(Let Teeven ask himself: how much longer will he incite people to acts of despair?)
Do not let the thirststrikers die!
Since Sunday May 5th we know that refugees in the border detention centers of Schiphol and Rotterdam took action to require their freedom. For that purpose they decided to start a hunger and even thirst- strike.
The protest of the refugees wouldn’t be known to the outside if not just a few days after the start of the strike a solidarity demonstration of no-border activists passed by those detention centers. That happened at the 5th of May, the ‘day of freedom’ which reminds of the day when the German occupation during the Second World War was ended.
It is this connection of different happenings which brought attention to the fact that people are locked up under horrible conditions, suffering from the fear and insecurity of people that have just fled from violence, terror and persecution.
We, activists from the No Border Network, find it shocking that refugees in the border prisons don’t see any other solution than hunger strike or even thirst strike to break the walls of silence. This is why we support their fight by making this facts known.
This cannot go on!
In the detention center of Rotterdam twenty six persons are in thirst- strike. As Fred Teeven knows: this will lead to death within one week.
These people, who have no other future than to languish in prison without an end in sight and who are locked away in fear and uncertainty, choose death in the battle for recognition and freedom. There is nobody who could stop them. We would like to tell them: Don’t do that, choose for your life. But for what kind of life, they ask us back. We can hardly give a just answer: for a life in which you die every day, because the political situation wants it like that. That choice is not ours.
But to die from famine or thirst is not a choice!
The choice that the hunger- and thirst strikers made is the only way they can still have autonomy and agency over their own life’s. Nobody else can make that choice, no guard or manager of a detention center, no doctor in the medical tract and no activist standing outside in front of the wall with a sign. This situation is amazingly sad and we strongly hope that we don’t have to mourn over a death next week.
The power over this is in the hands of only two people: the thirst strikers themselves as long as they choose to surrender to deportation and imprisonment, or the Secretary of State when they admit that the policies they are keeping bring new victims every day. Moreover when the politicians, making and defending the policies, understand that they alone are the ones who can really decide on the lives of these people.
The politics of Fortress Europe that keep building its borders higher and stronger, are politics which can only be described as colonial politics of apartheid. People want to keep their privileges coming with a paper, namely their passports which they are given to according to their place of birth. This is why poorer countries and people are locked up outside. Alone the one’s which are producing and the people who can be used for the economy are welcomed. The deportation from people has surely nothing to do with a country being ‘FULL’ how it is often shout out. This is a false conclusion in order to bring the ‘own’ inhabitant up against the ‘foreigners’. It is not about a country being ‘FULL’, it is about the economic ‘UTILITY’ of people who are measured by their knowledge and financial position. There is space in this country: for prisons, for vacant office building. There is enough money in this country: for intimidation, repression, hunting and deportations.
Will the European capitalist countries choose their privileges and power over the people who are suffering or dying in the prisons and streets? Will people remain criminalized and deported because those countries choose to keep their in-human and unjust policies? We fear so.
And if we are very honest with a thirst striker who asks us whether he has to continue, we can only say that we are not able to decide that from our privileged position. Life is to them, so is the choice for life: Should they die of hunger or thirst? Or of illness, of a life on the streets, in prisons, on the run, or of torture or murder after deportation?
The No Border Network supports the demand of the refugees in the prison: freedom. The freedom to build a life. The freedom to live. Give the people their freedom. Before it’s too late!
No Border Network, May 8, 2013