Oct 132016
 

In the evening, I decided to go out and take a bit of fresh air, so I went to visit my friends at  #Bornitzstr102 Lager. Is not too far, and what they are going through there deserves some company and everybody to know. That people are invisible in a country just because is not their country, to be threatened permanently, to feel voiceless because there is no-one around , is something that basic makes me feel embarrassed. How can we turn our heads and look to another place, how can it be ignored the abuse on refugees, on extreme their fragile circumstances, for the sake of money, of profit, how can a country as Germany be so hypocritical and talk about a welcoming culture, when almost one million people are suffering on their daily basis.

This week I’m reporting what’s going on at #Bornitzstr102 but is just one of thousand cases. But maybe looking closer at it, it can be understood what means the psychological abuse at what refugees are submitted. As said I went to visit, to chat, to know what was happening since in the morning several incidents had taken place, the main one related on how the security men from the Lager went to throw out the women of the women’s room.  Also in the morning took place another incident, where security went inside of another room, and started throwing the things out of the room, but the people inside said they wouldn’t move, the security tried to provoke the people, with no luck, nobody reacted, so they stayed. It’s clear they are trying by all means, that people let themselves go a bit, to then accuse them of violence. When said by all the people I’ve talked to, there has been no violent incident between people living inside the Lager, at least the year+ they’ve been there.

Another meeting was about to take place, it starts to become quite hilarious the fact that the meetings are done between people that have no competence to change the current situation in the Lager, that is translators coming from Lageso, refugees and some person belonging to PeWoBe. They can talk as long as they want, the situation won’t be clarified, negotiations will not take place, is just to give the people the run around, tire them, lie to them, create confusion and fear.

The attitude of Lageso translators, is embarrassing,  people who’s task is supposed to be only, to transmit messages, not to build them and manipulate them.

First they simulate that they hear people’s complaints, that is, people who got a paper from Lageso on Monday saying they could stay in Bornitzstr 102 for the next two months, two days later, they find themselves in the list of people to be transfered to another Lager. So PeWoBe accepts any new registration (that means get the money for one person) and then throws out the person, so where is the money ending? and the person? where are the person’s rights? being on the list means not getting food, although not even people who are not in the list get the food, since due to having to go to courses or the school, they don’t have their food when they come back, which means that most of the people are only getting 2 meals instead of 3 (saving money, where is the money ending?) where are the rights of the people to get what they already have assigned?
Other person stands up and says “we are just money for you“, as he shows a 1€ coin, then there is a general complain about the heating, the Lager is cold, in between the translator says, well they are going to cut the electricity of the first floor, so you have to leave. Then another person takes the turn and says but I’m not in Lageso, I’m in the job center. Of course, no answer. A girl, one of the ones that were to thrown out in the morning, stands up and says, “My mum is old, she cannot walk too much, how can she go to a Lager where the toilets are 10 minutes from the room? how can she go to a place where she has to walk 15 minutes to the first bus stop?“. No answer. The next one says, but I have my school 10 minutes from here, how I move to a place where it takes me more than an hour to come here? No answer. (a side note, many of them have got a school to learn German or do an Ausbildung after 4-5 months fighting it.) Another turn says, we don’t want to go to KopenickerAllee because there are nazis around and we know they are attacking refugees. No answer. One key point in not wanting to move, is that some people get the complete amount of money from Lageso (~360€) ,that is the food is not deduced, this enables families to survive in some other country, without it, it would mean starvation for women and children back at home.

Some other interventions went on. But after getting no answers. The translators just kept repeating, as a mantra, you have to leave, you have to leave, you have to leave. Leave to where and why?, if it was clear Lageso would not be sending people day after day to this Lager, if it was clear they would be able to issue a document specifying the transfer, if would not say to people that they are lying when they are telling that they are getting no food. As people continued asking, protesting and saying they won’t move from Bornitzstr102, the translaters attacked again by saying, if you don’t leave, it will affect you asylum process, it can mean that you will not be accepted to stay in Germany. Then it came to me the disgust, no comments. Another hand was raised, No that’s not true, what happens here has nothing to do with our asylum processes. Then the translator had to rephrase what she wanted to say. But will this trigger  the fear of being punished just because they are just asking what is the reason of the transfer, why to certain people, why are people being cross out with no reason and others added with also no reason?

At the end of the session which seemed to be some kind of boss, that didn’t introduce himself, address to the people, and cynically, he said that he wanted that everything evolved with no violence, that they wanted a calm dialogue, and that for todays things would remain like that but tomorrow they will continue, probably he meant, they would continue harassing people.

Meeting at Bornitzstr102 with lageso translators, and PeWoBe staff from abriraqui on Vimeo.

 Posted by at 4:43 pm
Oct 132016
 

Now is one whole week, since the people at Bornitzstr 102 Lager have suffered daily harassment from the workers and management of PeWoBe company. The ways have been multiple, from the basics of not giving them food, to waking up early in the morning saying they had to leave and that there things would be thrown to the streets. Menacing with removing beds and blankets, to actually remove locks from doors, cut of light in rooms. Also large amount of meetings have been hold with management, Lageso delegation (officially they don’t recognize pressure or negotiations have been going on), there was only one mission, to transmit people living in the Lager, that the only option was to leave the Lager, to transfer to another Lager (by the way in much worse conditions and far away from the city center).

What is said “there is no other option”, it has to do with the fact that PeWoBe is in the middle of a legal fight with Lageso, to keep the management of the Lager, although the racist mails exchange between the bosses was made public a couple of months ago. So the decisions rely on the private interests of companies, while Lageso/LAF and the Job Center, institutions in charge of the well being of the refugees, just deny any possibility of action on behalf of refugees.

Whole week long refugees, have gone to Lageso and to Job Center to ask for an explanation of what is happening. Today, one person who went to Job Center, received as an answer “you have to stay until the end of the month where you are since your costs have already been paid“, to this, the person asked, “yes, but PeWoBe is throwing me out. In a moment of reaction, Job Center, tries to call Bornitzstr Lager, impossible to reach, none of the phones were working, no even the fax, so communication with the Lager was not possible. To that Job Center said, “you have to deal yourself with PeWoBe“. Also today, some other people went to Lageso, and also ask “what’s going on?”, the response was also, we don’t know, the only option is to transfer to another Lager, to which people opposed, since for the moment, only KopenicerAllees seems to be the only option, a crowded Lager with around 1000 people.

Meanwhile, inside the Lager, the harassment continued, this time, the women room was the target. Security from the Lager (6 men), a social worker and someone from the management, went inside the women’s room and wanted to force them to leave the Lager. As one women started screaming, the rest of the people in nearby rooms, run and gathered around the security. The question was “why do you want to force these women to leave?”, not being able to continue with the force eviction, the workers had the great idea of calling the police, so that the police threw people out. Police came, asked what was happening, if there was a fight or a quarrel or a strong discussion. None of that was taking place. Workers had to admit that there was nothing happening, an astonished police asked “then why do you call?”, workers answered “we want that you throw this people out”.

Securities trying to evict women using force #Bornitzstr102 #Berlin from abriraqui on Vimeo.

 

Police got annoyed and said “to move out people that have done nothing, is not our business, that you have to deal it with Lageso, Job Center …”, then they started taking the names of the workers that had by far exceeded their competences. And also the police asked the women, what had happened.

Also in the morning, the 4th and 5th floor have been opened, and families have been moved to the upper floors. In between new people are entering the Lager (it happens daily), with staying permission of 6 months, so, what are the criteria followed?.

As times passes it gets more clear, that everything is a mess, what is happening around Bornitzstr Lager is unclear, irregular, suspicious, there is no clear mandate from Lageso / Job Center of how the situation should be approached, and everything wants to be silenced.
In the background goes violation of human rights, corruption, business with human lives, indifference.

 

 

 

 Posted by at 8:25 am
Oct 122016
 

lager at Bornitzstr 102Are private companies, like PeWoBe establishing how to run the Lagers of asylum seekers and refugees? Who are the real decision-makers?

During 7 days, in the Lager at Bornitzstr 102 run by PeWoBE, 122 refugees are trying to avoid an eviction but there is only uncertainty.
No reasons were given to it but they were told to pack and go in 24h.
No official papers are backing up this decision, but PeWoBe is implementing it.
Daily meetings are taking place between the management of the Lager, some refugee speakpersons and supposed representatives of Lageso (officially Lageso ignores the negotiations taking place) to negotiate the current situation. Meanwhile PeWoBe is pushing LAF /Lageso to get people out of the building.

Refugees are asked to go to ICC / LAF – Lageso, where nobody can’t do anything, and just says “you must stay in the same place”.
Several sources assure that since Thursday Lageso cancelled the eviction, however PeWoBe has been threatening refugees with been thrown out.
Unclear negotiations with KopecknickerAlle Lager were taking place, so that they hosted the 122 expelled refugees. Does PeWoBe profit from that?
Officially PeWoBe’s contracts with Lageso were canceled on summer after some shameful mails were leaked to the press. Now PeWobe runs a legal battle not to hand out the management of the Lager while is still getting the money.

Meanwhile for the refugees: not food is distributed among 122 people, electricity is cut from their rooms, locks removed from their doors, some people are being checked and stolen by security.
After the pressured of social workers, supposed Lageso delegation, and management, finally some refugees decided to move out to Spandau Lager.

But is not enough, now PeWoBe is going to do new lists to throw more people out.

After one week some things become clear:

  • Economical interests are above human rights.
  • Private companies are the decision makers of how to run Lagers as well as beneficiaries from the business around refugees.
  • Refugees fighting for their human rights are being threatened,cornered and declared persona non grata.

Will fighting for human rights harm a person’s asylum process and integration in their new country?
Are people merchandise in the hands of politicians or corporations?

They urgently ask the support and attention of local and international medias and activists.

More information at

** http://abriraqui.net/2016/10/13/between-embarrassment-and-disgust-of-whats-going-on-at-bornitzstr102-lager-berlin/ (13.10.16)
** http://wp.me/p2LRSL-sR    (13.10.2016)
** http://abriraqui.net/2016/10/13/one-week-of-harassment-at-bornitzstr102-lager-berlin/ (13.10.2016)
** http://abriraqui.net/2016/10/11/after-a-weekend-of-tension-and-without-food-whats-next-in-borniztstr102-berlin-refugeeswelcome/ (11.10.2016)
** http://oplatz.net/support-in-front-of-lager-in-bornitzstr-berlin (10.10.2016)
** http://oplatz.net/another-day-at-lager-in-bornitzstr-102-waiting-the-police/ (9.10.2016)
** http://oplatz.net/122-people-are-pending-eviction-from-lager-bornitzstr-102-run-by-pewobe-refugeeswelcome-berlin/ (8.10.2016)

There is a refugee speakperson, please write to refugeeresistanceberlin AT lists.riseup.net to get the contact.

 Posted by at 4:02 am
Oct 112016
 

Monday came and with it, the stress of the possibility of being thrown out of the Lager, the place where many have lived for more than one year or at least several months. The eviction could happen at any moment.

At 7 o’clock the workers of the lager, started waking everybody up, they had to remove their stuff from their rooms, they even said they had to bring out the beds and blankets. Only astonishment came from the side of the people living in the lager, why should be treated like that?, they are just asking that decisions are communicated in advance, so that they can organize things, they just want to understand why in 24h they have to leave for no reason, just one reason, none were given until now.

The more close to a reason was when someone said, “well Lageso realised that is not really legal to have you so crowded, so now they want to apply the law, for their own safety”. As I heard this I really wondered if someone could really accept that as an argument, all lagers are not at any point fulfilling human conditions, crowed, with no good hygienic conditions, food is shit (literally), many times there is no medical support, social workers who are not really doing their job, no places for study, without talking about how they are many times treated with disdain, ignored, etc, etc. but the German government is paying lots of money to these companies so that all needs should be covered, but everything is just a bunch of business interests in all sides, except in the refugee side.

One of the facts of what is going on at Bornitzstr 102 is that PeWoBe has been asked to leave this management of the Lager and another company should take care, PeWoBe looks like does not want to give up, so now is a duel between companies. Maybe is good to remember the PeWobe scandal, I’ll just cite DW article from August 2016:

“Far beyond gallows humor
Now that the internal correspondence full of macabre remarks has merged, professionalism is the last thing that comes to mind in connection with PeWoBe. Via email, several senior employees discussed what they should do with a 5,000 euro ($5,600) donation.

A sandbox was out of the question because the residents “would quickly turn it into an ashtray or a local toilet,” wrote Peggy M, director of one of the shelters. Instead, she suggested getting a “child guillotine.”

Berlin minister Mario Czaja canceled the company’s contract
Oher employees sent her photos of guillotines and decapitated heads. Beheadings are so messy, another female colleague warned: “There’s always splatter.” They also discuss a crematorium for which they would award an environmental certificate because the waste heat “is used for a cause.”

“We’re so good,” the employee concluded, adding that the “maximally pigmented” refugees could do the cleaning up.

The email correspondence was leaked to the city of Berlin, and over the weekend, the media began to pick it up.”

And this company got the contract because of direct contacts with Berlin’s Department for Health and Social Affairs, that is called corruption, a word that in Germany is still not too used, but which is also full of.

So, although most of the people in the morning were decided to go to Lageso/Laf, to check what was going on and what were the possibilities, once they were out, some people that stayed ended up calling because the workers were starting to move their things out ( — you know “it’s their job”, they get paid to do anything the boss says –), so everybody back to the rooms to resist this way of being thrown out, like animals.

So most of the people stayed, but a group of people went to Lageso to talk and see what options were possible.
In between I got some more information of what was happening, they removed the locks from the doors and they cut the electricity of certain rooms. Of course still no food for those “in the list”, it does not matter if there would be enough or not, is just a question of punishment.

The rest of the day, was more or less “calm”, this calm tension of uncertainty, of feeling not worth even an explanation, knowing that somewhere there is legal battle to keep the business of a NUK, and that there is no political action to prevent this situation.

Inside, we were able to chat, have a cup of tea, and see some photos of how beautiful is Syria, talk about friends, family, differences in Europe, we are able to laugh, and enjoy despite the situation. Moment like this are better than gold.

At the end of the day, a couple of buses parked outside the Lager, and took some people to Spandau.

 Posted by at 7:48 am
Oct 072016
 

In the post from yesterday I was saying that maybe today (07.10.2016) in the morning they police would come and proceed with the eviction.

outside the LagerIt didn’t happen, but it does not mean anything. Early morning the employers from PeWoBe knocked at the door of people’s room asking them to move, to go out of their rooms, they said “No, we are not moving”. After some time, the day movement started and people went outside, into the garden or to the front door, they were not going any where. They will stay.

Today no visits are allowed inside the Lager, no friends, no press, nobody can go inside. So I stayed outside and met my friend from the day before, and then continued chatting with people that was around. There is an inmense need to talk, to be heard, to express how the feel about how they are treated, all of them agreed, “they treat us like animals“. The strategy of threating people, just causes one effect, they get angry and get empowered to resist, to talk loud.

One guy came to me and said, “I know you”, I answered “mmm maybe”, he started talking, they’ve seen enough shit in their lives already (this was a young guy, early twenties), 8 cousins of him got kill by one bomb in one day, what’s going to scare them?, they won’t move, that’s the common feeling. He continues “they are all bastards, they’ve threatened us with Haus Verbot, who cares!! I won’t move”, he also explains, “we are 122 people we can block a street if we have to stay outside”. After a while we remembered where we had met,  he is friend of another guy that I met in another Lager, small world and nice to see the connections.

A lot of movement was going on, people coming and going,  some women, the bosses of PeWoBe also were coming in, people really dislike them, they say again “they think we are animals”, but as many pointed out, “we are engineers, teachers, nurses,etc… we came here only because of the war”.

One of them tells me, he had lived in Turkey several years, he speaks Turkish, so he got a job in a Turkish restaurant, he works, he earns his own money, he does not depend on Lageso’s money, but he can’t get a room or a house, and in the Lager they don’t even keep the dinner for him, even knowing that he comes from work late.

Many are already in the Job center, that is they’ve been recognised as refugees, but nothing changes, another case, he has permission to find a room fro over 3 years, he was not able to get it, “what can be done? why do they tell lies to us?” he asks.

Inside the building people are talking, discussing what to do next, resist and try to stay or accept the transfer. The following video shows that atmosphere inside.

Refugees gathering inside Bornitzstr Lager from abriraqui on Vimeo.

 

The day is rainy, cold, disquieting. Basically there are no supporters, but there is some press, a couple of media. Let’s see if something can be done.

20161007_123748In between, Markus brought us some tea outside, it was sooooo nice of him, and it did us so good, after some hours, the cold gets really inside, the fingers start get rigid, from the feet comes the direct cold of the ground, so to drink something hot was great!

Now I’m leaving again to go there, later I’ll continue.

Back again, I’ll continue with what has been a long day. While being outside and drinking our tea, more stories and thoughts were said. Some of them were threaten in their countries by official army, daesh, etc, there was no way to stay, behind they had to leave a whole life, family, friends, jobs that made them happy. One day they just had to start to way to Europe, under a promise of the “German dream”, after the way walking, traveling by sea, continue walking through the Balkan route until reaching Germany. And now what? All placed in crowded Lagers, under bad hygienic conditions, given bad food, suffering the pressure of the manager, receiving little help from social workers (except very special cases, that end up resigning due to differences with the company running the Lager), not able to get a job, to get a house even if they are recognised as refugees, to study. In this Lager, what was the German classroom, that had a library has become a room for 12 people, and the German lesson inside the Lager were canceled.

As Markus says “we come from a physical war to a psychological war”. That is what Europe is doing a psychological war on refugees.

Another guy joins the conversation, he starts explaining the living conditions in Kopenicker Alle Lager. His face is so white that I have the feeling he can faint, he is nervous, very stressed because of what is going on, of how they are treated as animals. He starts describing the Lager where they are supposed to be transfered to, in each room there are 12 people, there are no keys in the room, nor in the lockers, “I don’t care about money or things like handy, computers, etc .. but I need a safe place to keep all my diplomas. I’m a computer engineer”, the toilets are outside the Lager, when they were there to visit, he needed to go to the toilet, there were 13 people queuing in the cold and rain. He continued, “inside is like being in a jail, is like Guantanamo. We are not animals, we want human rights not animal rights. That place is so dirty, it has not been clean since World War I”, he also explained that the Lager is in the middle of nowhere, it took 30 minutes to walk to the first bus stop, then another half hour to get to the Sbahn that after 3 station will leave you in the East of Berlin, which means that if you have to cross the city for any paperwork, attend classes it will take another hour at least to get to the final place.

woman from Lageso conving people to leaveIn another corner, while we were talking, the woman from Lageso (a group of people from Lageso have spent the whole day in the Lager trying to convince people to move to Kopenicker Alle Lager)  comes outside and people start asking why are they treating them like that, what have they done, why are they lying to them, there are two floor in the current Lager being renovated and finish, why don’t they just move them to the upper floors, why are people being transfered while other people are getting registered… a big amount of questions are in everybody’s mind. There is only one answer, you will have to move, you can do it voluntarily or by force. There is no reasoning behind, no arguments, no explanations, I guess they think why should they explain themselves to this animals, the logics of power and business, the big business that refugees are in Germany right now.

I feel sad to see and not understand why people, good people are treated like this, is the same story that repeats itself Lager after Lager, there is nothing new in any of what I heard, is just new the people that tell it. On the other had I’m happy to have got in contact with the people in this Lager, maybe to have found new friends,  today was a long day but a nice day, at the end of the day it was clear the the transfer would not be done nor today nor during the weekend, probably on Monday they will try again.

Sometimes people ask, but if we go what can we do? resisting means not moving, so “no action” is taking place, I will always say, just come and sit and chat with people that are resisting, let  them know that there are people who care about what happens to them, that they are human and we always can provide human warmth, accompanying is also very political.

 Posted by at 8:04 am