Algeria’s bloodless coup
Veteran Algerian human rights lawyer Abdennour AliYahia once said: “[Abdelaziz] Bouteflika doesn’t want to be Le Pouvoir, but
Algeria’s bloodless coup
Veteran Algerian human rights lawyer Abdennour AliYahia once said: “[Abdelaziz] Bouteflika doesn’t want to be Le Pouvoir, but
Algeria 2019–A Beautiful Line of Flight
On March 11, 2019, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria’s President since 1999, renounced his bid for a fifth
Algeria’s unprecedented and growing protests, in 10 photos | | Al Jazeera
Al-Jazeera fait un très joli coupé/collé de sa couverture du « printemps arabe » de 2011 avec les manifs d’Alger.
Y.M (20) i N.S.(34) iz Irana su danas ujutro, posle 7h, uhvaćeni od 4 hrvatska policajca na granici kod Šida,koji su ih psovali,tukli pendrecima po glavi,šutirali po celom telu.Nakon torture,licima je oduzet novac,dovedeni do granice kod Šida i gurnuti ilegalno nazad u Srbiju.
K.A.(30) migrant from Algeria, died on last Friday after being struck by a power stream while trying to board a train in Sid for Croatia.According to witnesses,after the fall,he was giving signs of life for another 2hours in the presence of police,but ambulance didn’t arrive timely
Indignity and solidarity are being televised in Algeria
“Algeria is an epic, huge, black hole. No one knows anything about.” A very good friend of mine told me this, not long
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.
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 :
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.
A drinkable history of colonialism in North Africa, vol 2:
LEMONADE 🍋🍊 You are probably familiar with the delicious orange sparkling soda #Orangina. What you may not know is that it was invented in Algeria, in a dramatic TALE OF TWO SODAS.
Colonial Algeria was a great producer of citrus 🍊 so much so that a Catholic monk near Oran, frère Clément ended up giving his name to the clementine (which he supposedly ’discovered’)
n the worldwide recession of the 1930s, Algeria had a crapload of oranges and nowhere to sell them to. So a man from Boufarik, Léon Béton, decided to use these excess oranges to make a refreshing sparkling drink: voilà, Orangina was invented in 1935... OR WAS IT?
WHO 👏🏼 INVENTED 👏🏼ORANGINA👏🏼? Orangina was at the centre of a bitter controversy (geddit? Bitter fruit?) A Spanish doctor from Valencia, Trigo Miralles, claimed to have developed the recipe first - but follow me to an even shadier conspiracé
This is the national drink of Algeria: #Selecto, a sweet soda made by the #Hamoud_Boualem company
As you can see from their logo, the Boualem family has been in the soda business for a long time - IN FACT, they won a prize for their original lemonade (gazouz blanche pour les amateurs) all the way back in 1889 at the Paris World Fair
The Boualems are a rare case of Algerian entrepreneurial success that made it through the entire colonial period with their delicious lemonades, while winning prizes and keeping ownership in the same family until this day
o this day some claim that other lemonade companies including Beton’s Orangina stole recipes and techniques from the industrious Boualems
So, pied-noir Orangina (now produced near Marseille) or Algerian Hamoud Boualem? Next time you sip, drink up the history
And Yet We Move - 2018, a Contested Year
Alarm Phone 6 Week Report, 12 November - 23 December 2018
311 people escaping from Libya rescued through a chain of solidarity +++ About 113,000 sea arrivals and over 2,240 counted fatalities in the Mediterranean this year +++ 666 Alarm Phone distress cases in 2018 +++ Developments in all three Mediterranean regions +++ Summaries of 38 Alarm Phone distress cases
“There are no words big enough to describe the value of the work you are doing. It is a deeply human act and it will never be forgotten. The whole of your team should know that we wish all of you health and a long life and the best wishes in all the colours of the world.” These are the words that the Alarm Phone received a few days ago from a man who had been on a boat in the Western Mediterranean Sea and with whom our shift teams had stayed in touch throughout the night until they were finally rescued to Spain. He was able to support the other travellers by continuously and calmly reassuring them, and thereby averted panic on the boat. His message motivates us to continue also in 2019 to do everything we can to assist people who have taken to the sea because Europe’s border regime has closed safe and legal routes, leaving only the most dangerous paths slightly open. On these paths, over 2,240 people have lost their lives this year.
While we write this report, 311 people are heading toward Spain on the rescue boat of the NGO Proactiva Open Arms. The travellers called the Alarm Phone when they were on a boat-convoy that had left from Libya. Based on the indications of their location, Al-Khums, the civil reconnaissance aircraft Colibri launched a search operation in the morning of the 21st of December and was able to spot the convoy of three boats which were then rescued by Proactiva. Italy and Malta closed their harbours to them, prolonging their suffering. Over the Christmas days they headed toward their final destination in Spain. The successful rescue operation of the 313 people (one mother and her infant child were flown out by a helicopter after rescue) highlights the chain of solidarity that activists and NGOs have created in the Central Mediterranean Sea. It is a fragile chain that the EU and its member states seek to criminalise and tear apart wherever they can.
Throughout the year of 2018, we have witnessed and assisted contested movements across the Mediterranean Sea. Despite violent deterrence policies and practices, about 113,000 people succeeded in subverting maritime borders and have arrived in Europe by boat. We were alerted to 666 distress situations at sea (until December 23rd), and our shift teams have done their best to assist the many thousands of people who saw no other option to realise their hope for a better future than by risking their lives at sea. Many of them lost their lives in the moment of enacting their freedom of movement. Over 2,240 women, men, and children from the Global South – and probably many more who were never counted – are not with us anymore because of the violence inscribed in the Global North’s hegemonic and brutal borders. They were not able to get a visa. They could not board a much cheaper plane, bus, or ferry to reach a place of safety and freedom. Many travelled for months, even years, to get anywhere near the Mediterranean border – and on their journeys they have lived through hardships unimaginable for most of us. But they struggled on and reached the coasts of Northern Africa and Turkey, where they got onto overcrowded boats. That they are no longer with us is a consequence of Europe’s racist system of segregation that illegalises and criminalises migration, a system that also seeks to illegalise and criminalise solidarity. Many of these 2,240 people would be alive if the civil rescuers were not prevented from doing their work. All of them would be alive, if they could travel and cross borders freely.
In the different regions of the Mediterranean Sea, the situation has further evolved over the course of 2018, and the Alarm Phone witnessed the changing patterns of boat migration first hand. Most of the boats we assisted were somewhere between Morocco and Spain (480), a considerable number between Turkey and Greece (159), but comparatively few between Libya and Italy (27). This, of course, speaks to the changing dynamics of migratory escape and its control in the different regions:
Morocco-Spain: Thousands of boats made it across the Strait of Gibraltar, the Alboran Sea, or the Atlantic and have turned Spain into the ‘front-runner’ this year with about 56,000 arrivals by sea. In 2017, 22,103 people had landed in Spain, 8,162 in 2016. In the Western Mediterranean, crossings are organised in a rather self-organised way and the number of arrivals speaks to a migratory dynamism not experienced for over a decade in this region. Solidarity structures have multiplied both in Morocco and Spain and they will not be eradicated despite the wave of repression that has followed the peak in crossings over the summer. Several Alarm Phone members experienced the consequences of EU pressure on the Moroccan authorities to repress cross-border movements first hand when they were violently deported to the south of Morocco, as were several thousand others.
Turkey-Greece: With about 32,000 people reaching the Greek islands by boat, more people have arrived in Greece than in 2017, when 29,718 people did so. After arrival via the sea, many are confined in inhumane conditions on the islands and the EU hotspots have turned into rather permanent prisons. This desperate situation has prompted renewed movements across the Turkish-Greek land border in the north. Overall, the number of illegalised crossings into Greece has risen due to more than 20,000 people crossing the land border. Several cases of people experiencing illegal push-back operations there reached the Alarm Phone over the year.
Libya-Italy/Malta: Merely about 23,000 people have succeeded in fleeing Libya via the sea in 2018. The decrease is dramatic, from 119,369 in 2017, and even 181,436 in 2016. This decrease gives testament to the ruthlessness of EU deterrence policies that have produced the highest death rate in the Central Mediterranean and unspeakable suffering among migrant communities in Libya. Libyan militias are funded, trained, and legitimated by their EU allies to imprison thousands of people in camps and to abduct those who made it onto boats back into these conditions. Due to the criminalisation of civil rescuers, a lethal rescue gap was produced, with no NGO able to carry out their work for many months of the year. Fortunately, three of them have now been able to return to the deadliest area of the Mediterranean.
These snapshots of the developments in the three Mediterranean regions, elaborated on in greater detail below, give an idea of the struggles ahead of us. They show how the EU and its member states not only created dangerous maritime paths in the first place but then reinforced its migrant deterrence regime at any cost. They show, however, also how thousands could not be deterred from enacting their freedom of movement and how solidarity structures have evolved to assist their precarious movements. We go into 2019 with the promise and call that the United4Med alliance of sea rescuers has outlined: “We will prove how civil society in action is not only willing but also able to bring about a new Europe; saving lives at sea and creating a just reception system on land. Ours is a call to action to European cities, mayors, citizens, societies, movements, organisations and whoever believes in our mission, to join us. Join our civil alliance and let us stand up together, boldly claiming a future of respect and equality. We will stand united for the right to stay and for the right to go.” Also in the new year, the Alarm Phone will directly engage in this struggle and we call on others to join. It can only be a collective fight, as the odds are stacked against us.
Developments in the Central Mediterranean
In December 2018, merely a few hundred people were able to escape Libya by boat. It cannot be stressed enough how dramatic the decrease in crossings along this route is – a year before, 2,327 people escaped in December, in 2016 even 8,428. 2018 is the year when Europe’s border regime ‘succeeded’ in largely shutting down the Central Mediterranean route. It required a combination of efforts – the criminalisation of civil search and rescue organisations, the selective presence of EU military assets that were frequently nowhere to be found when boats were in distress, the closure of Italian harbours and the unwillingness of other EU member states to welcome the rescued, and, most importantly, the EU’s sustained support for the so-called Libyan coastguards and other Libyan security forces. Europe has not only paid but also trained, funded and politically legitimised Libyan militias whose only job is to contain outward migratory movements, which means capturing and abducting people seeking to flee to Europe both at sea and on land. Without these brutal allies, it would not have been possible to reduce the numbers of crossings that dramatically.
The ‘Nivin case’ of November 7th exemplifies this European-Libyan alliance. On that day, a group of 95 travellers reached out to the Alarm Phone from a boat in distress off the coast of Libya. Among them were people from Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Eritrea. Italy refused to conduct a rescue operation and eventually they were rescued by the cargo vessel Nivin. Despite telling the rescued that they would be brought to a European harbour, the crew of the Nivin returned them to Libya on November 10th. At the harbour of Misrata, most of the rescued refused to disembark, stating that they would not want to be returned into conditions of confinement and torture. The people, accused by some to be ‘pirates’, fought bravely against forced disembarkation for ten days but on the 20th of November they could resist no longer when Libyan security forces stormed the boat and violently removed them, using tear gas and rubber bullets in the process. Several of the protestors were injured and needed treatment in hospital while others were returned into inhumane detention camps.
Also over the past 6 weeks, the period covered in this report, the criminalisation of civil rescue organisations continued. The day that the protestors on the Nivin were violently removed, Italy ordered the seizure of the Aquarius, the large rescue asset operated by SOS Méditerranée and Médecins Sans Frontières that had already been at the docs in France for some time, uncertain about its future mission. According to the Italian authorities, the crew had falsely labelled the clothes rescued migrants had left on the Aquarius as ‘special’ rather than ‘toxic’ waste. The absurdity of the accusation highlights the fact that Italy’s authorities seek out any means to prevent rescues from taking place, a “disproportionate and unfounded measure, purely aimed at further criminalising lifesaving medical-humanitarian action at sea”, as MSF noted. Unfortunately, these sustained attacks showed effect. On the 6th of December, SOS Med and MSF announced the termination of its mission: “European policies and obstruction tactics have forced [us] to terminate the lifesaving operations carried out by the search and rescue vessel Aquarius.” As the MSF general director said: “This is a dark day. Not only has Europe failed to provide search and rescue capacity, it has also actively sabotaged others’ attempts to save lives. The end of Aquarius means more deaths at sea, and more needless deaths that will go unwitnessed.”
And yet, despite this ongoing sabotage of civil rescue from the EU and its member states, three vessels of the Spanish, German, and Italian organisations Open Arms, Sea-Watch and Mediterranea returned to the deadliest area of the Mediterranean in late November. This return is also significance for Alarm Phone work in the Central Mediterranean: once again we have non-governmental allies at sea who will not only document what is going on along the deadliest border of the world but actively intervene to counter Europe’s border ‘protection’ measures. Shortly after returning, one of the NGOs was called to assist. Fishermen had rescued a group of travellers off the coast of Libya onto their fishing vessel, after they had been abandoned in the water by a Libyan patrol boat, as the fishermen claimed. Rather than ordering their rapid transfer to a European harbour, Italy, Malta and Spain sought out ways to return the 12 people to Libya. The fishing boat, the Nuestra Madre de Loreto, was ill-equipped to care for the people who were weak and needed medical attention. However, they were assisted only by Proactiva Open Arms, and for over a week, the people had to stay on the fishing boat. One of them developed a medical emergency and was eventually brought away in a helicopter. Finally, in early December, they were brought to Malta.
Around the same time, something rare and remarkable happened. A boat with over 200 people on board reached the Italian harbour of Pozzallo independently, on the 24th of November. Even when they were at the harbour, the authorities refused to allow them to quickly disembark – a irresponsible decision given that the boat was at risk of capsizing. After several hours, all of the people were finally allowed to get off the boat. Italy’s minister of the interior Salvini accused the Maltese authorities of allowing migrant boats to move toward Italian territory. Despite their hardship, the people on the Nuestra Madre de Loreto and the 200 people from this boat, survived. Also the 33 people rescued by the NGO Sea-Watch on the 22nd of December survived. Others, however, did not. In mid-November, a boat left from Algeria with 13 young people on board, intending to reach Sardinia. On the 16th of November, the first body was found, the second a day later. Three survived and stated later that the 10 others had tried to swim to what they believed to be the shore when they saw a light in the distance. In early December, a boat with 25 people on board left from Sabratha/Libya, and 15 of them did not survive. As a survivor reported, they had been at sea for 12 days without food and water.
Despite the overall decrease in crossings, what has been remarkable in this region is that the people escaping have more frequently informed the Alarm Phone directly than before. The case mentioned earlier, from the 20th of December, when people from a convoy of 3 boats carrying 313 people in total reached out to us, exemplifies this. Detected by the Colibri reconnaissance aircraft and rescued by Proactiva, this case demonstrates powerfully what international solidarity can achieve, despite all attempts by EU member states and institutions to create a zone of death in the Central Mediterranean Sea.
Developments in the Western Mediterranean Sea
Over the past six weeks covered by this report, the Alarm Phone witnessed several times what happens when Spanish and Moroccan authorities shift responsibilities and fail to respond quickly to boats in distress situations. Repeatedly we had to pressurise the Spanish authorities publicly before they launched a Search and Rescue (SAR) operation. And still, many lives were lost at sea. On Moroccan land, the repression campaign against Sub-Saharan travellers and residents continues. On the 30th of November, an Alarm Phone member was, yet again, arrested and deported towards the South of Morocco, to Tiznit, along with many other people. (h ▻https://alarmphone.org/en/2018/12/04/alarm-phone-member-arrested-and-deported-in-morocco/?post_type_release_type=post). Other friends in Morocco have informed us about the deportation of large groups from Nador to Tiznit. Around the 16th of December, 400 people were forcibly removed, and on the 17th of December, another 300 people were deported to Morocco’s south. This repression against black residents and travellers in Morocco is one of the reasons for many to decide to leave via the sea. This has meant that also during the winter, cross-Mediterranean movements remain high. On just one weekend, the 8th-9th of December, 535 people reached Andalusia/Spain.
Whilst people are constantly resisting the border regime by acts of disobedience when they cross the borders clandestinely, acts of resistance take place also on the ground in Morocco, where associations and individuals are continuously struggling for the freedom of movement for all. In early December, an Alarm Phone delegation participated at an international conference in Rabat/Morocco, in order to discuss with members of other associations and collectives from Africa and Europe about the effects of the outsourcing and militarisation of European borders in the desire to further criminalise and prevent migration movements. We were among 400 people and were impressed by the many contributions from people who live and struggle in very precarious situations, by the uplifting atmosphere, and by the many accounts and expressions of solidarity. Days later, during the international meeting in Marrakesh on the ‘Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration’, the Alarm Phone was part of a counter-summit, protesting the international pact on migration which is not meant to reduce borders between states, but to curtail the freedom of movement of the many in the name of ‘legal’ and ‘regulated’ migration. The Alarm Phone delegation was composed of 20 activists from the cities of Tangier, Oujda, Berkane, Nador and Fes. One of our colleagues sums up the event: “We have expressed our ideas and commitments as Alarm Phone, solemnly and strongly in front of the other organisations represented. We have espoused the vision of freedom of movement, a vision without precedent. A vision which claims symbolically all human rights and which has the power to help migrants on all continents to feel protected.” In light of the Marrakesh pact, several African organisations joined together and published a statement rejecting “…the wish to confine Africans within their countries by strengthening border controls, in the deserts, at sea and in airports.”
Shortly after the international meeting in Marrakesh, the EU pledged €148 million to support Morocco’s policy of migrant containment, thus taking steps towards making it even more difficult, and therefore more dangerous for many people on the African continent to exercise their right to move freely, under the pretext of “combating smuggling”. Making the journeys across the Mediterranean more difficult does not have the desired effect of ending illegalised migration. As the routes to Spain from the north of Morocco have become more militarised following a summer of many successful crossings, more southern routes have come into use again. These routes, leading to the Spanish Canary Islands, force travellers to overcome much longer distances in the Atlantic Ocean, a space without phone coverage and with a heightened risk to lose one’s orientation. On the 18th of November, 22 people lost their lives at sea, on their way from Tiznit to the Canary Islands. Following a Spanish-Frontex collaboration launched in 2006, this route to the Canary Islands has not been used very frequently, but numbers have increased this year, with Moroccan nationals being the largest group of arrivals.
Developments in the Aegean Sea
Over the final weeks of 2018, between the 12th of November and the 23rd of December, 78 boats arrived on the Greek islands while 116 boats were stopped by the Turkish coastguards and returned to Turkey. This means that there were nearly 200 attempts to cross into Europe by boat over five weeks, and about 40 percent of them were successful. Over the past six weeks, the Alarm Phone was involved in a total of 19 cases in this region. 6 of the boats arrived in Samos, 3 of them in Chios, and one each on Lesvos, Agathonisi, Farmkonisi, and Symi. 4 boats were returned to Turkey (3 of them rescued, 1 intercepted by the Turkish coastguards). In one distress situation, a man lost his life and another man had to be brought to the hospital due to hypothermia. Moreover, the Alarm Phone was alerted to 2 cases along the Turkish-Greek land border. While in one case their fate remains uncertain, the other group of people were forcibly pushed-back to Turkey.
Thousands of people still suffering in inhuman conditions in hotspots: When we assist boats crossing the Aegean Sea, the people are usually relieved and happy when arriving on the islands, at least they have survived. However, this moment of happiness often turns into a state of shock when they enter the so-called ‘hotspots’. Over 12,500 people remain incarcerated there, often living in tents and containers unsuitable for winter in the five EU-sponsored camps on Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kos, and Leros. In addition to serious overcrowding, asylum seekers continue to face unsanitary and unhygienic conditions and physical violence, including gender-based violence. Doctors without Borders has reported on a measles outbreak in Greek camps and conducted a vaccination campaign. Amnesty International and 20 other organizations have published a collective call: “As winter approaches all asylum seekers on the Aegean islands must be transferred to suitable accommodation on the mainland or relocated to other EU countries. […] The EU-Turkey deal containment policy imposes unjustified and unnecessary suffering on asylum seekers, while unduly limiting their rights.”
The ‘humanitarian’ crisis in the hotspots is the result of Greece’s EU-backed policy of containing asylum seekers on the Aegean islands until their asylum claims are adjudicated or until it is determined that they fall into one of the ‘vulnerable’ categories listed under Greek law. But as of late November, an estimated 2,200 people identified as eligible for transfer are still waiting as accommodation facilities on the mainland are also severely overcrowded. Those who are actually transferred from the hotspot on Lesvos to the Greek mainland are brought to far away camps or empty holiday resorts without infrastructure and without a sufficient number of aid workers.
Criminalisation along Europe’s Eastern Sea Border: A lot has been written about the many attempts to criminalise NGOs and activists carrying out Search and Rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Much less publicly acknowledged are the many cases in which migrant travellers themselves become criminalised for their activist involvement, often for protesting against the inhuman living conditions and the long waiting times for the asylum-interviews. The case of the ‘Moria 35’ on Lesvos was a case in point, highlighting how a few individual protesters were randomly selected by authorities to scare others into silence and obedience. The Legal Centre Lesvos followed this case closely until the last person of the 35 was released and they shared their enquiries with “a 15-month timeline of injustice and impunity” on their website: “On Thursday 18th October, the last of the Moria 35 were released from detention. Their release comes one year and three months – to the day – after the 35 men were arbitrarily arrested and subject to brutal police violence in a raid of Moria camp following peaceful protests, on July 18th 2017.” While the Legal Centre Lesbos welcomes the fact that all 35 men were finally released, they should never have been imprisoned in the first place. They will not get back the 10 to 15 months they spent in prison. Moreover, even after release, most of the 35 men remain in a legally precarious situation. While 6 were granted asylum in Greece, the majority struggles against rejected asylum claims. Three were already deported. One individual was illegally deported without having exhausted his legal remedies in Greece while another individual, having spent 9 months in pre-trial detention, signed up for so-called ‘voluntary’ deportation. In the meantime, others remain in prison to await their trials that will take place with hardly any attention of the media.
Humanitarian activists involved in spotting and rescue released after 3 months: The four activists, Sarah Mardini, Nassos Karakitsos, Panos Moraitis and Sean Binder, were released on the 6th of December 2018 after having been imprisoned for three months. They had been held in prolonged pre-trial detention for their work with the non-profit organization Emergency Response Center International (ERCI), founded by Moraitis. The charges misrepresented the group as a smuggling crime ring, and its legitimate fundraising activities as money laundering. The arrests forced the group to cease its operations, including maritime search and rescue, the provision of medical care, and non-formal education to asylum seekers. They are free without geographical restrictions but the case is not yet over. Mardini and Binder still face criminal charges possibly leading to decades in prison. Until 15 February the group ‘Solidarity now!’ is collecting as many signatures as possible to ensure that the Greek authorities drop the case.
Violent Pushbacks at the Land Border: During the last six weeks, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two groups at the land border separating Turkey and Greece. In both situations, the travellers had already reached Greek soil, but ended up on Turkish territory. Human Right Watch (HRW) published another report on the 18th of December about violent push-backs in the Evros region: “Greek law enforcement officers at the land border with Turkey in the northeastern Evros region routinely summarily return asylum seekers and migrants […]. The officers in some cases use violence and often confiscate and destroy the migrants’ belongings.” Regularly, migrants were stripped off their phones, money and clothes. According to HRW, most of these incidents happened between April and November 2018. The UNHCR and the Council of Europe’s Committee for Prevention of Torture have published similar reports about violent push backs along the Evros borders.
Over the past 6 weeks, the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone was engaged in 38 distress cases, of which 15 took place in the Western Mediterranean, 19 in the Aegean Sea, and 4 in the Central Mediterranean. You can find short summaries and links to the individual reports below.
On Tuesday the 13th of November at 6.17pm, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a relative to a group of travellers who had left two days earlier from around Orán heading towards Murcia. They were around nine people, including women and children, and the relative had lost contact to the boat. We were also never able to reach the travellers. At 6.46pm we alerted the Spanish search and rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (SM) to the distress of the travellers. For several days we tried to reach the travellers and were in contact with SM about the ongoing rescue operation. We were never able to reach the travellers or get any news from the relative. Thus, we are still unsure if the group managed to reach land somewhere on their own, or if they will add to the devastating number of people having lost their lives at sea (see: ▻http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1085).
On Thursday the 22nd of November, at 5.58pm CET, the Alarm Phone received news about a boat of 11 people that had left Nador 8 hours prior. The shift team was unable to immediately enter into contact with the boat, but called Salvamento Maritimo to convey all available information. At 11.48am the following day, the shift team received word from a traveler on the boat that they were safe (see: ▻http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1088).
At 7.25am CET on November 24, 2018, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 70 people (including 8 women and 1 child) that had departed from Nador 3 days prior. The shift team was able to reach the boat at 7.50am and learned that their motor had stopped working. The shift team called Salvamento Maritimo, who had handed the case over to the Moroccan authorities. The shift team contacted the MRCC, who said they knew about the boat but could not find them, so the shift team mobilized their contacts to find the latest position and sent it to the coast guard at 8.55am. Rescue operations stalled for several hours. At around 2pm, the shift team received news that rescue operations were underway by the Marine Royale. The shift team remained in contact with several people and coast guards until the next day, when it was confirmed that the boat had finally been rescued and that there were at least 15 fatalities (see: ▻http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1087).
On Friday the 7th of December 2018, we were alerted to two boats in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. One boat was brought to Algeria, the second boat rescued by Moroccan fishermen and returned to Morocco (see for full report: ▻http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1098).
On Saturday, the 8th of December 2018, we were informed by a contact person at 3.25pm CET to a boat in distress that had left from Nador/Morocco during the night, at about 1am. There were 57 people on the boat, including 8 women and a child. We tried to establish contact to the boat but were unable to reach them. At 4.50pm, the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) informed us that they were already searching for this boat. At 8.34pm, SM stated that this boat had been rescued. Some time later, also our contact person confirmed that the boat had been found and rescued to Spain (see: ▻http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1099).
On Monday the 10th of December, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to three boats in the Western Med. Two had left from around Nador, and one from Algeria. One boat was rescued by the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo, one group of travellers returned back to Nador on their own, and the boat from Algeria returned to Algeria (see: ▻http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1101).
On Wednesday the 12th of December the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted two boats in the Western Med, one carrying seven people, the other carrying 12 people. The first boat was rescued by the Spanish search and rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (SM), whilst the second boat was intercepted by the Moroccan Navy and brought back to Morocco, where we were informed that the travellers were held imprisoned (see: ▻http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1102).
On December 21st, 2018, we were informed of two boats in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The first had left from Algeria and was probably rescued to Spain. The other one had departed from Tangier and was rescued by the Marine Royale and brought back to Morocco (for full report, see: ▻http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1110).
On the 22nd of December, at 5.58pm CET, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 81 people (including 7 women) that had left the previous day from Nador. The motor was not working properly. They informed that they were in touch with Salvamiento Maritimo but as they were still in Moroccan waters, Salvamiento Maritimo said they were unable to perform rescue operations. The shift team had difficulty maintaining contact with the boat over the course of the next few hours. The shift team also contacted Salvamiento Maritimo who confirmed that they knew about the case. At 7.50pm, Salvamiento Maritimo informed the shift team that they would perform the rescue operations and confirmed the operation at 8.15pm. We later got the confirmation by a contact person that the people were rescued to Spain (see: ▻http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1111).
On the 23rd of December 2018, at 1.14am CET, the Alarm Phone received an alert of a boat with 11 men and 1 woman who left from Cap Spartel at Saturday the 22nd of December. The Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to this rubber boat in the early hours of Sunday the 23rd of December. The shift team informed the Spanish Search and Rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) at 4:50am CET about the situation and provided them with GPS coordinates of the boat. SM, however, rejected responsibility and shifted it to the Moroccan authorities but also the Moroccan Navy did not rescue the people. Several days later, the boat remains missing (see for full report: ▻http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1112).
On Saturday the 17th of November the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats in the Aegean Sea. The first boat returned back to Turkey, whilst the second boat reached Samos on their own (see: ▻http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1086).
On the 19th of November at 8.40pm CET the shift team was alerted to a boat of 11 travelers in distress near the Turkish coast on its way to Kos. The shift team called the Turkish Coastguard to inform them of the situation. At 9.00pm, the Coastguard called back to confirm they found the boat and would rescue the people. The shift team lost contact with the travelers. At 9.35pm, the Turkish coast guard informed the shift team that the boat was sunk, one man died and one person had hypothermia and would be brought to the hospital. The other 9 people were safe and brought back to Turkey (see: ▻http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1090).
On the 20th of November at 4.07am CET, the shift team was alerted to a boat with about 50 travelers heading to Samos. The shift team contacted the travelers but the contact was broken for both language and technological reasons. The Alarm Phone contacted the Greek Coastguard about rescue operations. At 7.02am, the shift team was told that a boat of 50 people had been rescued, and the news was confirmed later on, although the shift team could not obtain direct confirmation from the travelers themselves (see:▻http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1089).
On the 23rd of November at 7.45pm CET, the Alarm Phone was contacted regarding a group of 19 people, (including 2 women, 1 of whom was pregnant, and a child) who had crossed the river Evros/ Meric and the Turkish-Greek landborder 3 days prior. The shift team first contacted numerous rescue and protection agencies, including UNHCR and the Greek Police, noting that the people were already in Greece and wished to apply for asylum. Until today we remained unable to find out what happened to the people (see: ▻http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1091).
On the 26th of November at 6:54am CET the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a group of 30 people (among them 7 children and a pregnant woman) who were stranded on the shore in southern Turkey, close to Kas. They wanted us to call the Turkish coastguard so at 7:35am we provided the coastguard with the information we had. At 8:41am we received a photograph from our contact person showing rescue by the Turkish coastguard (see: ▻http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1092).
On the 29th of November at 4am CET the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat carrying 44 people (among them 19 children and some pregnant women) heading towards the Greek island of Samos. Shortly afterwards the travellers landed on Samos and because of their difficulties orienting themselves we alerted the local authorities. At 9:53am the port police told us that they had rescued 44 people. They were taken to the refugee camp (see: ▻http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1093).
On Monday, the 3rd of December 2018, the Alarm Phone was alerted at 5.30am CET to a boat in distress south of Chios, with 43 people on board, among them 14 children. We were able to reach the boat at 5.35am. When we received their position, we informed the Greek coastguards at 7.30am and forwarded an updated GPS position to them ten minutes later. At 8.52am, the coastguards confirmed the rescue of the boat. The people were brought to Chios Island. On the next day, the people themselves confirmed that they had all safely reached Greece (see: ▻http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1095).
On Tuesday the 4th of December 2018, at 6.20am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat in distress near Agathonisi Island. There were about 40 people on board. We established contact to the boat at 6.38am. At 6.45am, we alerted the Greek coastguards. The situation was dangerous as the people on board reported of high waves. At 9.02am, the Greek coastguards confirmed that they had just rescued the boat. The people were brought to Agathonisi (see for full report: ▻http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1096).
On Wednesday the 5th of December 2018, at 00:08am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a contact person to a boat in distress near Chios Island, carrying about 50 people. We received their GPS position at 00.17am and informed the Greek coastguards to the case at 00.30am. At 00.46am, we learned from the contact person that a boat had just been rescued. The Greek authorities confirmed this when we called them at 00.49am. At around 1pm, the people from the boat confirmed that they had been rescued (see: ▻http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1097).
On Friday the 7th of December 2018, the Alarm Phone was contacted at 5.53am CET by a contact person and informed about a group of 19 people who had crossed the Evros river to Greece and needed assistance. We assisted them for days, but at some point contact was lost. We know that they were returned to Turkey and thus suspect an illegal push-back operation (see for full report: ▻http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1109).
On Thursday the 13th of December the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats in the Aegean sea. In both cases we were not able to reach the travellers, but we were in contact with both the Turkish and Greek coast guard and were in the end able to confirm that one boat had arrived to Lesvos on their own, whilst the others had been rescued by Turkish fishermen (see: ▻http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1100).
On the 17th of December, 2018, at 6.39am, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 60 travellers. Water was entering the boat, and so the travelers were in distress. Though the shift team had a difficult time remaining in contact with the boat, they contacted the Greek Coastguard to inform them of the situation and the position of the boat. Although the team was not able to remain in contact with the travelers, they received confirmation at 8.18am that the boat had been brought to Greece (see: ▻http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1103).
On the 18th of December at 2.11am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats. The first, of 29 travellers, had landed on the island of Symi and needed help to exit the place of landing. The second was a boat of 54 travellers (including 16 children, and 15 women) that was rescued by the Greek Coastguard later (see: ▻http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1104).
On the 21st of December, our shift teams were alerted to 2 boats on the Aegean. The first boat was directed to Chios Island and was likely rescued by the Greek Coastguard. The second boat was in immediate distress and after the shift team contacted the Greek Coastguard they rescued the boat (see: ▻http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1105).
On the 23rd of December 2018 at 6am CET, the Alarm Phone received information about a boat in distress heading to Samos with around 60 travellers (including 30 children and 8 women, 4 pregnant). The shift team made contact with the boat and was informed that one of the women was close to giving birth and so the situation was very urgent. The shift team then called the Greek Coast Guard. At 8.07am, the shift team received confirmation that the boat had been rescued (see: ▻http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1106).
On Monday the 12th of November at 6.57pm, the Alarm Phone was called by a relative, asking for help to find out what had happened to his son, who had been on a boat from Algeria towards Sardinia, with around 11 travellers on the 8t of November. Following this, the Alarm Phone was contacted by several relatives informing us about missing people from this boat. Our shift teams tried to gain an understanding of the situation, and for days we stayed in contact with the relatives and tried to support them, but it was not possible to obtain information about what had happened to the travellers (see: ▻http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1094).
On November 23rd at 1.24pm CET, the Alarm Phone shift team was called by a boat of 120 travelers that was in distress and had left the Libyan coast the night before. The shift team remained in touch with the boat for several hours, and helped recharge their phone credit when it expired. As the boat was in distress, and there were no available NGO operations near the boat, the shift team had no choice but to contact the Italian Coast Guard, but they refused to engage in Search and Rescue (SAR) activities, and instead told the Libyan Coastguard. The boat was intercepted and returned to Libya (see: ▻http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1107).
On December 20th, 2018, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two cases in the Central Mediterranean Sea. The first was a boat of 20 people that was intercepted and brought back to Libya. The second concerned 3 boats with 300 people in total, that were rescued by Open Arms and brought to Spain (for full report see: ▻http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1108).
About the So-Called “Revitalization” of Algiers’ Casbah: An Open Letter to Jean Nouvel - THE FUNAMBULIST MAGAZINE
Today, we came to learn that you collaborate with Valérie Pécresse, President of the Region of Île-de-France. In this sense, do we need to remind you that the decisions of the latter weigh every day a little more on the lives of the most precarious Paris inhabitants who, for many, are people who (directly or through their family history) suffered from french colonialism, especially the one at work during 132 years in Algeria? The same one who, in addition to her unequal policies, did not hesitate to join an Islamophobic crowd who pushed around Muslim devots in Clichy when they were praying in the street so as to protest against the transformation of their library prayer room by the municipality (in November 2017). The same person who also did not hesitate to declare that she would be in favor of a law aimed at doubling the prison sentences for acts committed in certain neighborhoods, in contempt of all constitutionality (October 2018). We let you evaluate the link that such actions and speeches can have with the French colonial history and its continuation through other forms.
The decision of the Wilaya of Algiers to “revitalize” the Casbah is its own decision, and we leave it to our friends in Algeria to fight it they feel the urge for it; that is not our role ourselves. However, we, architects, historians, electricians, cleaners, academics, artists and other activists, for whom the Casbah continues to represent one of the strongest symbols of revolutionary architecture, appeal to your political conscience to give up this project. Do not accept to be complicit in a fourth wave of brutal French transformation of the Casbah. All architects must be fully responsible for the political conditions and consequences of the projects they accept; any position that would make them only an executant constitutes an insult to their function and their ability to act. Sometimes this ability to act politically lies within the design of the project itself; at other times, it is rather in the refusal or the renunciation to this same project. This is the case here and you have the power to do that.
Encore une compilation de musique politiquement engagée, un coffret de 4 CDs même, prévu pour février 2019, produit par le Smithonian Institute:
From parties to protests to prayer, music is a powerful catalyst for celebration, for change, and for a sense of community. Through making music together, we become bigger than ourselves. Whether singing with our families and friends or with thousands of strangers in an arena, music transforms lives, engages individuals, and connects local and global communities. The Social Power of Music chronicles the vivid, impassioned, and myriad ways in which music binds, incites, memorializes, and moves groups of people. This richly illustrated 124-page book, with 80+ tracks on 4 CDs, invites listeners into musical practices, episodes, and movements throughout the U.S. and beyond. These songs of struggle, devotion, celebration, and migration remind us that music has the potential to change our world.
Countries: Algeria; Angola; Argentina; Brazil; Chile; Congo-Brazzaville; Denmark; Dominican Republic; France; Greece; Indonesia; Italy; Korea, South; Lebanon; Mexico; Nicaragua; Poland; Puerto Rico; Republic of Kosovo; Scotland; South Africa; Thailand; Turkey; United Kingdom; United States; Vietnam
101 We Shall Overcome The Freedom Singers 2:09
102 This Land is Your Land Woody Guthrie 2:48
103 De colores ([Made] of Colors) Baldemar Velásquez, Aguila Negra 3:02
104 Union Maid Bobbie McGee 2:13
105 If I Had a Hammer Pete Seeger 1:54
106 Reclaim the Night Peggy Seeger 4:33
107 Estoy aquí (I Am Here) Quetzal 5:21
108 Deportees (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos) Sammy Walker 4:57
109 We Are the Children Chris Kando Iijima, Joanne Nobuko Miyamoto, Charlie Chin 2:55
110 I Woke Up This Morning Fannie Lou Hamer 2:36
111 I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Country Joe McDonald 2:59
112 El pobre sigue sufriendo (The Poor Keep On Suffering) Andrés Jiménez 3:26
113 Ballad of the ERA Kristin Lems 4:11
114 Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Pete Seeger 2:06
115 Blowing in the Wind The New World Singers 2:32
116 Quihubo raza (What’s Happening, People) Agustín Lira and Alma 3:50
117 Solidarity Forever Jim Jackson 2:30
118 Joe Hill Paul Robeson 3:00
119 Joaquin Murrieta Rumel Fuentes 3:35
120 Which Side Are You On? The Almanac Singers 2:10
121 Legal/Illegal Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger 4:12
122 It Isn’t Nice Barbara Dane, The Chambers Brothers 4:05
201 Amazing Grace The Old Regular Baptists 2:44
202 Come By Here Barbara Dane, The Chambers Brothers 5:33
203 Will the Circle Be Unbroken The Strange Creek Singers 3:38
204 Peace in the Valley The Paramount Singers 3:50
205 Many Eagle Set Sun Dance Song The Pembina Chippewa Singers 2:11
206 Zuni Rain Dance Members of Zuni Pueblo 4:41
207 Calvary Shape-note singers at Stewart’s Chapel 1:27
208 Northfield The Old Harp Singers of Eastern Tennessee 1:58
209 The Call to Prayer / Adhān Ahmad Al Alawi 2:10
210 Zikr (excerpt) Sheikh Xhemail Shehu, members of the Prizren Rifa’i tekke 2:45
211 Buddhist Chants and Prayers Tu Huyen, Hai Phat, Tam Thu, Hai Dat 4:34
212 Kol Nidre Cantor Abraham Brun 5:05
213 Dayeinu Raasche, Alan Mills 1:47
214 Night Chant Sandoval Begay 2:12
215 Hark, Hark Carolers from the Black Bull, Ecclesfield, UK 3:11
216 Swing Low, Sweet Chariot The Princely Players 2:47
217 The Old Rugged Cross The Paschall Brothers 5:17
218 Madre de Dolores (Mother of Sorrows) Hermanos de la Morada de Nuestra Señora de Dolores del Alto 2:56
219 San Miguel (Saint Michael) Francia Reyes 4:11
220 I’ll Fly Away Rose Maddox 2:32
301 Party Down at the Blue Angel Club Clifton Chenier and His Red Hot Louisiana Band 4:51
302 San Antonio Rose Los Reyes de Albuquerque 2:38
303 Jolie blonde (Pretty Blonde) Austin Pitre 2:47
304 Shake Your Moneymaker John Littlejohn 4:19
305 Beer-Drinking Polka Flaco Jiménez, Max Baca 2:25
306 In Heaven There Is No Beer The Goose Island Ramblers 2:32
307 SAM (Get Down) Sam Brothers Five 4:10
308 Golden Slippers / The Butterfly Whirl Lester Bradley and Friends 4:31
309 Sligo Indians / Paddy Clancy’s / Larry Redican’s / The Rambling Pitchfork Tony DeMarco 4:21
310 La entrega de los novios (The Delivery of the Newlyweds) Lorenzo Martínez 3:46
311 Rock Dance Song (Cree/Metis) The Pembina Chippewa Singers 2:20
312 Pow Wow Song Chippewa Nation 2:52
313 Mary Mack Lilly’s Chapel School, Alabama 1:58
314 Johnny Cuckoo Janie Hunter and children at home 1:15
315 Rooster Call John Henry Mealing and group 4:00
316 Joy to the World Elizabeth Mitchell 3:06
317 Oylupnuv Obrutch (The Broken Hoop Song) The Golden Gate Gypsy Orchestra 2:01
318 Liberty Funeral March The Liberty Brass Band 4:51
319 Junkanoos #1 Key West Junkanoo Band 3:07
320 The Star Spangled Banner Unknown orchestra 1:16
321 Mardi Gras Medley (excerpt) ReBirth Jazz Band 4:33
401 Viva la Quince Brigada (Long Live the 15th Brigade) Pete Seeger 3:04
402 Bella ciao (Goodbye Beautiful) Singers of the “Bella Ciao” production of Spoleto 1:35
403 A desalambrar (Tear Down the Fences) Expresión Joven 5:07
404 Muato mua N’Gola (Women of Angola) Lilly Tchiumba 2:34
405 Un gigante que despierta (An Awakening Giant) Luis Godoy, Grupo Mancotal 4:03
406 Hasret (Longing) Melike Demirag 3:10
407 Prisioneros somos (We Are All Prisoners) Suni Paz 2:19
408 Funeral do lavrador (Funeral of a Worker) Zelia Barbosa 1:59
409 Izakunyatheli Afrika Verwoerd (Africa is Going to Trample on You, Verwoerd) South African refugees in Tanganyika 1:52
410 The Boy with the Sunlit Smile Mikis Theodorakis 2:48
411 Hidup di Bui (Life in Jail) Gambang Kromong Slendang Betawi, Kwi Ap 5:34
412 Man and Buffalo (Kon Gap Kwai) Caravan 3:40
413 Why Need We Cry? Cantor Abraham Brun 2:32
414 El palomo (The Dove) Grupo Raíz 4:06
415 Hvem sidder dér bag skærmen (The Roadmaker) Inger Nielsen 3:08
416 Mon’ etu ua Kassule Musician supporters of the MPLA 5:35
417 Le temps des cerises (Cherry Blossom Time) Yves Montand 4:37
418 Chongsun Arirang Singer from Central Korea 4:03
419 The Passport Marcel Khalifé 9:23
420 Inno della Resistenza (Hymn of the Resistance) Choir of FLN fighters 1:28
Je ne sais pas si tu as vu passer ça, donc à tout hasard : ▻https://www.franceinter.fr/emissions/dans-la-playlist-de-france-inter/dans-la-playlist-de-france-inter-14-janvier-2019
56,800 migrant dead and missing : ’They are human beings’
One by one, five to a grave, the coffins are buried in the red earth of this ill-kept corner of a South African cemetery. The scrawl on the cheap wood attests to their anonymity: “Unknown B/Male.”
These men were migrants from elsewhere in Africa with next to nothing who sought a living in the thriving underground economy of Gauteng province, a name that roughly translates to “land of gold.” Instead of fortune, many found death, their bodies unnamed and unclaimed — more than 4,300 in Gauteng between 2014 and 2017 alone.
Some of those lives ended here at the Olifantsvlei cemetery, in silence, among tufts of grass growing over tiny placards that read: Pauper Block. There are coffins so tiny that they could belong only to children.
As migration worldwide soars to record highs, far less visible has been its toll: The tens of thousands of people who die or simply disappear during their journeys, never to be seen again. In most cases, nobody is keeping track: Barely counted in life, these people don’t register in death , as if they never lived at all.
An Associated Press tally has documented at least 56,800 migrants dead or missing worldwide since 2014 — almost double the number found in the world’s only official attempt to try to count them, by the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration. The IOM toll as of Oct. 1 was more than 28,500. The AP came up with almost 28,300 additional dead or missing migrants by compiling information from other international groups, requesting forensic records, missing persons reports and death records, and sifting through data from thousands of interviews with migrants.
The toll is the result of migration that is up 49 percent since the turn of the century, with more than 258 million international migrants in 2017, according to the United Nations. A growing number have drowned, died in deserts or fallen prey to traffickers, leaving their families to wonder what on earth happened to them. At the same time, anonymous bodies are filling cemeteries around the world, like the one in Gauteng.
The AP’s tally is still low. More bodies of migrants lie undiscovered in desert sands or at the bottom of the sea. And families don’t always report loved ones as missing because they migrated illegally, or because they left home without saying exactly where they were headed.
The official U.N. toll focuses mostly on Europe, but even there cases fall through the cracks. The political tide is turning against migrants in Europe just as in the United States, where the government is cracking down heavily on caravans of Central Americans trying to get in . One result is that money is drying up for projects to track migration and its costs.
For example, when more than 800 people died in an April 2015 shipwreck off the coast of Italy, Europe’s deadliest migrant sea disaster, Italian investigators pledged to identify them and find their families. More than three years later, under a new populist government, funding for this work is being cut off.
Beyond Europe, information is even more scarce. Little is known about the toll in South America, where the Venezuelan migration is among the world’s biggest today, and in Asia, the top region for numbers of migrants.
The result is that governments vastly underestimate the toll of migration, a major political and social issue in most of the world today.
“No matter where you stand on the whole migration management debate....these are still human beings on the move,” said Bram Frouws, the head of the Mixed Migration Centre , based in Geneva, which has done surveys of more than 20,000 migrants in its 4Mi project since 2014. “Whether it’s refugees or people moving for jobs, they are human beings.”
They leave behind families caught between hope and mourning, like that of Safi al-Bahri. Her son, Majdi Barhoumi, left their hometown of Ras Jebel, Tunisia, on May 7, 2011, headed for Europe in a small boat with a dozen other migrants. The boat sank and Barhoumi hasn’t been heard from since. In a sign of faith that he is still alive, his parents built an animal pen with a brood of hens, a few cows and a dog to stand watch until he returns.
“I just wait for him. I always imagine him behind me, at home, in the market, everywhere,” said al-Bahari. “When I hear a voice at night, I think he’s come back. When I hear the sound of a motorcycle, I think my son is back.”
EUROPE: BOATS THAT NEVER ARRIVE
Of the world’s migration crises, Europe’s has been the most cruelly visible. Images of the lifeless body of a Kurdish toddler on a beach, frozen tent camps in Eastern Europe, and a nearly numbing succession of deadly shipwrecks have been transmitted around the world, adding to the furor over migration.
In the Mediterranean, scores of tankers, cargo boats, cruise ships and military vessels tower over tiny, crowded rafts powered by an outboard motor for a one-way trip. Even larger boats carrying hundreds of migrants may go down when soft breezes turn into battering winds and thrashing waves further from shore.
Two shipwrecks and the deaths of at least 368 people off the coast of Italy in October 2013 prompted the IOM’s research into migrant deaths. The organization has focused on deaths in the Mediterranean, although its researchers plead for more data from elsewhere in the world. This year alone, the IOM has found more than 1,700 deaths in the waters that divide Africa and Europe.
Like the lost Tunisians of Ras Jebel, most of them set off to look for work. Barhoumi, his friends, cousins and other would-be migrants camped in the seaside brush the night before their departure, listening to the crash of the waves that ultimately would sink their raft.
Khalid Arfaoui had planned to be among them. When the group knocked at his door, it wasn’t fear that held him back, but a lack of cash. Everyone needed to chip in to pay for the boat, gas and supplies, and he was short about $100. So he sat inside and watched as they left for the beachside campsite where even today locals spend the night before embarking to Europe.
Propelled by a feeble outboard motor and overburdened with its passengers, the rubber raft flipped, possibly after grazing rocks below the surface on an uninhabited island just offshore. Two bodies were retrieved. The lone survivor was found clinging to debris eight hours later.
The Tunisian government has never tallied its missing, and the group never made it close enough to Europe to catch the attention of authorities there. So these migrants never have been counted among the dead and missing.
“If I had gone with them, I’d be lost like the others,” Arfaoui said recently, standing on the rocky shoreline with a group of friends, all of whom vaguely planned to leave for Europe. “If I get the chance, I’ll do it. Even if I fear the sea and I know I might die, I’ll do it.”
With him that day was 30-year-old Mounir Aguida, who had already made the trip once, drifting for 19 hours after the boat engine cut out. In late August this year, he crammed into another raft with seven friends, feeling the waves slam the flimsy bow. At the last minute he and another young man jumped out.
“It didn’t feel right,” Aguida said.
There has been no word from the other six — yet another group of Ras Jebel’s youth lost to the sea. With no shipwreck reported, no survivors to rescue and no bodies to identify, the six young men are not counted in any toll.
In addition to watching its own youth flee, Tunisia and to a lesser degree neighboring Algeria are transit points for other Africans north bound for Europe. Tunisia has its own cemetery for unidentified migrants, as do Greece, Italy and Turkey. The one at Tunisia’s southern coast is tended by an unemployed sailor named Chamseddin Marzouk.
Of around 400 bodies interred in the coastal graveyard since it opened in 2005, only one has ever been identified. As for the others who lie beneath piles of dirt, Marzouk couldn’t imagine how their families would ever learn their fate.
“Their families may think that the person is still alive, or that he’ll return one day to visit,” Marzouk said. “They don’t know that those they await are buried here, in Zarzis, Tunisia.”
AFRICA: VANISHING WITHOUT A TRACE
Despite talk of the ’waves’ of African migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean, as many migrate within Africa — 16 million — as leave for Europe. In all, since 2014, at least 18,400 African migrants have died traveling within Africa, according to the figures compiled from AP and IOM records. That includes more than 4,300 unidentified bodies in a single South African province, and 8,700 whose traveling companions reported their disappearance en route out of the Horn of Africa in interviews with 4Mi.
When people vanish while migrating in Africa, it is often without a trace. The IOM says the Sahara Desert may well have killed more migrants than the Mediterranean. But no one will ever know for sure in a region where borders are little more than lines drawn on maps and no government is searching an expanse as large as the continental United States. The harsh sun and swirling desert sands quickly decompose and bury bodies of migrants, so that even when they turn up, they are usually impossible to identify .
With a prosperous economy and stable government, South Africa draws more migrants than any other country in Africa. The government is a meticulous collector of fingerprints — nearly every legal resident and citizen has a file somewhere — so bodies without any records are assumed to have been living and working in the country illegally. The corpses are fingerprinted when possible, but there is no regular DNA collection.
South Africa also has one of the world’s highest rates of violent crime and police are more focused on solving domestic cases than identifying migrants.
“There’s logic to that, as sad as it is....You want to find the killer if you’re a policeman, because the killer could kill more people,” said Jeanine Vellema, the chief specialist of the province’s eight mortuaries. Migrant identification, meanwhile, is largely an issue for foreign families — and poor ones at that.
Vellema has tried to patch into the police missing persons system, to build a system of electronic mortuary records and to establish a protocol where a DNA sample is taken from every set of remains that arrive at the morgue. She sighs: “Resources.” It’s a word that comes up 10 times in a half-hour conversation.
So the bodies end up at Olifantsvlei or a cemetery like it, in unnamed graves. On a recent visit by AP, a series of open rectangles awaited the bodies of the unidentified and unclaimed. They did not wait long: a pickup truck drove up, piled with about 10 coffins, five per grave. There were at least 180 grave markers for the anonymous dead, with multiple bodies in each grave.
The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is working with Vellema, has started a pilot project with one Gauteng morgue to take detailed photos, fingerprints, dental information and DNA samples of unidentified bodies. That information goes to a database where, in theory, the bodies can be traced.
“Every person has a right to their dignity. And to their identity,” said Stephen Fonseca, the ICRC regional forensic manager.
THE UNITED STATES: “THAT’S HOW MY BROTHER USED TO SLEEP”
More than 6,000 miles (9,000 kilometers) away, in the deserts that straddle the U.S.-Mexico border, lie the bodies of migrants who perished trying to cross land as unforgiving as the waters of the Mediterranean. Many fled the violence and poverty of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador or Mexico. Some are found months or years later as mere skeletons. Others make a last, desperate phone call and are never heard from again.
In 2010 the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team and the local morgue in Pima County, Ariz., began to organize efforts to put names to the anonymous bodies found on both sides of the border. The “Border Project” has since identified more than 183 people — a fraction of the total.
At least 3,861 migrants are dead and missing on the route from Mexico to the United States since 2014, according to the combined AP and IOM total. The tally includes missing person reports from the Colibri Center for Human Rights on the U.S. side as well as the Argentine group’s data from the Mexican side. The painstaking work of identification can take years, hampered by a lack of resources, official records and coordination between countries — and even between states.
For many families of the missing, it is their only hope, but for the families of Juan Lorenzo Luna and Armando Reyes, that hope is fading.
Luna, 27, and Reyes, 22, were brothers-in-law who left their small northern Mexico town of Gomez Palacio in August 2016. They had tried to cross to the U.S. four months earlier, but surrendered to border patrol agents in exhaustion and were deported.
They knew they were risking their lives — Reyes’ father died migrating in 1995, and an uncle went missing in 2004. But Luna, a quiet family man, wanted to make enough money to buy a pickup truck and then return to his wife and two children. Reyes wanted a job where he wouldn’t get his shoes dirty and could give his newborn daughter a better life.
Of the five who left Gomez Palacio together, two men made it to safety, and one man turned back. The only information he gave was that the brothers-in-law had stopped walking and planned to turn themselves in again. That is the last that is known of them.
Officials told their families that they had scoured prisons and detention centers, but there was no sign of the missing men. Cesaria Orona even consulted a fortune teller about her missing son, Armando, and was told he had died in the desert.
One weekend in June 2017, volunteers found eight bodies next to a military area of the Arizona desert and posted the images online in the hopes of finding family. Maria Elena Luna came across a Facebook photo of a decaying body found in an arid landscape dotted with cactus and shrubs, lying face-up with one leg bent outward. There was something horribly familiar about the pose.
“That’s how my brother used to sleep,” she whispered.
Along with the bodies, the volunteers found a credential of a boy from Guatemala, a photo and a piece of paper with a number written on it. The photo was of Juan Lorenzo Luna, and the number on the paper was for cousins of the family. But investigators warned that a wallet or credential could have been stolen, as migrants are frequently robbed.
“We all cried,” Luna recalled. “But I said, we cannot be sure until we have the DNA test. Let’s wait.”
Luna and Orona gave DNA samples to the Mexican government and the Argentine group. In November 2017, Orona received a letter from the Mexican government saying that there was the possibility of a match for Armando with some bone remains found in Nuevo Leon, a state that borders Texas. But the test was negative.
The women are still waiting for results from the Argentine pathologists. Until then, their relatives remain among the uncounted.
Orona holds out hope that the men may be locked up, or held by “bad people.” Every time Luna hears about clandestine graves or unidentified bodies in the news, the anguish is sharp.
“Suddenly all the memories come back,” she said. “I do not want to think.”
SOUTH AMERICA: “NO ONE WANTS TO ADMIT THIS IS A REALITY”
The toll of the dead and the missing has been all but ignored in one of the largest population movements in the world today — that of nearly 2 million Venezuelans fleeing from their country’s collapse. These migrants have hopped buses across the borders, boarded flimsy boats in the Caribbean, and — when all else failed — walked for days along scorching highways and freezing mountain trails. Vulnerable to violence from drug cartels, hunger and illness that lingers even after reaching their destination, they have disappeared or died by the hundreds.
“They can’t withstand a trip that hard, because the journey is very long,” said Carlos Valdes, director of neighboring Colombia’s national forensic institute. “And many times, they only eat once a day. They don’t eat. And they die.” Valdes said authorities don’t always recover the bodies of those who die, as some migrants who have entered the country illegally are afraid to seek help.
Valdes believes hypothermia has killed some as they trek through the mountain tundra region, but he had no idea how many. One migrant told the AP he saw a family burying someone wrapped in a white blanket with red flowers along the frigid journey.
Marta Duque, 55, has had a front seat to the Venezuela migration crisis from her home in Pamplona, Colombia. She opens her doors nightly to provide shelter for families with young children. Pamplona is one of the last cities migrants reach before venturing up a frigid mountain paramo, one of the most dangerous parts of the trip for migrants traveling by foot. Temperatures dip well below freezing.
She said inaction from authorities has forced citizens like her to step in.
“Everyone just seems to pass the ball,” she said. “No one wants to admit this is a reality.”
Those deaths are uncounted, as are dozens in the sea. Also uncounted are those reported missing in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. In all at least 3,410 Venezuelans have been reported missing or dead in a migration within Latin America whose dangers have gone relatively unnoticed; many of the dead perished from illnesses on the rise in Venezuela that easily would have found treatment in better times.
Among the missing is Randy Javier Gutierrez, who was walking through Colombia with a cousin and his aunt in hopes of reaching Peru to reunite with his mother.
Gutierrez’s mother, Mariela Gamboa, said that a driver offered a ride to the two women, but refused to take her son. The women agreed to wait for him at the bus station in Cali, about 160 miles (257 kilometers) ahead, but he never arrived. Messages sent to his phone since that day four months ago have gone unread.
“I’m very worried,” his mother said. “I don’t even know what to do.”
ASIA: A VAST UNKNOWN
The region with the largest overall migration, Asia, also has the least information on the fate of those who disappear after leaving their homelands. Governments are unwilling or unable to account for citizens who leave for elsewhere in the region or in the Mideast, two of the most common destinations, although there’s a growing push to do so.
Asians make up 40 percent of the world’s migrants, and more than half of them never leave the region. The Associated Press was able to document more than 8,200 migrants who disappeared or died after leaving home in Asia and the Mideast, including thousands in the Philippines and Indonesia.
Thirteen of the top 20 migration pathways from Asia take place within the region. These include Indian workers heading to the United Arab Emirates, Bangladeshis heading to India, Rohingya Muslims escaping persecution in Myanmar, and Afghans crossing the nearest border to escape war. But with large-scale smuggling and trafficking of labor, and violent displacements, the low numbers of dead and missing indicate not safe travel but rather a vast unknown.
Almass was just 14 when his widowed mother reluctantly sent him and his 11-year-old brother from their home in Khost, Afghanistan, into that unknown. The payment for their trip was supposed to get them away from the Taliban and all the way to Germany via a chain of smugglers. The pair crammed first into a pickup with around 40 people, walked for a few days at the border, crammed into a car, waited a bit in Tehran, and walked a few more days.
His brother Murtaza was exhausted by the time they reached the Iran-Turkey border. But the smuggler said it wasn’t the time to rest — there were at least two border posts nearby and the risk that children far younger travelling with them would make noise.
Almass was carrying a baby in his arms and holding his brother’s hand when they heard the shout of Iranian guards. Bullets whistled past as he tumbled head over heels into a ravine and lost consciousness.
Alone all that day and the next, Almass stumbled upon three other boys in the ravine who had also become separated from the group, then another four. No one had seen his brother. And although the younger boy had his ID, it had been up to Almass to memorize the crucial contact information for the smuggler.
When Almass eventually called home, from Turkey, he couldn’t bear to tell his mother what had happened. He said Murtaza couldn’t come to the phone but sent his love.
That was in early 2014. Almass, who is now 18, hasn’t spoken to his family since.
Almass said he searched for his brother among the 2,773 children reported to the Red Cross as missing en route to Europe. He also looked for himself among the 2,097 adults reported missing by children. They weren’t on the list.
With one of the world’s longest-running exoduses, Afghans face particular dangers in bordering countries that are neither safe nor welcoming. Over a period of 10 months from June 2017 to April 2018, 4Mi carried out a total of 962 interviews with Afghan migrants and refugees in their native languages around the world, systematically asking a series of questions about the specific dangers they had faced and what they had witnessed.
A total of 247 migrant deaths were witnessed by the interviewed migrants, who reported seeing people killed in violence from security forces or starving to death. The effort is the first time any organization has successfully captured the perils facing Afghans in transit to destinations in Asia and Europe.
Almass made it from Asia to Europe and speaks halting French now to the woman who has given him a home in a drafty 400-year-old farmhouse in France’s Limousin region. But his family is lost to him. Their phone number in Afghanistan no longer works, their village is overrun with Taliban, and he has no idea how to find them — or the child whose hand slipped from his grasp four years ago.
“I don’t know now where they are,” he said, his face anguished, as he sat on a sun-dappled bench. “They also don’t know where I am.”
#décès #morts #migrations #réfugiés #asile #statistiques #chiffres #monde #Europe #Asie #Amérique_latine #Afrique #USA #Etats-Unis #2014 #2015 #2016 #2017 #2018
ping @reka @simplicissimus
No man’s land at Paris airport: Where France keeps foreigners who’ve been refused entry
Every day, foreigners suspected of trying to enter France illegally are taken to a special area of Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport where they are held at a facility dubbed #ZAPI. Located just a stone’s throw away from the airport’s runways, the ultra-secure area is closed to the general public. NGOs say ZAPI is just another name for a prison, where foreigner’s rights are flouted and where expulsions are fast-tracked. InfoMigrants was granted exclusive access to it.
Audrey is pulling funny faces at the little girl she’s holding in her arms. “She’s not mine,” she says, and points to the girl’s mother who is sitting on another bench just a few metres away. “I’m just playing with her to pass the time,” she says. Twenty-eight-year-old Audrey from Gabon currently lives inside the four walls of the Charles de Gaulle airport’s “waiting zone”, or ZAPI, where people who have been refused entry onto French territory are being held while authorities decide what to do with them.
Audrey’s laugh is barely audible. Neither is that of the little girl. The loud noise of the aircraft that just touched down some 50 metres away from them have drowned out all the surrounding sounds. “The noise, it’s hard… It prevents us from sleeping, we hear the planes all the time…,” the young woman complains without even looking at the giant aircraft whose wings are now gracing the fence of ZAPI.
This tiny piece of no man’s land lies just next to one of the airport’s runways. “ZAPI is a bit like a protrusion of the international zone,” Alexis Marty explains, who heads up the immigration department at the French border police (PAF). In legal terms, the zone is not deemed to be a part of French territory. “It’s a zone where people end up when they’ve been refused entry into France and the Schengen area” by not having a visa, or because there are suspicions that their travel documents have been forged… Audrey, who’s been there for nearly a week, recalls how she was intercepted just as she was getting off the plane. She says she was placed at ZAPI because she didn’t have a “hotel” and “not enough money”.
To visit France for a period lasting up to three months, foreigners need to fulfill certain conditions before being allowed to touch French ground: They need to have a valid passport, a visa (depending on the nationality), a medical insurance covering their stay, proof of lodging (hotel reservation or with family members), enough funds to cover their stay as well as a return ticket.
Ill-prepared tourists or illegal immigrants?
Foreigners who are stopped by customs officers because they don’t fulfill the conditions linked to their stay generally end up at ZAPI. “We don’t send everyone there,” Marty explains, however, pointing to certain nuances. “There are confused tourists who’ve just prepared their vacations really poorly, and who’ve forgotten essential documents. But there are also those who have different intentions, and who produce forged documents to try to enter European territory illegally.”
It’s difficult to tell an ill-prepared tourist and a potential illegal immigrant apart. This is why the verification is done in several steps. “We don’t send people to ZAPI right away, we first carry out an initial check. When a suspicious person steps out of the plane, we bring them into a separate room to verify their documents, to ask them questions, listen to their replies and to verify any additional information they give us. If all goes well, we release them after a few hours,” he explains. “But if the incoherencies and the doubts persist, if the person produces fake documents or no documents at all, if a ‘migration risk’ exists for the person, we place them in ZAPI.”
On this particular October day, the airport’s “waiting zone” houses a total of 96 people, of which one is an unaccompanied minor. The number of people changes on a daily basis. “Generally, a person spends four and a half days at ZAPI, so the rotation is pretty fast,” police commander Serge Berquier, who is the head of ZAPI, says. The maximum time a person can stay there is 20 days. Men, women and children – even minors traveling on their own – may be sent there. There is no age limit.
After a three-week stay, a so-called “ZAPIst” is left with three options: Either they are finally granted entry into France (with a safe conduct), they are sent back to the country they traveled from, or a legal case is opened against them (for refusing to board, for forging documents, etc.). In 2016, some 7,000 people were held at the airport at some point, of which 53 percent were immediately refused entry into France.
While “ZAPIsts” wait for their fates to be decided, they do what they can to kill time. They stroll in the outdoor space, they stay in their rooms, or they hang out in the TV room. The PAF makes a point of clarifying that the “ZAPIsts” are not “detainees” but rather “retainees”. This means that they have rights; family members can visit, they have access to catering services and can get legal and humanitarian assistance from the Red Cross which has a permanent presence at the facility.
“It’s not a prison,” Marty says. “Here, you can keep your personal belongings, your mobile phone, you can go in and out of the rooms as much as you like. The only restriction is that you’re not allowed to exit the premises.”
It may not be a prison, but it’s definitely a place of deprivation. Not all mobile phones are allowed, and those equipped with a camera are confiscated automatically.
It’s 11.45am, but no one seems to be around on the ground floor. The TV is on in the communal room, but there’s no one there to watch it. No one is using the public payphones which are available to the “ZAPIsts” 24/7. On the first floor, where the rooms are located, the hallways are more or less empty. “They’re most likely downstairs, in the canteen, lunch will be served soon,” a police officer says. “Otherwise they might be outside, in the garden, talking or smoking.”
The police presence is fairly discrete on the floor with the rooms, but every now and then the police officers can be heard calling someone through the loud-speakers that have been installed in the building. “We use it to call people who have a visit or a meeting. It helps us avoid having to run through the hallways to find them,” Berquier, the head of ZAPI, explains while showing us around the premises. “There are 67 rooms. Some are reserved for families, and others for people with reduced mobility […] There’s also an area reserved for unaccompanied minors and an area with games for them and for families.”
La ZAPI compte au total une soixantaine de chambres Crdit InfoMigrants
‘Things can be improved’
The atmosphere at ZAPI is calm, almost peaceful. Until Youssef, an Algerian who’s been held there for four days, turns up. He seems to be on his guard, and appears quite tense. “I’m still waiting for my suitcase, I don’t have any clothes to change with,” he complains and lights a cigarette. “The Red Cross is helping me out.” It can take several days for a person who’ve been placed in ZAPI to have their personal belongings returned to them. Checked-in luggage first has to be located and then controlled… During this period, the Red Cross does what it can in terms of clothing, offering T-shirts and underwear.
Marty finds the situation with the luggage deplorable. “It’s evident that not everything is perfect, there are things that can be improved,” he admits. “To have a suitcase speedily returned to someone at ZAPI is among the things where progress can be made.”
Audrey from Gabon and Youssef from Algeria, who have both found themselves blocked in this no-man’s land, have more or less the same story to tell. Both of them claim they came to France to visit family, insisting they did not intend to enter the country illegally. “But now, my situation isn’t very good,” the young woman says. Did she really come for the “tourist visit” she claims? Or did she try her chance at entering France by sneaking through the controls (customs)? It’s hard to know. The police have the same doubts when it comes to Youssef. “I came here to visit family, but I had a problem with my return ticket which didn’t match my visa,” he explains. Youssef says he wants to try to regularize his documents – “to buy a return ticket that conforms to the conditions” – in order to leave ZAPI and thereafter enter France. Audrey, on the other hand, says she has “given up”. She wants to go home now.
The PAF sometimes comes across “people who ask to go home because they understand that their entry into France is compromised,” Marty explains. The costs of such returns are normally taken out of the pocket of the airline that flew the foreigner in question to France in the first place, and is undoubtedly a way for authorities to sanction the airlines and force them to be more vigilant when it comes to checking their passengers’ travel documents.
The risk of failing an attempt to enter a country illegally is often higher for those who try to do so via air travel. “It’s an expensive trip, you have to pay for the ticket as well as the forged passport you need to fool the authorities, and this is before having to take the rigorous controls at the airports into account,” Marty says.
The nationalities of migrants arriving by plane are often different from those who try to reach Europe by sea or by land. “The people at ZAPI are mainly from South America, Honduras, Brazil, and Nicaragua. Also from China and Russia. Some also come from North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, but they are fewer in numbers.” On this particular day, the people in ZAPI’s courtyard are from Gabon, Chad, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and South America.
’The aim is to deport’
ZAPI also houses people seeking asylum. “There are people who demand protection in France as soon as they step off the plane,” Marty explains. “They tell border police […] Everything has been organized so that they know they have the right to demand asylum and that we’re ready to help them in their attempt to do so.”
Charlene Cuartero-Saez works for Anafé, an association that helps foreigners who have been blocked between borders, and which has an office at ZAPI. She almost chokes when she hears the “model” description of the facility that Marty has given, saying it is far from the benevolent place he has been talking about.
Cuartero-Saez has her desk in room 38 of the building, which has been converted into an Anafé office, Cuartero-Saez lists the different dysfunctions of the place: the poor ventilation, the restricted outdoor access, cameras in the communal areas, no laundry room… “It’s true that here, the material conditions are less difficult than elsewhere. Charles de Gaulle’s ZAPI is a bit like the display window for other ‘waiting zones’ in France. But that doesn’t prevent people from having their rights flouted, especially here.”
’Some are sent back just a few hours after their arrival in France’
“[Police] say that people are informed of their rights in their native language, but in my opinion that is not always true. Many [officers] work on the principle that if the migrants speaks a few words of English, he or she doesn’t need an interpreter.”
Anafé is also alarmed over the fast-speed returns of “ZAPIsts” – despite the existence of a “clear day” which normally gives a person 24 hours of respite at ZAPI. “This ‘clear day’ exists, yes, but you only get it if you ask for it! Many people don’t even know what it is,” Cuartero-Saez says. “There have been cases where people have been sent back to their countries just a few hours after arriving in France.”
The law stipulates that asylum request can be filed at any moment – and thereby suspending an imminent deportation. In those cases, an Ofpra official comes to ZAPI to carry out a pre-assessment of the person’s request. The interview doesn’t decide on the asylum application itself, but evaluates the pertinence of the demand. A decision should be made within 20 days. If the demand is rejected, a deportation is imminent. A person filing a demand for asylum while at ZAPI can therefore receive a definite response within just a few days, whereas the average waiting time in France is between two and eight months or even more, depending on the case.
Ces trois jeunes Sri-Lankais ont dpos une demande dasile aux frontires Crdit InfoMigrants
“The aim of keeping [people in] this waiting area is to be able deport them, Cuartero-Saez states, and gives three asylum-seeking Sri Lankans who are currently staying at ZAPI as an example. The three men – all under the age of 30 – are in the courtyard and explain how they fear for their lives because they’re members of the separatist Tamil Tigers (LTTE) movement. All three have just been notified that their demands for asylum have been rejected.
They show their rejection letters while seated on a bench in the sunshine. They speak neither French nor English and they don’t seem to know what to do next. They’ve been there for two weeks now. “We told them that they can appeal the decision. They didn’t know they could do that, no one had informed them of that,” Cuartero-Saez says.
The three Tamils appear to be quite lost. They don’t seem to understand that they could face imminent deportation. In five days’ time, their retention at ZAPI will expire. “We don’t want to go back to Sri Lanka,” they say smiling. “We want to stay in France.”
Aja, from Chad, and her two small daughters are in the same situation. They have been held at ZAPI for four days. Aja doesn’t want them to be returned to Chad, but she doesn’t want to demand asylum either. “I think I had a problem with money… That’s why they’re keeping me here. I’m here as a tourist,” she says, but adds that she “would very much like” to stay in France if it was possible. Because of this deadlock, she and her daughters also risk deportation.
For those staying at ZAPI, the place is not synonymous with neither violence nor mistreatment but rather anxiety. At any given moment, PAF officers can try to force someone at ZAPI onboard a plane. “We have examples of people who don’t manage to register their asylum request in time,” Cuartero-Saez at Anafé says. “When the demand hasn’t been registered, the process is never launched… And so, without recourse, a person can be sent back in less than four days without even knowing his or her rights.”
#Paris #aéroport #zone_de_transit #limbe #asile #migrations #réfugiés #déboutés #renvois #expulsions #détention #rétention #détention_administrative
C.I.A. Drone Mission, Curtailed by Obama, Is Expanded in Africa Under Trump
The C.I.A. is poised to conduct secret drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State insurgents from a newly expanded air base deep in the Sahara, making aggressive use of powers that were scaled back during the Obama administration and restored by President Trump.
Late in his presidency, Barack Obama sought to put the military in charge of drone attacks after a backlash arose over a series of highly visible strikes, some of which killed civilians. The move was intended, in part, to bring greater transparency to attacks that the United States often refused to acknowledge its role in.
But now the C.I.A. is broadening its drone operations, moving aircraft to northeastern Niger to hunt Islamist militants in southern Libya. The expansion adds to the agency’s limited covert missions in eastern Afghanistan for strikes in Pakistan, and in southern Saudi Arabia for attacks in Yemen.
Nigerien and American officials said the C.I.A. had been flying drones on surveillance missions for several months from a corner of a small commercial airport in Dirkou. Satellite imagery shows that the airport has grown significantly since February to include a new taxiway, walls and security posts.
One American official said the drones had not yet been used in lethal missions, but would almost certainly be in the near future, given the growing threat in southern Libya. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the secretive operations.
A C.I.A. spokesman, Timothy Barrett, declined to comment. A Defense Department spokeswoman, Maj. Sheryll Klinkel, said the military had maintained a base at the Dirkou airfield for several months but did not fly drone missions from there.
The drones take off from Dirkou at night — typically between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. — buzzing in the clear, starlit desert sky. A New York Times reporter saw the gray aircraft — about the size of Predator drones, which are 27 feet long — flying at least three times over six days in early August. Unlike small passenger planes that land occasionally at the airport, the drones have no blinking lights signaling their presence.
“All I know is they’re American,” Niger’s interior minister, Mohamed Bazoum, said in an interview. He offered few other details about the drones.
Dirkou’s mayor, Boubakar Jerome, said the drones had helped improve the town’s security. “It’s always good. If people see things like that, they’ll be scared,” Mr. Jerome said.
Mr. Obama had curtailed the C.I.A.’s lethal role by limiting its drone flights, notably in Yemen. Some strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere that accidentally killed civilians, stirring outrage among foreign diplomats and military officials, were shielded because of the C.I.A.’s secrecy.
As part of the shift, the Pentagon was given the unambiguous lead for such operations. The move sought, in part, to end an often awkward charade in which the United States would not concede its responsibility for strikes that were abundantly covered by news organizations and tallied by watchdog groups. However, the C.I.A. program was not fully shut down worldwide, as the agency and its supporters in Congress balked.
The drone policy was changed last year, after Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director at the time, made a forceful case to President Trump that the agency’s broader counterterrorism efforts were being needlessly constrained. The Dirkou base was already up and running by the time Mr. Pompeo stepped down as head of the C.I.A. in April to become Mr. Trump’s secretary of state.
The Pentagon’s Africa Command has carried out five drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State militants in Libya this year, including one two weeks ago. The military launches its MQ-9 Reaper drones from bases in Sicily and in Niamey, Niger’s capital, 800 miles southwest of Dirkou.
But the C.I.A. base is hundreds of miles closer to southwestern Libya, a notorious haven for Al Qaeda and other extremist groups that also operate in the Sahel region of Niger, Chad, Mali and Algeria. It is also closer to southern Libya than a new $110 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, 350 miles west of Dirkou, where the Pentagon plans to operate armed Reaper drone missions by early next year.
Another American official said the C.I.A. began setting up the base in January to improve surveillance of the region, partly in response to an ambush last fall in another part of Niger that killed four American troops. The Dirkou airfield was labeled a United States Air Force base as a cover, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential operational matters.
The C.I.A. operation in Dirkou is burdened by few, if any, of the political sensitivities that the United States military confronts at its locations, said one former American official involved with the project.
Even so, security analysts said, it is not clear why the United States needs both military and C.I.A. drone operations in the same general vicinity to combat insurgents in Libya. France also flies Reaper drones from Niamey, but only on unarmed reconnaissance missions.
“I would be surprised that the C.I.A. would open its own base,” said Bill Roggio, editor of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal, which tracks military strikes against militant groups.
Despite American denials, a Nigerien security official said he had concluded that the C.I.A. launched an armed drone from the Dirkou base to strike a target in Ubari, in southern Libya, on July 25. The Nigerien security official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the classified program.
A spokesman for the Africa Command, Maj. Karl Wiest, said the military did not carry out the Ubari strike.
#Ubari is in the same region where the American military in March launched its first-ever drone attack against Qaeda militants in southern Libya. It is at the intersection of the powerful criminal and jihadist currents that have washed across Libya in recent years. Roughly equidistant from Libya’s borders with Niger, Chad and Algeria, the area’s seminomadic residents are heavily involved in the smuggling of weapons, drugs and migrants through the lawless deserts of southern Libya.
Some of the residents have allied with Islamist militias, including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates across Algeria, Mali, Niger and Libya.
Dirkou, in northeast Niger, is an oasis town of a few thousand people in the open desert, bordered by a small mountain range. For centuries, it has been a key transit point for travelers crossing the Sahara. It helped facilitate the rise of Islam in West Africa in the 9th century, and welcomed salt caravans from the neighboring town of Bilma.
The town has a handful of narrow, sandy roads. Small trees dot the horizon. Date and neem trees line the streets, providing shelter for people escaping the oppressive midday heat. There is a small market, where goods for sale include spaghetti imported from Libya. Gasoline is also imported from Libya and is cheaper than elsewhere in the country.
The drones based in Dirkou are loud, and their humming and buzzing drowns out the bleats of goats and crows of roosters.
“It stops me from sleeping,” said Ajimi Koddo, 45, a former migrant smuggler. “They need to go. They go in our village, and it annoys us too much.”
Satellite imagery shows that construction started in February on a new compound at the Dirkou airstrip. Since then, the facility has been extended to include a larger paved taxiway and a clamshell tent connected to the airstrip — all features that are consistent with the deployment of small aircraft, possibly drones.
Five defensive positions were set up around the airport, and there appear to be new security gates and checkpoints both to the compound and the broader airport.
It’s not the first time that Washington has eyed with interest Dirkou’s tiny base. In the late 1980s, the United States spent $3.2 million renovating the airstrip in an effort to bolster Niger’s government against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, then the leader of Libya.
Compared with other parts of Africa, the C.I.A.’s presence in the continent’s northwest is relatively light, according to a former State Department official who served in the region. In this part of Niger, the C.I.A. is also providing training and sharing intelligence, according to a Nigerien military intelligence document reviewed by The Times.
The Nigerien security official said about a dozen American Green Berets were stationed earlier this year in #Dirkou — in a base separate from the C.I.A.’s — to train a special counterterrorism battalion of local forces. Those trainers left about three months ago, the official said.
It is unlikely that they will return anytime soon. The Pentagon is considering withdrawing nearly all American commandos from Niger in the wake of the deadly October ambush that killed four United States soldiers.
Le Sahel est-il une zone de #non-droit ?
La CIA a posé ses valises dans la bande sahélo-saharienne. Le New-York Times l’a annoncé, le 9 septembre dernier. Le quotidien US, a révélé l’existence d’une #base_de_drones secrète non loin de la commune de Dirkou, dans le nord-est du Niger. Cette localité, enclavée, la première grande ville la plus proche est Agadez située à 570 km, est le terrain de tir parfait. Elle est éloignée de tous les regards, y compris des autres forces armées étrangères : France, Allemagne, Italie, présentes sur le sol nigérien. Selon un responsable américain anonyme interrogé par ce journal, les drones déployés à Dirkou n’avaient « pas encore été utilisés dans des missions meurtrières, mais qu’ils le seraient certainement dans un proche avenir, compte tenu de la menace croissante qui pèse sur le sud de la Libye. » Or, d’après les renseignements recueillis par l’IVERIS, ces assertions sont fausses, la CIA a déjà mené des opérations à partir de cette base. Ces informations apportent un nouvel éclairage et expliquent le refus catégorique et systématique de l’administration américaine de placer la force conjointe du G5 Sahel (Tchad, Mauritanie, Burkina-Faso, Niger, Mali) sous le chapitre VII de la charte des Nations Unies.
L’installation d’une base de drones n’est pas une bonne nouvelle pour les peuples du Sahel, et plus largement de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, qui pourraient connaître les mêmes malheurs que les Afghans et les Pakistanais confrontés à la guerre des drones avec sa cohorte de victimes civiles, appelées pudiquement « dégâts collatéraux ».
D’après le journaliste du NYT, qui s’est rendu sur place, les drones présents à Dirkou ressembleraient à des Predator, des aéronefs d’ancienne génération qui ont un rayon d’action de 1250 km. Il serait assez étonnant que l’agence de Langley soit équipée de vieux modèles alors que l’US Air Force dispose à Niamey et bientôt à Agadez des derniers modèles MQ-9 Reaper, qui, eux, volent sur une distance de 1850 km. A partir de cette base, la CIA dispose donc d’un terrain de tir étendu qui va de la Libye, au sud de l’Algérie, en passant par le Tchad, jusqu’au centre du Mali, au Nord du Burkina et du Nigéria…
Selon deux sources militaires de pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest, ces drones ont déjà réalisé des frappes à partir de la base de Dirkou. Ces bombardements ont eu lieu en Libye. Il paraît important de préciser que le chaos existant dans ce pays depuis la guerre de 2011, ne rend pas ces frappes plus légales. Par ailleurs, ces mêmes sources suspectent la CIA d’utiliser Dirkou comme une prison secrète « si des drones peuvent se poser des avions aussi. Rien ne les empêche de transporter des terroristes de Libye exfiltrés. Dirkou un Guantanamo bis ? »
En outre, il n’est pas impossible que ces drones tueurs aient été en action dans d’autres Etats limitrophes. Qui peut le savoir ? « Cette base est irrégulière, illégale, la CIA peut faire absolument tout ce qu’elle veut là-bas » rapporte un officier. De plus, comment faire la différence entre un MQ-9 Reaper de la CIA ou encore un de l’US Air Force, qui, elle, a obtenu l’autorisation d’armer ses drones (1). Encore que…
En novembre 2017, le président Mahamadou Issoufou a autorisé les drones de l’US Air Force basés à Niamey, à frapper leurs cibles sur le territoire nigérien (2). Mais pour que cet agrément soit légal, il aurait fallu qu’il soit présenté devant le parlement, ce qui n’a pas été le cas. Même s’il l’avait été, d’une part, il le serait seulement pour l’armée US et pas pour la CIA, d’autre part, il ne serait valable que sur le sol nigérien et pas sur les territoires des pays voisins…
Pour rappel, cette autorisation a été accordée à peine un mois après les événements de Tongo Tongo, où neuf militaires avaient été tués, cinq soldats nigériens et quatre américains. Cette autorisation est souvent présentée comme la conséquence de cette attaque. Or, les pourparlers ont eu lieu bien avant. En effet, l’AFRICOM a planifié la construction de la base de drone d’Agadez, la seconde la plus importante de l’US Air Force en Afrique après Djibouti, dès 2016, sous le mandat de Barack Obama. Une nouvelle preuve que la politique africaine du Pentagone n’a pas changée avec l’arrivée de Donald Trump (3-4-5).
Les USA seuls maîtres à bord dans le Sahel
Dès lors, le véto catégorique des Etats-Unis de placer la force G5 Sahel sous chapitre VII se comprend mieux. Il s’agit de mener une guerre non-officielle sans mandat international des Nations-Unies et sans se soucier du droit international. Ce n’était donc pas utile qu’Emmanuel Macron, fer de lance du G5, force qui aurait permis à l’opération Barkhane de sortir du bourbier dans lequel elle se trouve, plaide à de nombreuses reprises cette cause auprès de Donald Trump. Tous les présidents du G5 Sahel s’y sont essayés également, en vain. Ils ont fini par comprendre, quatre chefs d’Etats ont boudé la dernière Assemblée générale des Nations Unies. Seul, le Président malien, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, est monté à la tribune pour réitérer la demande de mise sous chapitre VII, unique solution pour que cette force obtienne un financement pérenne. Alors qu’en décembre 2017, Emmanuel Macron y croyait encore dur comme fer et exigeait des victoires au premier semestre 2018, faute de budget, le G5 Sahel n’est toujours pas opérationnel ! (6-7) Néanmoins, la Chine a promis de le soutenir financièrement. Magnanime, le secrétaire d’Etat à la défense, Jim Mattis a lui assuré à son homologue, Florence Parly, que les Etats-Unis apporteraient à la force conjointe une aide très significativement augmentée. Mais toujours pas de chapitre VII en vue... Ainsi, l’administration Trump joue coup double. Non seulement elle ne s’embarrasse pas avec le Conseil de Sécurité et le droit international mais sous couvert de lutte antiterroriste, elle incruste ses bottes dans ce qui est, (ce qui fut ?), la zone d’influence française.
Cerise sur le gâteau, en août dernier le patron de l’AFRICOM, le général Thomas D. Waldhauser, a annoncé une réduction drastique de ses troupes en Afrique (9). Les sociétés militaires privées, dont celle d’Erik Prince, anciennement Blackwater, ont bien compris le message et sont dans les starting-blocks prêtes à s’installer au Sahel (10).
Mon ami Khalifa a les honneurs du principal journal de reggae... Caen au centre du monde. Khalifa le mérite.
Singer and songwriter since 1997 with Positive Radical Sound (PRS), Khalifa believes music can be more than making tunes and performing. Releasing four albums with PRS, two with Sly & Robbie as well as numerous songs featuring Mad Professor, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Sly & Robbie, Taxi Gang, Sugar Minott, Nambo Robinson, Steven Marley Wright and Paul Groucho Smykle, Khalifa is also involved in teaching music in detention centers in France, in refugee camps in Palestine or in youth clubs in Oran, Algeria.
“Music should help educate while exploring the depths of the Soul”. This is what Khalifa has learned to do.
Khalifa gets his energy from the sources of reggae music to take us beyond frontiers as shown in his last single ‘There’s a Light’ which music video was shot in Camden, London, or in his cover of French classic ‘Chanson pour l’auvergnat’ by George Brassens, North African style! For nearly 17 years Khalifa keeps producing music and writing songs, inspired by his travels and by everyday life, and backed by a powerful rhythm. A must-see performance!
For his album, ‘Hard Times for Dreamers’, Khalifa rounded up an international crew, bringing in Mad Professor, Winston Mac Anuff, Nambo Robinson, Sly and Robbie et Steven Marley Wright (I Jah Man) to put together 12 powerful, tight songs. Each tune has its subtlety; the punchy brass section gives way to the strings, and a 50s guitar trill weaves in and out of a raw afro-beat. Robbie Shakespeare’s bassline smoothly glides us from Lagos to the Kingston suburbs, while Khalif’s masterful voice takes the lead.
Hard times for dreamers was the result of trips to Oran, Ramallah, Kingston, Paris and London, and exchanges with Sly & Robbie, Mad Professor, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Taxi Gang, Sugar Minott, Nambo Robinson, Steven Marley Wright and Paul Groucho Smykle.
Official Website: Khalifa.fr
Le premier groupe de Khalifa, qui s’appelait « Les Mamelouks » m’a servi de démo quand j’ai présenté internet au Maroc... donc premier son entendu en direct internet dans ce pays, c’était en 97 je crois.
Les Mamelouks avaient fait le spectacle lors de l’étape de la Marche des chômeurs à Caen, et c’était super, un ska mélangé avec des musiques et rythmes arabisants. Khalifa a toujours continué à soutenir, à son rythme et de son point de vue, les mouvements sur Caen, avec Arnaud et Nesta... la bande à PRS ;-)
Les deux pays, liés par un accord de réadmission, ont réaffirmé leur « entente » sur le dossier migratoire lors de la visite d’Angela Merkel à Alger.
Reçu via la mailing-list Migreurop:
Merkel’s government wants to classify Algeria like Tunisia and Morocco as safe countries of origin in terms of asylum law. Rejected asylum seekers could be deported more quickly. But commentators also have doubts about reports of torture and unfair trials. Whether the Chancellor will receive promises from Bouteflika and his Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia could be seen as reassuring. SPD and Greens are sceptical; this Friday the plans of the federal government on safe countries of origin will be discussed in the Bundesrat.
According to a report, the number of deportations to Algeria has increased significantly in recent years. In 2015 only 57 people from Germany were brought into the country, in 2017 then 504, reported the “Rheinische Post” on Monday with reference to figures of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. In the current year, the trend has continued: by July, about 350 people had already been deported to Algeria.
Only a few asylum seekers from Algeria are recognized in Germany. Last year, the rate was two percent.
Algeria will welcome back all its nationals in an irregular situation in Germany, regardless of their number, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia assured on Monday 17 September, at the occasion of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s official visit.
"I confirm that Algeria will take its children back, whether they are 3,000 or 5,000, provided that they can “identify” their nationality, Mr. Ouyahia said at a joint press conference in Algiers with Ms. Merkel.
According to the Algerian Prime Minister, his country “is itself taking action against illegal migrants [and] can only agree with the German government on this subject”. Ahmed Ouyahia also recalled that Algiers and Berlin have been bound by a readmission agreement since 1997.
“Algeria fights for the rest of the international community” by preventing “annually 20,000 to 30,000 people from illegally entering[its territory] and often from Algeria to continue their way” to Europe, he said.
Il faudrait trouver les liens vers les statistiques des années précédentes (mais hélas pas le temps maintenant...)
Un bon article de #Matteo_Villa qui résume ces questions, paru en septembre 2018 :
Outsourcing European Border Control : Recent Trends in Departures, Deaths and Search and Rescue Activities in the Central Mediterranean
In our previous blog post ‘Border Deaths in the Mediterranean: what we can learn from the latest data?’ on Border Criminologies (March 2017) we discussed the existing data sources on Mediterranean Sea migration and provided an analysis of key patterns and trends. We found that Search and Rescue (SAR) has little or no effect on the number of arrivals, and it is rather the absence of SAR that leads to more deaths. These results, which are in line with other research, were covered by various European media outlets and also resulted in a peer reviewed publication in Sociology (also available as a free preprint).
These findings covered the period until December 2016. Since then, however, the context of European border policy has changed considerably:
Through a mix of political pressure, financial incentives and military assistance, the EU has tried to induce transit countries in the Sahel to close their borders to Europe-bound migrants. According to European parliament president Tajani, this resulted in a 95% drop in crossings through Niger, a key transition point for migrants on the way to Libya, although it cannot be excluded that migrants are taking different, more dangerous routes in order to reach Northern African countries (either via Niger or through Algeria).
From the beginning of 2017 onwards, the Italian government backed by the EU has increasingly cooperated with Libyan authorities to block depatures in exchange for financial and logistical support. The UN-backed government in Libya in turn, has allegedly forged deals with a number of militias.
Increased European support for the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG), resulting in an increase in interceptions and the declaration of a Libyan SAR zone.
Increasing legal and political attacks on NGOs engaged in SAR have culminated in Italy’s decision to declare its ports to be “closed” to NGO vessels and (temporarily) to EU rescue ships in June 2018.
Each of these developments can be seen as part of a broader strategy to close the European borders by externalizing border control to third countries, a practice that was tried earlier with Turkey, and to relax commitments enshrined in international law, such as search and rescue at sea and non refoulement.
In view of these recent developments, we document estimated trends in arrivals, deaths, mortality rates and rescue activities covering the most recent period, between January 2016 and July 2018. In doing so, we strongly rely on detailed statistical analyses conducted by the Italian research institute ISPI. Our analyses are based on publicly available data from the IOM and the UNHCR for arrivals and interceptions, and IOM’s Missing Migrants Project for deaths. It is important to note that recorded deaths are a lower bound estimate of the actual death toll, because some deaths are likely to remain unreported. We provide an extensive discussion of data sources, data quality and challenges for their interpretation in our academic article on the issue. Since most of the above developments relate to the situation in Libya, we focus on migrants departing from that country. Libya is also the only Northern African country where interceptions at sea by the Coast Guard are independently monitored by both IOM and UNHCR personnel at disembarkation points.
Although each of these individual developments have been reported elsewhere, together they paint a picture of Europe’s resolve to close its external borders and deter irregular migration, regardless of the (human) cost.
Trend #1: A sharp drop in departures
Figure 1 plots trends in the number of migrants departing irregularly from Libya by sea since January 2016. Until mid-2017, migrant departures show a remarkably regular seasonal pattern, with around 20,000 departures during the summer months. As of July 2017, however, the number of arrivals dropped dramatically, and it has stayed at comparatively low levels up to the present. The decrease in arrivals occurred after alleged ’deals’ between Libyan authorities and the militias in Western Libya that control the smuggling networks, and a few months after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Italy and Libya. Convergent diplomatic action induced some militias to switch from smuggling to preventing departures. Other factors, such as the activity of the LCG, private and public SAR providers, or dynamics in the rate of dead and missing along the route, are relevant per se but appear to play no significant role in the decrease in arrivals to Europe. Europe’s efforts to block migrants passing though transit countries may have played a role as well, but evidence is still too sparse to be reliably assessed.
Trend #2: An increased risk of interception by the Libyan Coast Guard
The Libyan Coast Guard plays a pivotal role in Europe’s strategy of externalizing migration control to third countries. A report by Human Rights Watch suggests that in recent months “the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (IMRCC) has routinized a practice, tested since at least May 2017, of transferring responsibility to Libyan coast guard forces in international waters even when there are other, better-equipped vessels, including its own patrol boats or Italian navy vessels, closer to the scene.” This practice has been termed ’refoulement by proxy’ because the LCG is financed, equipped and instructed by the Italian and European authorities, as described in this recent investigative report. Migrants who are forcibly returned to Libya are imprisoned in detention centres for indefinite periods, and they face systematic violence—including torture and rape—as has been documented in numerous reports.
The new Italian government intensified and formalized the policy of transferring responsibility to the LCG. Since June, it has instructed ships undertaking rescues in the Libyan SAR zone to refer all emergency calls to the Libyan authorities, who will then arrange their interception and pull-back to Libya. The declarations that Italian ports are “closed” to NGO ships are also part of this strategy, as their operations are considered to interfere with LCG interceptions. In late July, this practice resulted in the first instance of a non-Libyan vessel, the Asso Ventotto, being instructed to coordinate with the Tripoli Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC). The ship ultimately disembarked the rescued persons on Libyan territory and thus effectively engaged in refoulement and collective expulsion of migrants.
The practice of outsourcing European border control to the Libyan Coast Guard has brought about a sharp increase in its activity: by the end of July 2018, the LCG had intercepted 12,490 migrants at sea compared to 8,851 during the same period in the previous year, which amounts to a 41% increase. In combination with the drop in departures, this policy has resulted in a rapid increase in the risk of interception. To illustrate this fact, in July 2017 just 6% of migrants leaving Libya by sea ended up being caught and brought back, while almost 94% made it to Europe. In July 2018, instead, 71% of migrants leaving Libya’s shores were intercepted and brought back, while just 24% arrived safely in a European country (see Figure 2).
Trend #3: An increase in the absolute and relative mortality rate between mid-June and July 2018
In this section, we look at trends in absolute mortality (the number of dead and missing people at sea) and relative mortality (the risk of crossing) of migrants departing from Libya. In particular, we analyse the widely reported spike in deaths that occurred in late June 2018, after virtually all SAR NGOs had been prevented from operating as a result of policies introduced by the new Italian Minister of Interior Salvini from the far-right Lega and the continued denial by the Maltese authorities to offer Valetta as a port of entry. On June 10, Italy unilaterally decided to declare its ports to be “closed” to NGO rescue ships, as well as (temporarily) to commercial and EU vessels carrying rescued migrants. Also Malta tightened its position on rescue activities and cracked down on two SAR NGOs in early July. Since then, rescue operations close to the Libyan coast have been almost entirely delegated to the LCG.
First, we look at trends in the absolute mortality rate. Figure 3 shows a reduction in the monthly number of deaths since July 2017, commensurate with the reduction in the number of departures described above. For example, 20 deaths were recorded in April 2018, and 11 in May (Figure 3). In June, however, an estimated 451 migrants died on their way from Libya to Europe—of which 370 between 16 and 30 June. It is important to note that these deaths occurred during a time when departures were comparatively low. As a result, the risk of crossing has increased from 2.8% in the previous months to a staggering 7% since mid-June 2018 (Figure 4). These findings are also robust to using different time frames for the pre-NGO absence period, including the entire period since the drop of arrivals in July 2017 until the NGO ban. Whereas relative mortality has fluctuated in recent years, 7% constitute an extraordinary spike.
Figure 5 maps shipwreck events occurring between 16 June and 31 July 2018 with at least estimated 15 dead or missing persons, using geocoded data provided by IOM’s Missing Migrants Project. While the precise location of each shipwreck is only an estimate, as “precise locations are not often known” (as explained in the “Methodology” section of the Missing Migrants Project), such estimates do provide an indication of where such shipwrecks have taken place. In particular, IOM data shows that shipwrecks between 16 June and 31 July took place well within 50 nautical miles from Libya’s shores, an area which used to be patrolled by either the LCG or NGO vessels. Yet, during the time when deaths spiked, only two NGO vessels had been operating, and only discontinuously.
These observations are reminiscent of what happened in 2015, when the withdrawal of competent SAR providers (the Italian mission Mare Nostrum) similarly created the conditions for avoidable loss of life. Although these findings are based on a relatively short time period, they are suggestive of the risk of leaving the Libyan SAR zone to the operations of the LCG alone. Continuous monitoring of the situation remains of utmost importance.
In combination, the three trends described above highlight the harsh realities of recent European migration policies, which seek to limit irregular migration regardless of the moral, legal and humanitarian consequences. The current European obsession with reducing migration at all costs is even less comprehensible when considering that arrivals decreased drastically prior to the most recent escalation of rhetoric and externalization of migration control. Arrivals to Italy in the first half of 2018 were down by 79% compared to the same time frame in 2017. Although increasingly inhumane policies are often cloaked in a rhetoric about reducing deaths at sea, it is important to remember that those who are prevented from crossing or forcibly returned are generally not safe but remain subject to precarious and often lethal conditions in countries of transit. Rather than providing a sustainable response to the complex challenges involved in irregular migration, Europe has outsourced the management of its migration ’problem’ to countries like Libya and Niger, where violence and death often remains hidden from the public view.
Arrivées en Europe via la Méditerranée :
Arrivées en Europe toute frontière confondue :
–-> attention, c’est les « crossings »... rappelez-vous de la question des doubles/triples contages des passages :
Pour #2016 #2017 et #2018, chiffres de Matteo Villa :
database : ►https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ncHxOHIx4ptt4YFXgGi9TIbwd53HaR3oFbrfBm67ak4/edit#gid=0
Départs de Libye (ou non-départs car refoulements et interceptions par les gardes-côtes libyens) :
–-> à mettre en lien avec les politiques d’#externalisation en Libye :
Growing demand for Russian arms in the Middle East: The Syria Effect?
A quick look on arms transfers databases reveals a growing demand for Russian arms in the Middle East. In 2012, Russia delivered weapons to four countries (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan and the UAE – in addition to Syria and Iran). Five years later, in 2017, it delivered weapons to eight countries (Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, the UAE and Turkey – in addition to Syria and Iran), and sales grew in variety, size and value. Compared to 2012, the sales, according to announced figures and estimates, at least doubled in size, both because of the expansion to new markets and increased sales to traditional partners. What could explain this increased interest in Russian weapons? Is President Vladimir Putin correct to credit the boost to the “marketing effect” of the Syrian war? Or are there other, more important, factors at play?
The Russian military industrial complex showcased the best it has to offer in Syria, deploying a vast array of naval, air and ground weapon systems. Furthermore, the conflict has served as a major testing ground. According to various statements by Russian officials, a minimum of 60 and up to 200 of these weapons have been tested in combat for the first time in Syria. “Combat-proven” is in itself a major marketing argument. As Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said in 2017, “it cannot be overestimated (…) Customers have started queuing up for the weapons that have proven themselves in Syria.” Among those publicly confirmed first-time combat-tested weapons were both examples of the latest Russian state-of-the-art technology, as well as weapons serving in the Russian military for decades.
“it cannot be overestimated (…) Customers have started queuing up for the weapons that have proven themselves in Syria” – Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov.
Ex-Polisario Member: ‘Algeria Is Responsible for Western #Sahara Conflict’
The History of Civilization Is a History of Border Walls
When I joined my first archaeological dig at a site near Hadrian’s Wall in 2002, walls never appeared in the nightly news. Britain was still many years away from planning a barrier near the opening of the Chunnel in Calais. Saudi Arabia hadn’t yet encircled itself with high-tech barricades. Israel hadn’t started reinforcing its Gaza border fence with concrete. Kenya wasn’t seeking Israel’s help in the construction of a 440-mile barrier against Somalia. And the idea that India might someday send workers high into the Himalayas to construct border walls that look down on clouds still seemed as preposterous as the notion that Ecuador might commence construction on a 950-mile concrete wall along its border with Peru.
No one chatted about walls while we cut through sod to expose the buried remains of an ancient fortress in northern Britain. I doubt that anyone was chatting about walls anywhere. The old fortress, on the other hand, was generally considered the crown jewel of British archaeology. For more than 30 years, sharp-eyed excavators at the Roman fort of Vindolanda had been finding writing tablets — thin slivers of wood upon which Roman soldiers had written letters, duty rosters, inventories, and other assorted jottings. At first, the tablets had represented something of a technical challenge; their spectral writing faded almost immediately upon exposure to air, almost as if written in invisible ink. But when the writings were recovered through infrared photography, a tremendous satisfaction came from the discovery that Roman soldiers complained about shortages of beer while the wives of their commanders planned birthday parties. The Romans, it turned out, were a lot like us.
Archaeology, even at such a special place, was tiring business, but after work I enjoyed taking hikes along the wall. It was beautiful countryside — well lit by an evening sun that lingered late during the Northumbrian summer — and as I ambled over the grassy hills, occasionally enjoying the company of sheep, I sometimes imagined I was a lonely Roman soldier, stationed at the end of the world, scanning the horizon for barbarians while I awaited a resupply of beer. I’m ashamed to say that I took no detailed notes on the wall itself. It made for beautiful photographs, the way it stretched languidly over the countryside, but my real interest lay in other things: the Roman soldiers, the barbarians, the letters. If anything I saw in Britain was to hold any significance for my research, it seemed obvious that I would find it in the wet gray clay of Vindolanda. There I hoped only to discern tiny clues about a particular period of Roman history. Such are the modest goals of the academic. For the duration of my stay, my focus was on the clay. All the while, I was standing right next to a piece of a much bigger story, a fragment of the past that was about to rise up from its ancient slumber to dominate contemporary politics on two continents. I was leaning against it, resting my hand on it, posing for pictures by it. I just didn’t see it.
It was my interest in the barbarians that finally opened my eyes to the historical importance of walls. The barbarians were, in the main, inhabitants of every North African or Eurasian wasteland — the steppes, the deserts, the mountains. Civilized folk had erected barriers to exclude them in an astonishing array of countries: Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Britain, Algeria, Libya, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Peru, China, and Korea, to give only a partial list. Yet somehow this fact had entirely escaped the notice of historians. Not a single textbook observed the nearly universal correlation between civilization and walls. It remained standard even for specialists to remark that walls were somehow unique to Chinese history, if not unique to Chinese culture — a stereotype that couldn’t possibly be any less true.
By some cruel irony, the mere concept of walls now divides people more thoroughly than any structure of brick or stone.
The reemergence of border walls in contemporary political debates made for an even more surprising revelation. Like most people my age, I had watched the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 with great excitement. To many of us, it looked like the beginning of a new era, heralded by no less towering an international figure than David Hasselhoff, whose concert united both halves of Berlin in inexplicable rapture. More than a quarter-century has passed since then, and if it had once seemed that walls had become a thing of the past, that belief has proven sorely wrong.
Border walls have experienced a conspicuous revival in the 21st century. Worldwide, some 70 barriers of various sorts currently stand guard. Some exist to prevent terrorism, others as obstacles to mass migration or the flow of illegal drugs. Nearly all mark national borders. By some cruel irony, the mere concept of walls now divides people more thoroughly than any structure of brick or stone. For every person who sees a wall as an act of oppression, there is always another urging the construction of newer, higher, and longer barriers. The two sides hardly speak to each other.
As things turned out, it was the not the beer or the birthday parties that connected the past to the present in northern England. It was the wall. We can almost imagine it now as a great stone timeline, inhabited on one end by ancients, on the other by moderns, but with both always residing on the same side facing off against an unseen enemy. If I couldn’t see that in 2002, it was only because we were then still living in an anomalous stage in history and had somehow lost our instinct for something that has nearly always been a part of our world.
How important have walls been in the history of civilization? Few civilized peoples have ever lived outside them. As early as the 10th millennium BC, the builders of Jericho encircled their city, the world’s first, with a rampart. Over time, urbanism and agriculture spread from Jericho and the Levant into new territories: Anatolia, Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Balkans, and beyond. Walls inevitably followed. Everywhere farmers settled, they fortified their villages. They chose elevated sites and dug ditches to enclose their homes. Entire communities pitched in to make their villages secure. A survey of prehistoric Transylvanian farming villages determined that some 1,400 to 1,500 cubic meters of earth typically had to be moved just to create an encircling ditch — an effort that would have required the labor of 60 men for 40 days. Subsequently, those ditches were lined with stone and bolstered by palisades. If a community survived long enough, it might add flanking towers. These were the first steps toward walls.
The creators of the first civilizations descended from generations of wall builders. They used their newfound advantages in organization and numbers to build bigger walls. More than a few still survive. We can estimate their heights, their thicknesses, their volumes, and their lengths. But the numbers can only tell us so much. We will always learn more by examining the people who built the walls or the fear that led to their construction.
And what about these fears? Were civilizations — and walls — created only by unusually fearful peoples? Or did creating civilization cause people to become fearful? Such questions turn out to be far more important than we’ve ever realized.
Since 2002, I’ve had ample time to reflect on the Roman soldiers who once guarded Hadrian’s Wall. They certainly never struck me as afraid of anything. Then again, they weren’t exactly Roman, either. They came chiefly from foreign lands, principally Belgium and Holland, which were in those days still as uncivilized as the regions north of the wall. Everything they knew of building and writing, they had learned in the service of Rome.
As for the Romans, they preferred to let others fight their battles. They had become the definitive bearers of civilization and as such were the target of a familiar complaint: that they had lost their edge. Comfortable behind their city walls and their foreign guards, they had grown soft. They were politicians and philosophers, bread makers and blacksmiths, anything but fighters.
The Roman poet Ovid knew a thing or two about the soft life, but he also had the unusual experience of learning what life was like for Rome’s frontier troops. The latter misfortune came as a consequence of his having offended the emperor Augustus. The offense was some peccadillo — Ovid never divulges the details — compounded by his having penned a rather scandalous book on the art of seduction. “What is the theme of my song?” he asked puckishly, in verse. “Nothing that’s very far wrong.” Augustus disagreed. Reading Ovid’s little love manual, the moralistic emperor saw plenty of wrong. He probably never even made it to the section where Ovid raved about what a great ruler he was. Augustus banished the poet from Rome, exiling him to Tomis, a doomed city on the coast of the Black Sea, 60-odd miles south of the Danube.
Tomis was a hardscrabble sort of place, a former Greek colony already some 600 years old by the time of Ovid’s exile in the first century AD and no shinier for the wear. Its distinguishing characteristics were exactly two: First, it was about as far from Rome as one could be sent. Second, it lay perilously close to some of Rome’s fiercest enemies, in an area that didn’t yet have a border wall. Like northern Britain, the region of Tomis would one day receive its share of border walls, but in Ovid’s day, the only barriers to invasion were the fortifications around the city itself.
Ovid suffered in his new home. It was one thing to live in a walled city, but quite another to be completely confined within those walls. In his letters to Rome, Ovid complained that the farmers of Tomis couldn’t even venture out onto their fields. On the rare occasion when a peasant dared to visit his plot, he guided the plow with one hand while carrying weapons in another. Even the shepherds wore helmets.
Fear permeated everyday life in Tomis. Even in times of peace, wrote Ovid, the dread of war loomed. The city was, for all intents and purposes, under perpetual siege. Ovid likened the townspeople to a timid stag caught by bears or a lamb surrounded by wolves.
Occasionally, Ovid reminisced on his former life in the capital, where he’d lived free from fear. He wistfully recalled the amenities of Rome — the forums, the temples, and the marble theaters; the porticoes, gardens, pools, and canals; above all, the cornucopia of literature at hand. The contrast with his new circumstances was complete. At Tomis, there was nothing but the clash and clang of weapons. Ovid imagined that he might at least content himself with gardening, if only he weren’t afraid to step outside. The enemy was quite literally at the gates, separated only by the thickness of the city’s wall. Barbarian horsemen circled Tomis. Their deadly arrows, which Ovid unfailingly reminds us had been dipped in snake venom, made pincushions of the roofs in the city.
The birth of walls set human societies on divergent paths, one leading to self-indulgent poetry, the other to taciturn militarism.
There remained a final indignity for Ovid: the feeble, middle-aged author was pressed into service in defense of Tomis. As a youth, Ovid had avoided military service. There was no shame for shirkers back in Rome, a city replete with peaceniks and civilians. Now aging, Ovid had finally been forced to carry a sword, shield, and helmet. When the guard from the lookout signaled a raid, the poet donned his armor with shaking hands. Here was a true Roman, afraid to step out from behind his fortifications and hopelessly overwhelmed by the responsibility of defending them.
From time to time, a Chinese poet would find himself in a situation much like Ovid’s. Stationed at some lonely outpost on the farthest reaches of the empire, the Chinese, too, longed for home while dreading the nearness of the barbarians. “In the frontier towns, you will have sad dreams at night,” wrote one. “Who wants to hear the barbarian pipe played to the moon?” Sometimes they meditated on the story of the Chinese princess who drowned herself in a river rather than cross beyond the wall. Even Chinese generals lamented the frontier life.
Oddly, none of these sentiments appear in the letters written by the Roman soldiers at Vindolanda. Transplanted to a rainy land far from home, they grumbled at times about the beer supply but had nothing to say about shaky hands or sad dreams. It was as if these barbarian-turned-Roman auxiliaries had come from another world, where homesickness and fear had been banished. Perhaps they had.
Almost anytime we examine the past and seek out the people most like us — those such as Ovid or the Chinese poets; people who built cities, knew how to read, and generally carried out civilian labor — we find them enclosed behind walls of their own making. Civilization and walls seem to have gone hand in hand. Beyond the walls, we find little with which we can identify — warriors mostly, of the sort we might hire to patrol the walls. The outsiders are mostly anonymous, except when they become notorious.
The birth of walls set human societies on divergent paths, one leading to self-indulgent poetry, the other to taciturn militarism. But the first path also pointed to much more — science, mathematics, theater, art — while the other brought its followers only to a dead end, where a man was nothing except a warrior and all labor devolved upon the women.
No invention in human history played a greater role in creating and shaping civilization than walls. Without walls, there could never have been an Ovid, and the same can be said for Chinese scholars, Babylonian mathematicians, or Greek philosophers. Moreover, the impact of walls wasn’t limited to the early phases of civilization. Wall building persisted for most of history, climaxing spectacularly during a 1,000-year period when three large empires — Rome, China, and Sasanid Persia — erected barriers that made the geopolitical divisions of the Old World all but permanent.
The collapse of those walls influenced world history almost as profoundly as their creation, by leading to the eclipse of one region, the stagnation of another, and the rise of a third. When the great border walls were gone, leaving only faint traces on the landscape, they left indelible lines on our maps — lines that have even today not yet been obscured by modern wars or the jockeying of nations for resources. Today, a newer set of walls, rising up on four continents, has the potential to remake the world yet again.
On this day, 10 August 1956, André Achiary, a former French military intelligence officer, alongside the Union Française Nord-Africaine terrorist group, planted a bomb in the Casbah, Algiers, which exploded killing 73 people. The attack was part of a brutal counterinsurgency campaign waged by France against the Algerian independence movement.
Pictured: French troops in Algeria
No Solution to Moroccan Sahara Issue without Consulting Morocco and without the Involvement of Algeria
Belgium Confronts Its Heart of Darkness; Unsavory Colonial Behavior in the Congo Will Be Tackled by a New Study - The New York Times
In February, Belgium admitted participating in the 1961 assassination of Patrice Lumumba, Congo’s first Prime Minister, and apologized for it. The motivation for the crime was to avoid losing control over Congo’s resources, but Belgium steadfastly denied any involvement until new evidence collected by a parliamentary commission last year confirmed the direct role of Belgian agents in carrying out and covering up the murder.
Now fresh light may be thrown on an earlier, still darker, period of Belgium’s reign over Congo. In anticipation of a major exhibition scheduled for fall 2004, the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, near Brussels, is sponsoring the first far-reaching review of Belgium’s colonial past, including the period from 1885 to 1908 when, as the personal property of King Leopold II, the Congo Free State is believed to have suffered violence and exploitation that cost millions of lives.
Guido Gryseels, the director of the government-owned museum, says the purpose of the study is not to pass judgment but to provide information about a neglected past. In addition, he says, the study will address more than the political aspects of colonialism. It will also look at the period through the prisms of Central Africa’s history, anthropology, zoology and geology, disciplines that form part of the museum’s permanent scientific mission.
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Yet the initiative is daring, since it raises the broader question of a country’s continuing responsibility for unsavory actions carried out in its name generations or even centuries earlier. These range from promotion of the slave trade and annexation of territories to colonial repression and ransacking of natural resources. Further, while the study is not subject to Belgian government control, it will be financed by the taxpayer, which makes intense public debate of its findings even more likely.
So far, no other former colonial power has shown an appetite for looking back with a critical eye, even though the colonial records of, say, the British in India, the French in Algeria, the Dutch in Indonesia and the Portuguese in Angola all contain examples of human rights abuses and excessive use of force.
Finally, under British pressure, Leopold sold Congo to Belgium in 1908. In 1919, a Belgian commission estimated that Congo’s population was half what it was in 1879.
’’A lot of very positive things happened during the real period of colonization after 1908,’’ he said. ’’Also, I don’t think one should look at the past with the moral standards of today. After all, early in the last century, children of 6 or 7 were working 17 hours a day in Belgian factories. We should look at it with the moral standards of those periods.’’
You, pourquoi suis-je tombée dessus maintenant ? Il s’est passé pas mal de bouquins depuis. Et la Belgique, après avoir eu la particularité de laisser faire les pires des exactions coloniales par un personnage privé (et privé de toute sa raison, qui plus est) semble réagir un peu mieux. Justement parce que c’est plus facile de dire que c’est de la faute de Léopold ? En tout cas, les États n’ont pas beaucoup mieux fait. Les Pays-Bas en Indonésie notamment s’en tirent sans grosses taches à leur réputation alors qu’ils ont commis des atrocités dont la destruction d’une société (de ses valeurs, de son mode de vie) n’est pas la pire.
Algeria and the American Black Panther Party
In the 1970s, Algiers served as refuge to African Americans who confronted US racism with force and had to flee the country. Some Panthers hijacked planes.
Assassinat de deux scientifiques palestiniens en Algérie
Dimanche, 22 Juillet 2018 - 20:56 - Nessma
Des sources médiatiques algériennes ont confirmé l’assassinat d’un scientifique de la famille Al Farra et un médecin de la famille Al Banna, sachant que les deux étaient Palestiniens, de Khan Younès au sud de la bande de Gaza.
L’ambassade palestinienne en Algérie a annoncé à la famille Al Farra à Khan Younès la mort de leur fils Suleiman Mohamed Al Farra (33 ans) et du docteur Mohamed Hameed Al Banna.
Selon les conclusions préliminaires des autorités, ils sont morts soit par étouffement soit par électrocution.
Le mystère entoure la mort des deux scientifiques.
Two Palestinian Scientists Found Dead in Algeria
July 23, 2018 6:52 PM
Two Palestinian scientists were found dead in an Algerian apartment, reports in Gaza said, on Sunday.
The two, identified as Suliman al-Farra, aged 34, and Mohammed Albana, a 35-year-old physician from Khan Younis, in the Gaza Strip.
According to reports, they were found in al-Farra’s apartment, and the Palestinian embassy in Algeria told the family of one of the deceased that the two died of gas inhalation or due to a short circuit.
Some Palestinian reports said that they were assassinated, but there was no confirmation from the authorities. Palestinian scientists and experts around the world have been killed, in recent years, in assassinations alleged to be carried out by Israel’s Mossad espionage agency.
However, local sources in Gaza assure that the two died as a result of inhaling butane gas, used for cooking, and not as rumored on social networking sites.
Algeria and the American Black Panther Party
As airline travel became more common in the 1950s and 1960s, hijacking planes also became a