter the passage of migrants who had landed in Lampedusa in Italy in the aftermath of the Tunisian revolution in 2011.

      Four years later in 2015, after border controls were loosened, Ventimiglia again became a difficult border to cross, when France suspended Schengen for the second time. But far from being just a place where migrants were stranded and forced to go back, our map archive shows that Ventimiglia also became an important place of collective migrant protest.

      Images of migrants on the cliffs holding banners saying “We are not going back” circulated widely in 2015 and became a powerful slogan for other migrant groups across Europe. The most innovative aspect of our map-archive consists in bringing the context of time, showing the transformations of spaces over time into a map about migration that explains the history of border zones over the last decade and how they proliferated across Europe. Every place represented – Paris, Calais, Rome, Lesbos, Kos, and Athens, for example – has been transformed over the years by migrants’ presence.
      Which Europe?

      This archive project visualises these European sites in a way that differs from the conventional geopolitical map: instead of highlighting national frontiers and cities, it foregrounds places that have been actual borders for migrants in transit and which became sites of protest and struggle. In this way the map archive produces another image of Europe, as a space that has been shaped by the presence migrants – the border violence, confinement and their struggle to advance.

      The geopolitical map of Europe is transformed into Europe’s migrant spaces – that is, Europe as it is experienced by migrants and shaped by their presence. So another picture of Europe emerges: a space where migrants’ struggle to stay has contributed to the political history of the continent. In this Europe migrants are subjected to legal restrictions and human rights violations, but at the same time they open up spaces for living, creating community and as a backdrop for their collective struggles.

      It is also where they find solidarity with European citizens who have sympathy with their plight. These border zones highlighted by our map have been characterised by alliances between citizens and migrants in transit, where voluntary groups have set up to provide food, shelter and services such as medical and legal support.

      So how does this map engage with debate on the “migrant crisis” and the “refugee crisis” in Europe? By imposing a time structure and retracing the history of these ephemeral border zone spaces of struggle, it upends the image of migrants’ presence as something exceptional, as a crisis. The map gives an account of how European cities and border zones have been transformed over time by migrants’ presence.

      By providing the history of border zones and recording memories of citizens’ solidarity with migrants in these places, this map dissipates the hardline view of migrants as invaders, intruders and parasites – in other words, as a threat. This way, migrants appear as part of Europe’s unfolding history. Their struggle to stay is now becoming part of Europe’s history.

      But the increasing criminalisation of migrant solidarity in Europe is telling of how such collaboration disturbs state policies on containing migrants. This map-archive helps to erode the image of migrants as faceless masses and unruly mobs, bringing to the fore the spaces they create to live and commune in, embraced by ordinary European citizens who defy the politics of control and the violent borders enacted by their states.


      https://theconversation.com/migration-new-map-of-europe-reveals-real-frontiers-for-refugees-103
      via @isskein

  • Vu sur Twitter :

    M.Potte-Bonneville @pottebonneville a retweeté Catherine Boitard

    Vous vous souvenez ? Elle avait sauvé ses compagnons en tirant l’embarcation à la nage pendant trois heures : Sarah Mardini, nageuse olympique et réfugiée syrienne, est arrêtée pour aide à l’immigration irrégulière.

    Les olympiades de la honte 2018 promettent de beaux records

    M.Potte-Bonneville @pottebonneville a retweeté Catherine Boitard @catboitard :

    Avec sa soeur Yusra, nageuse olympique et distinguée par l’ONU, elle avait sauvé 18 réfugiés de la noyade à leur arrivée en Grèce. La réfugiée syrienne Sarah Mardini, boursière à Berlin et volontaire de l’ONG ERCI, a été arrêtée à Lesbos pour aide à immigration irrégulière

    #migration #asile #syrie #grèce #solidarité #humanité

    • GRÈCE : LA POLICE ARRÊTE 30 MEMBRES D’UNE ONG D’AIDE AUX RÉFUGIÉS

      La police a arrêté, mardi 28 août, 30 membres de l’ONG grecque #ERCI, dont les soeurs syriennes Yusra et Sarah Mardini, qui avaient sauvé la vie à 18 personnes en 2015. Les militant.e.s sont accusés d’avoir aidé des migrants à entrer illégalement sur le territoire grec via l’île de Lesbos. Ils déclarent avoir agi dans le cadre de l’assistance à personnes en danger.

      Par Marina Rafenberg

      L’ONG grecque Emergency response centre international (ERCY) était présente sur l’île de Lesbos depuis 2015 pour venir en aide aux réfugiés. Depuis mardi 28 août, ses 30 membres sont poursuivis pour avoir « facilité l’entrée illégale d’étrangers sur le territoire grec » en vue de gains financiers, selon le communiqué de la police grecque.

      L’enquête a commencé en février 2018, rapporte le site d’information protagon.gr, lorsqu’une Jeep portant une fausse plaque d’immatriculation de l’armée grecque a été découverte par la police sur une plage, attendant l’arrivée d’une barque pleine de réfugiés en provenance de Turquie. Les membres de l’ONG, six Grecs et 24 ressortissants étrangers, sont accusés d’avoir été informés à l’avance par des personnes présentes du côté turc des heures et des lieux d’arrivée des barques de migrants, d’avoir organisé l’accueil de ces réfugiés sans en informer les autorités locales et d’avoir surveillé illégalement les communications radio entre les autorités grecques et étrangères, dont Frontex, l’agence européenne des gardes-cotes et gardes-frontières. Les crimes pour lesquels ils sont inculpés – participation à une organisation criminelle, violation de secrets d’État et recel – sont passibles de la réclusion à perpétuité.

      Parmi les membres de l’ONG grecque arrêtés se trouve Yusra et Sarah Mardini, deux sœurs nageuses et réfugiées syrienne qui avaient sauvé 18 personnes de la noyade lors de leur traversée de la mer Égée en août 2015. Depuis Yusra a participé aux Jeux Olympiques de Rio, est devenue ambassadrice de l’ONU et a écrit un livre, Butterfly. Sarah avait quant à elle décidé d’aider à son tour les réfugiés qui traversaient dangereusement la mer Égée sur des bateaux de fortune et s’était engagée comme bénévole dans l’ONG ERCI durant l’été 2016.

      Sarah a été arrêtée le 21 août à l’aéroport de Lesbos alors qu’elle devait rejoindre Berlin où elle vit avec sa famille. Le 3 septembre, elle devait commencer son année universitaire au collège Bard en sciences sociales. La jeune Syrienne de 23 ans a été transférée à la prison de Korydallos, à Athènes, dans l’attente de son procès. Son avocat a demandé mercredi sa remise en liberté.

      Ce n’est pas la première fois que des ONG basées à Lesbos ont des soucis avec la justice grecque. Des membres de l’ONG espagnole Proem-Aid avaient aussi été accusés d’avoir participé à l’entrée illégale de réfugiés sur l’île. Ils ont été relaxés en mai dernier. D’après le ministère de la Marine, 114 ONG ont été enregistrées sur l’île, dont les activités souvent difficilement contrôlables inquiètent le gouvernement grec et ses partenaires européens.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Une-ONG-accusee-d-aide-a-l-entree-irreguliere-de-migrants

      #grèce #asile #migrations #réfugiés #solidarité #délit_de_solidarité

    • Arrest of Syrian ’hero swimmer’ puts Lesbos refugees back in spotlight

      Sara Mardini’s case adds to fears that rescue work is being criminalised and raises questions about NGO.

      Greece’s high-security #Korydallos prison acknowledges that #Sara_Mardini is one of its rarer inmates. For a week, the Syrian refugee, a hero among human rights defenders, has been detained in its women’s wing on charges so serious they have elicited baffled dismay.

      The 23-year-old, who saved 18 refugees in 2015 by swimming their waterlogged dingy to the shores of Lesbos with her Olympian sister, is accused of people smuggling, espionage and membership of a criminal organisation – crimes allegedly committed since returning to work with an NGO on the island. Under Greek law, Mardini can be held in custody pending trial for up to 18 months.

      “She is in a state of disbelief,” said her lawyer, Haris Petsalnikos, who has petitioned for her release. “The accusations are more about criminalising humanitarian action. Sara wasn’t even here when these alleged crimes took place but as charges they are serious, perhaps the most serious any aid worker has ever faced.”

      Mardini’s arrival to Europe might have gone unnoticed had it not been for the extraordinary courage she and younger sister, Yusra, exhibited guiding their boat to safety after the engine failed during the treacherous crossing from Turkey. Both were elite swimmers, with Yusra going on to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

      The sisters, whose story is the basis of a forthcoming film by the British director Stephen Daldry, were credited with saving the lives of their fellow passengers. In Germany, their adopted homeland, the pair has since been accorded star status.

      It was because of her inspiring story that Mardini was approached by Emergency Response Centre International, ERCI, on Lesbos. “After risking her own life to save 18 people … not only has she come back to ground zero, but she is here to ensure that no more lives get lost on this perilous journey,” it said after Mardini agreed to join its ranks in 2016.

      After her first stint with ERCI, she again returned to Lesbos last December to volunteer with the aid group. And until 21 August there was nothing to suggest her second spell had not gone well. But as Mardini waited at Mytilini airport to head back to Germany, and a scholarship at Bard College in Berlin, she was arrested. Soon after that, police also arrested ERCI’s field director, Nassos Karakitsos, a former Greek naval force officer, and Sean Binder, a German volunteer who lives in Ireland. All three have protested their innocence.

      The arrests come as signs of a global clampdown on solidarity networks mount. From Russia to Spain, European human rights workers have been targeted in what campaigners call an increasingly sinister attempt to silence civil society in the name of security.

      “There is the concern that this is another example of civil society being closed down by the state,” said Jonathan Cooper, an international human rights lawyer in London. “What we are really seeing is Greek authorities using Sara to send a very worrying message that if you volunteer for refugee work you do so at your peril.”

      But amid concerns about heavy-handed tactics humanitarians face, Greek police say there are others who see a murky side to the story, one ofpeople trafficking and young volunteers being duped into participating in a criminal network unwittingly. In that scenario,the Mardini sisters would make prime targets.

      Greek authorities spent six months investigating the affair. Agents were flown into Lesbos from Athens and Thessaloniki. In an unusually long and detailed statement, last week, Mytilini police said that while posing as a non-profit organisation, ERCI had acted with the sole purpose of profiteering by bringing people illegally into Greece via the north-eastern Aegean islands.

      Members had intercepted Greek and European coastguard radio transmissions to gain advance notification of the location of smugglers’ boats, police said, and that 30, mostly foreign nationals, were lined up to be questioned in connection with the alleged activities. Other “similar organisations” had also collaborated in what was described as “an informal plan to confront emergency situations”, they added.

      Suspicions were first raised, police said, when Mardini and Binder were stopped in February driving a former military 4X4 with false number plates. ERCI remained unnamed until the release of the charge sheets for the pair and that of Karakitsos.

      Lesbos has long been on the frontline of the refugee crisis, attracting idealists and charity workers. Until a dramatic decline in migration numbers via the eastern Mediterranean in March 2016, when a landmark deal was signed between the EU and Turkey, the island was the main entry point to Europe.

      An estimated 114 NGOs and 7,356 volunteers are based on Lesbos, according to Greek authorities. Local officials talk of “an industry”, and with more than 10,000 refugees there and the mood at boiling point, accusations of NGOs acting as a “pull factor” are rife.

      “Sara’s motive for going back this year was purely humanitarian,” said Oceanne Fry, a fellow student who in June worked alongside her at a day clinic in the refugee reception centre.

      “At no point was there any indication of illegal activity by the group … but I can attest to the fact that, other than our intake meeting, none of the volunteers ever met, or interacted, with its leadership.”

      The mayor of Lesbos, Spyros Galinos, said he has seen “good and bad” in the humanitarian movement since the start of the refugee crisis.

      “Everything is possible,. There is no doubt that some NGOs have exploited the situation. The police announcement was uncommonly harsh. For a long time I have been saying that we just don’t need all these NGOs. When the crisis erupted, yes, the state was woefully unprepared but now that isn’t the case.”

      Attempts to contact ERCI were unsuccessful. Neither a telephone number nor an office address – in a scruffy downtown building listed by the aid group on social media – appeared to have any relation to it.

      In a statement released more than a week after Mardini’s arrest, ERCI denied the allegations, saying it had fallen victim to “unfounded claims, accusations and charges”. But it failed to make any mention of Mardini.

      “It makes no sense at all,” said Amed Khan, a New York financier turned philanthropist who has donated boats for ERCI’s search and rescue operations. To accuse any of them of human trafficking is crazy.

      “In today’s fortress Europe you have to wonder whether Brussels isn’t behind it, whether this isn’t a concerted effort to put a chill on civil society volunteers who are just trying to help. After all, we’re talking about grassroots organisations with global values that stepped up into the space left by authorities failing to do their bit.”


      https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/06/arrest-of-syrian-hero-swimmer-lesbos-refugees-sara-mardini?CMP=shar

      #Sarah_Mardini

    • The volunteers facing jail for rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean

      The risk of refugees and migrants drowning in the Mediterranean has increased dramatically over the past few years.

      As the European Union pursued a policy of externalisation, voluntary groups stepped in to save the thousands of people making the dangerous crossing. One by one, they are now criminalised.

      The arrest of Sarah Mardini, one of two Syrian sisters who saved a number of refugees in 2015 by pulling their sinking dinghy to Greece, has brought the issue to international attention.

      The Trial

      There aren’t chairs enough for the people gathered in Mytilíni Court. Salam Aldeen sits front row to the right. He has a nervous smile on his face, mouth half open, the tongue playing over his lips.

      Noise emanates from the queue forming in the hallway as spectators struggle for a peak through the door’s windows. The morning heat is already thick and moist – not helped by the two unplugged fans hovering motionless in dead air.

      Police officers with uneasy looks, 15 of them, lean up against the cooling walls of the court. From over the judge, a golden Jesus icon looks down on the assembly. For the sunny holiday town on Lesbos, Greece, this is not a normal court proceeding.

      Outside the court, international media has unpacked their cameras and unloaded their equipment. They’ve come from the New York Times, Deutsche Welle, Danish, Greek and Spanish media along with two separate documentary teams.

      There is no way of knowing when the trial will end. Maybe in a couple of days, some of the journalists say, others point to the unpredictability of the Greek judicial system. If the authorities decide to make a principle out of the case, this could take months.

      Salam Aldeen, in a dark blue jacket, white shirt and tie, knows this. He is charged with human smuggling and faces life in jail.

      More than 16,000 people have drowned in less than five years trying to cross the Mediterranean. That’s an average of ten people dying every day outside Europe’s southern border – more than the Russia-Ukraine conflict over the same period.

      In 2015, when more than one million refugees crossed the Mediterranean, the official death toll was around 3,700. A year later, the number of migrants dropped by two thirds – but the death toll increased to more than 5,000. With still fewer migrants crossing during 2017 and the first half of 2018, one would expect the rate of surviving to pick up.

      The numbers, however, tell a different story. For a refugee setting out to cross the Mediterranean today, the risk of drowning has significantly increased.

      The deaths of thousands of people don’t happen in a vacuum. And it would be impossible to explain the increased risks of crossing without considering recent changes in EU-policies towards migration in the Mediterranean.

      The criminalisation of a Danish NGO-worker on the tiny Greek island of Lesbos might help us understand the deeper layers of EU immigration policy.

      The deterrence effect

      On 27 March 2011, 72 migrants flee Tripoli and squeeze into a 12m long rubber dinghy with a max capacity of 25 people. They start the outboard engine and set out in the Mediterranean night, bound for the Italian island of Lampedusa. In the morning, they are registered by a French aircraft flying over. The migrants stay on course. But 18 hours into their voyage, they send out a distress-call from a satellite phone. The signal is picked up by the rescue centre in Rome who alerts other vessels in the area.

      Two hours later, a military helicopter flies over the boat. At this point, the migrants accidentally drop their satellite phone in the sea. In the hours to follow, the migrants encounter several fishing boats – but their call of distress is ignored. As day turns into night, a second helicopter appears and drops rations of water and biscuits before leaving.

      And then, the following morning on 28 March – the migrants run out of fuel. Left at the mercy of wind and oceanic currents, the migrants embark on a hopeless journey. They drift south; exactly where they came from.

      They don’t see any ships the following day. Nor the next; a whole week goes by without contact to the outside world. But then, somewhere between 3 and 5 April, a military vessel appears on the horizon. It moves in on the migrants and circle their boat.

      The migrants, exhausted and on the brink of despair, wave and signal distress. But as suddenly as it arrived, the military vessel turns around and disappears. And all hope with it.

      On April 10, almost a week later, the migrant vessel lands on a beach south of Tripoli. Of the 72 passengers who left 2 weeks ago, only 11 make it back alive. Two die shortly hereafter.

      Lorenzo Pezzani, lecturer at Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths University of London, was stunned when he read about the case. In 2011, he was still a PhD student developing new spatial and aesthetic visual tools to document human rights violations. Concerned with the rising number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, Lorenzo Pezzani and his colleague Charles Heller founded Forensic Oceanography, an affiliated group to Forensic Architecture. Their first project was to uncover the events and policies leading to a vessel left adrift in full knowledge by international rescue operations.

      It was the public outrage fuelled by the 2013 Lampedusa shipwreck which eventually led to the deployment of Operation Mare Nostrum. At this point, the largest migration of people since the Second World War, the Syrian exodus, could no longer be contained within Syria’s neighbouring countries. At the same time, a relative stability in Libya after the fall of Gaddafi in 2011 descended into civil war; waves of migrants started to cross the Mediterranean.

      From October 2013, Mare Nostrum broke with the reigning EU-policy of non-interference and deployed Italian naval vessels, planes and helicopters at a monthly cost of €9.5 million. The scale was unprecedented; saving lives became the political priority over policing and border control. In terms of lives saved, the operation was an undisputed success. Its own life, however, would be short.

      A critical narrative formed on the political right and was amplified by sections of the media: Mare Nostrum was accused of emboldening Libyan smugglers who – knowing rescue ships were waiting – would send out more migrants. In this understanding, Mare Nostrum constituted a so-called “pull factor” on migrants from North African countries. A year after its inception, Mare Nostrum was terminated.

      In late 2014, Mare Nostrum was replaced by Operation Triton led by Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, with an initial budget of €2.4 million per month. Triton refocused on border control instead of sea rescues in an area much closer to Italian shores. This was a return to the pre-Mare Nostrum policy of non-assistance to deter migrants from crossing. But not only did the change of policy fail to act as a deterrence against the thousands of migrants still crossing the Mediterranean, it also left a huge gap between the amount of boats in distress and operational rescue vessels. A gap increasingly filled by merchant vessels.

      Merchant vessels, however, do not have the equipment or training to handle rescues of this volume. On 31 March 2015, the shipping community made a call to EU-politicians warning of a “terrible risk of further catastrophic loss of life as ever-more desperate people attempt this deadly sea crossing”. Between 1 January and 20 May 2015, merchant ships rescued 12.000 people – 30 per cent of the total number rescued in the Mediterranean.

      As the shipping community had already foreseen, the new policy of non-assistance as deterrence led to several horrific incidents. These culminated in two catastrophic shipwrecks on 12 and 18 April 2015 and the death of 1,200 people. In both cases, merchant vessels were right next to the overcrowded migrant boats when chaotic rescue attempts caused the migrant boats to take in water and eventually sink. The crew of the merchant vessels could only watch as hundreds of people disappeared in the ocean.

      Back in 1990, the Dublin Convention declared that the first EU-country an asylum seeker enters is responsible for accepting or rejecting the claim. No one in 1990 had expected the Syrian exodus of 2015 – nor the gigantic pressure it would put on just a handful of member states. No other EU-member felt the ineptitudes and total unpreparedness of the immigration system than a country already knee-deep in a harrowing economic crisis. That country was Greece.

      In September 2015, when the world saw the picture of a three-year old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, washed up on a beach in Turkey, Europe was already months into what was readily called a “refugee crisis”. Greece was overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the Syrian war. During the following month alone, a staggering 200.000 migrants crossed the Aegean Sea from Turkey to reach Europe. With a minimum of institutional support, it was volunteers like Salam Aldeen who helped reduce the overall number of casualties.

      The peak of migrants entered Greece that autumn but huge numbers kept arriving throughout the winter – in worsening sea conditions. Salam Aldeen recalls one December morning on Lesbos.

      The EU-Turkey deal

      And then, from one day to the next, the EU-Turkey deal changed everything. There was a virtual stop of people crossing from Turkey to Greece. From a perspective of deterrence, the agreement was an instant success. In all its simplicity, Turkey had agreed to contain and prevent refugees from reaching the EU – by land or by sea. For this, Turkey would be given a monetary compensation.

      But opponents of the deal included major human rights organisations. Simply paying Turkey a formidable sum of money (€6 billion to this date) to prevent migrants from reaching EU-borders was feared to be a symptom of an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude pervasive among EU decision makers. Moreover, just like Libya in 2015 threatened to flood Europe with migrants, the Turkish President Erdogan would suddenly have a powerful geopolitical card on his hands. A concern that would later be confirmed by EU’s vague response to Erdogan’s crackdown on Turkish opposition.

      As immigration dwindled in Greece, the flow of migrants and refugees continued and increased in the Central Mediterranean during the summer of 2016. At the same time, disorganised Libyan militias were now running the smuggling business and exploited people more ruthlessly than ever before. Migrant boats without satellite phones or enough provision or fuel became increasingly common. Due to safety concerns, merchant vessels were more reluctant to assist in rescue operations. The death toll increased.
      A Conspiracy?

      Frustrated with the perceived apathy of EU states, Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) responded to the situation. At its peak, 12 search and rescue NGO vessels were operating in the Mediterranean and while the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) paused many of its operations during the fall and winter of 2016, the remaining NGO vessels did the bulk of the work. Under increasingly dangerous weather conditions, 47 per cent of all November rescues were carried out by NGOs.

      Around this time, the first accusations were launched against rescue NGOs from ‘alt-right’ groups. Accusations, it should be noted, conspicuously like the ones sounded against Mare Nostrum. Just like in 2014, Frontex and EU-politicians followed up and accused NGOs of posing a “pull factor”. The now Italian vice-prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, went even further and denounced NGOs as “taxis for migrants”. Just like in 2014, no consideration was given to the conditions in Libya.

      Moreover, NGOs were falsely accused of collusion with Libyan smugglers. Meanwhile Italian agents had infiltrated the crew of a Save the Children rescue vessel to uncover alleged secret evidence of collusion. The German Jugendrettet NGO-vessel, Iuventa, was impounded and – echoing Salam Aldeen’s case in Greece – the captain accused of collusion with smugglers by Italian authorities.

      The attacks to delegitimise NGOs’ rescue efforts have had a clear effect: many of the NGOs have now effectively stopped their operations in the Mediterranean. Lorenzo Pezzani and Charles Heller, in their report, Mare Clausum, argued that the wave of delegitimisation of humanitarian work was just one part of a two-legged strategy – designed by the EU – to regain control over the Mediterranean.
      Migrants’ rights aren’t human rights

      Libya long ago descended into a precarious state of lawlessness. In the maelstrom of poverty, war and despair, migrants and refugees have become an exploitable resource for rivalling militias in a country where two separate governments compete for power.

      In November 2017, a CNN investigation exposed an entire industry involving slave auctions, rape and people being worked to death.

      Chief spokesman of the UN Migration Agency, Leonard Doyle, describes Libya as a “torture archipelago” where migrants transiting have no idea that they are turned into commodities to be bought, sold and discarded when they have no more value.

      Migrants intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) are routinely brought back to the hellish detention centres for indefinite captivity. Despite EU-leaders’ moral outcry following the exposure of the conditions in Libya, the EU continues to be instrumental in the capacity building of the LCG.

      Libya hadn’t had a functioning coast guard since the fall of Gaddafi in 2011. But starting in late 2016, the LCG received increasing funding from Italy and the EU in the form of patrol boats, training and financial support.

      Seeing the effect of the EU-Turkey deal in deterring refugees crossing the Aegean Sea, Italy and the EU have done all in their power to create a similar approach in Libya.
      The EU Summit

      Forty-two thousand undocumented migrants have so far arrived at Europe’s shores this year. That’s a fraction of the more than one million who arrived in 2015. But when EU leaders met at an “emergency summit” in Brussels in late June, the issue of migration was described by Chancellor Merkel as a “make or break” for the Union. How does this align with the dwindling numbers of refugees and migrants?

      Data released in June 2018 showed that Europeans are more concerned about immigration than any other social challenge. More than half want a ban on migration from Muslim countries. Europe, it seems, lives in two different, incompatible realities as summit after summit tries to untie the Gordian knot of the migration issue.

      Inside the courthouse in Mytilini, Salam Aldeen is questioned by the district prosecutor. The tropical temperature induces an echoing silence from the crowded spectators. The district prosecutor looks at him, open mouth, chin resting on her fist.

      She seems impatient with the translator and the process of going from Greek to English and back. Her eyes search the room. She questions him in detail about the night of arrest. He answers patiently. She wants Salam Aldeen and the four crew members to be found guilty of human smuggling.

      Salam Aldeen’s lawyer, Mr Fragkiskos Ragkousis, an elderly white-haired man, rises before the court for his final statement. An ancient statuette with his glasses in one hand. Salam’s parents sit with scared faces, they haven’t slept for two days; the father’s comforting arm covers the mother’s shoulder. Then, like a once dormant volcano, the lawyer erupts in a torrent of pathos and logos.

      “Political interests changed the truth and created this wicked situation, playing with the defendant’s freedom and honour.”

      He talks to the judge as well as the public. A tragedy, a drama unfolds. The prosecutor looks remorseful, like a small child in her large chair, almost apologetic. Defeated. He’s singing now, Ragkousis. Index finger hits the air much like thunder breaks the night sounding the roar of something eternal. He then sits and the room quiets.

      It was “without a doubt” that the judge acquitted Salam Aldeen and his four colleagues on all charges. The prosecutor both had to determine the defendants’ intention to commit the crime – and that the criminal action had been initialised. She failed at both. The case, as the Italian case against the Iuventa, was baseless.

      But EU’s policy of externalisation continues. On 17 March 2018, the ProActiva rescue vessel, Open Arms, was seized by Italian authorities after it had brought back 217 people to safety.

      Then again in June, the decline by Malta and Italy’s new right-wing government to let the Aquarious rescue-vessel dock with 629 rescued people on board sparked a fierce debate in international media.

      In July, Sea Watch’s Moonbird, a small aircraft used to search for migrant boats, was prevented from flying any more operations by Maltese authorities; the vessel Sea Watch III was blocked from leaving harbour and the captain of a vessel from the NGO Mission Lifeline was taken to court over “registration irregularities“.

      Regardless of Europe’s future political currents, geopolitical developments are only likely to continue to produce refugees worldwide. Will the EU alter its course as the crisis mutates and persists? Or are the deaths of thousands the only possible outcome?

      https://theferret.scot/volunteers-facing-jail-rescuing-migrants-mediterranean

  • Un tanker disparaît dans l’épicentre mondial de la piraterie, au large du Gabon
    https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2018/08/22/disparition-d-un-tanker-au-large-du-gabon_5344910_3212.html

    Un tanker de 121 mètres ayant à son bord 17 marins géorgiens a disparu depuis une semaine au large du Gabon, dans le golfe de Guinée, considéré comme l’épicentre de la piraterie maritime dans le monde. Le Pantelena, battant pavillon panaméen, « a disparu des écrans » depuis mardi 14 août. Il se situait à ce moment « entre les eaux du Gabon et de Sao Tomé-et-Principe », selon une source militaire régionale.

    A Tbilissi, le ministère des affaires étrangères a précisé qu’il y avait 17 marins géorgiens et deux russes à bord. Le navire, construit en 2006 et d’une capacité de 7 000 tonnes, appartient à la société grecque Lotus Shipping, qui a lancé une opération de recherche conjointement avec « les forces maritimes régionales et du Royaume-Uni et en coordination avec les autorités géorgiennes », selon un communiqué de Tbilissi.

  • Xenophon : Anabasis, or March Up Country , ἀνάϐασις
    https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/ancient/xenophon-anabasis.asp

    Xenophon the Athenian was born 431 B.C. He was a pupil of Socrates. He marched with the Spartans, and was exiled from Athens. Sparta gave him land and property in Scillus, where he lived for many years before having to move once more, to settle in Corinth. He died in 354 B.C.

    The Anabasis is his story of the march to Persia to aid Cyrus, who enlisted Greek help to try and take the throne from Artaxerxes, and the ensuing return of the Greeks, in which Xenophon played a leading role. This occurred between 401 B.C. and March 399 B.C.

    Xénophon : Expédition de Cyrus (Anabase) : livre I (bilingue)
    http://remacle.org/bloodwolf/historiens/xenophon/retraite1.htm

    ŒUVRES COMPLÈTES DE XÉNOPHON
    http://remacle.org/bloodwolf/historiens/xenophon/index.htm

    #histoire littérature #Grèce #Perse #antiquité

  • Macedonia agrees to new name after 27-year dispute with Greece
    It has taken more than 25 years, divided two nations and been cause for protests great and small, but on Tuesday Greece and Macedonia finally declared peace.
    After countless rounds of UN-mediated talks, the two Balkan neighbours announced that they had agreed to end the row over what to call the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
    The tiny state will henceforth be known neither by its acronym, FYROM, nor simply as Macedonia but as the Republic of North Macedonia – a geographical qualifier that ends any fear in Athens of territorial ambition against the neighbouring Greek province of the same name.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/12/macedonia-agrees-to-new-name-after-27-year-dispute-with-greece

  • Un centre commercial sur un lieu public... cette fois, c’est à Athènes Academy Gardens .org – Please sign this petition! Plato’s Academy and its neighborhood are at risk!
    http://academygardens.org

    The public park and the neighborhood
    The archaeological site at Plato’s Academy forms part of a public garden and is the reference point to the whole surrounding area.
    Plato’s Academy is a dynamic neighborhood of contemporary Athens where new cultural values are shaped and an area where urban commons are produced and cultivated in these years of crisis and many efforts related to social, political and economic positive innovation have been created and developed. New ways of cultural production and cooperative, social and solidarity economy processes emerge from the daily life of the neighborhood.

    The public park is a precious ‘green island’ of local and city-wide importance for Athens, where the percentage of green areas is very low (7%, vs. the 24% European cities average). As such, it is an essential point of reference for the local residents: A space that allows the development of relationships among the local community, where many leisure, sports, and cultural activities take place.
    Together all these characteristics make up a polymorphic urban fabric and a unique place where the ancient past is intermeshed with the more recent one and with the vibrant present, a palimpsest of its archaeological, cultural, natural, industrial and social landscapes.

    #Communs_urbains #Mouvement_des_places

  • BBC - Capital - How Greece is reversing brain drain
    http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20180404-one-answer-to-solving-greeces-brain-drain

    Antonios Chalkiopoulos’s story is typical of many Greeks. After studying in London, he returned to Athens in 2002 and worked in software engineering.

    “Then the crisis happened,” he says. “I decided to go back to the UK and seek new opportunities.”

    Since Greece’s near bankruptcy in 2010, life has been particularly hard for the country’s young people. Although there are finally some tiny signs of recovery - the economy grew by 1.6% in 2017 and the country is expected to exit its bailout programme in August – unemployment for under-25s remains around 45%.

    #grèce #crise

  • Migrants: over 5,000 apprehended in Turkey in 7 days

    Turkish authorities have apprehended over the past week a total of 5,371 migrants and refugees who were trying to illegally cross the borders with the European Union or to enter the country, the Turkish interior ministry has said. They included 389 who were intercepted at sea, it said.

    The ministry also said that 136 suspected human traffickers were arrested.

    Since a deal between the EU and Turkey two years ago, the number of migrants and refugees reaching EU countries, mainly Greece, from Turkey has sharply declined by a few thousands for a daily average of just a few dozens. (ANSAmed).

    http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/generalnews/2018/03/12/migrants-over-5000-apprehended-in-turkey-in-7-days_b658086f-7528-453c-9653
    #arrivées #statistiques #chiffres #accord_UE-Turquie #Turquie #Grèce

    cc @isskein @i_s_