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Slovenija 1 5.11.2015 (Borut Krajnc)
Border monitoring

‘No-mans land’

In the last week(s) there has been an establishment of the ‘official corridor’ through the so called Balkan route. This intergovernmental agreement’s aim is to control the flow of people who are fleeing for a better life in Europe. Even though it may sound as an improvement, for the better fluctuation of people, it is one of the steps of the development of the common European Union’s immigration system. The institutionalization of the corridor, which was before established by the constructive forces of incomming people and self-organized activists through the mutual struggle, means new forms of exclusive inclusion to the territory of the EU.

The aim of the so called official corridor is, as mentioned in the previous article, to let a certain number of people to the next country, where usually full EU member states (as Austria and Slovenia) hold a privileged position. This of course doesn’t always work as the number of people and their struggle to reach the desired destination is not manageble by such system. The reason for its establishment is always the discourse of security and liberal humanitarism of the EU and seperate member states. Political functionaries as well as repressive organs are saying, that if we don’t manage the flows well, it could come to the chaos and collapse of the EU. The only chaos in this case is the creative chaos of the incoming people who produce fear for the privileged economical and political castes that are responsible for the suffering of the wide majority of the worlds population.

Austria has put barbed wire around Šentilj/Spielfeld border (source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/04/austrian-police-barbed-wire-border-chancellor) for what it states ”in the name of the security of its population and incoming people (migrants, refugees etc. if you wish)”. Yesterday came also an unofficial report by the Slovenian national television that Slovenia already bought 125 km of fence (which costed 1,5 million Eurs altogether) (source: http://www.rtvslo.si/begunska-kriza/prvi-kilometri-ograje-naj-bi-ze-bili-v-drzavi/377908), but its government hasitates to give more information. Its army is already at the borders with full armed gear, helping logistically with the police, but until now changes for the Slovenias Defense law – that would enable the army to use the authorities of the police – are still not enacted (for more read: http://oplatz.net/2015/10/28/reestablishing-state-of-exception-in-the-eu-and-a-call-for-international-meeting-manifestation-and-solidarity-action-in-slovenia/).

Such countries fear that if the next country of destination would close it’s borders, it would develop ‘pockets’ in their countries. This means that incoming people would be stranded in their countries. This of course doesn’t stop in Slovenia or Austria, but goes all way back to Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia etc. A. Merkel and other EU’s technocrats on the privileged positions are hoping for a deal with Turkey to surpress and ‘filter’ the flow of people – as mentioned, to let selectively through a certain amount of people, whether to humanitarian background or economical interest, where we presume that the letter play the most important role. Merkel is also warning for the ‘potential wars‘ that could erupt at the Balkans if the upcoming countries close their borders, but one cannot fail to see the hypocrisy here. If we translate her words and recent EU policies in concrete material grounds this actually means that: ”we want a stable workforce, since the demographic downfall in the recent years in the Western European countries is producing financial deficits, and we don’t want wars in our proximity, whether on the EU’s territory or within potential member states in the Balkans. This is the hypocrisy of the humanitarian and ‘open handed’ approach by such politicians.

In the end of the post it is important to move to the happening at some borders.

At Preševo and Opatovac, according to activist from the Open Borders Caravan few days ago (2.11.2015):

#BERKASOVO / #BAPSKA / #OPATOVAC / #TOVARNIK – Exhausted volunteers are seeking help as temperatures are dropping below zero, and thousands of new refugees are arriving every day. They also need food, clothes, blankets, basically everything. If you have a way of bringing help across the border, please go to #Berkasovo, where lots of people are arriving on foot, without good clothes fot this cold weather. If not, bring it to #Bapska or #Opatovac.’

This is old information, so everyone planing to go there please contact self-organized groups who are on the field, to find out what is needed. The idea of this outdated quote is to inform people, that help is still needed.

What is needed here is a few words about the relation between self-organized volunteers/activists and ‘official’ volunteers (working under the umbrella of the NGO – such as Red Cross etc.). There were tensions at the Slovenian borders, since both groups started to blame eachother about what should be done and what the other is doing wrong. With the establishment of the ‘official’ corridor, self-organized volunteers/activists, who see the whole ‘refugee crisis’ as a issue of European discriminative politics – whether border, migration, neocolonial, capitalist to name the few, are prevented (or it least it is really difficult) to destribute different kinds of aid. We should not forget that in the past weeks it was them on the ‘Balkan route’ struggling along and supporting the incoming people to demand better treatment of the latter, not the official NGO’s who were waiting for the permission of their supperiors to allow them to do something, while people were freezing outside.

This is most visible at the ‘no-mans land‘ at Spielfeld/Šentilj Slovenian-Austrian border, where the legal framework is the most uncertain. Because of this people are trapped between borders, where they are denied of any aid, whether clothing, blankets, food or tea. Mostly only the self-organized volunteers/activist are handing such aid through the fence to people, where different stories are comming from them about the NGO’s. The latter are preventing them to do this, even though, what is proved by the activists at the borders, the NGO’s have alot of humanitarian aid at their warehouses which is not being destributed. NGO representatives are saying that it has to be equally distributed, otherwise it is a danger people will fight each other for food and blankets. The aim here is not to discredit the NGO’s, as they helped and are helping with the humanitarian aid, but to produce a call for them, that there are alot of holes everywhere that they don’t see or deliberately ignore. The other important thing is not to view the incoming people as somekind of barbarians that would fight for bits of food if it is unequally distributed. Precisely such discourse shows the latent xenophobia within the liberal humanitarian discourse.

The incoming people are far from that, as they have, along with the volunteers and activist, showed huge mutual solidarites and power to change and destroy the borders. Yes, there are individual or groups conflicts, but there will be more if people will be put in the concentration camp- or. lager-like conditions. We must not help the states and its repressive organs to manage the so called official corridors which are dehumanizing people to non-beings, but demand open borders for everyone so we can start to build a common Europe and world for everyone.

Useful thing for the incomming people:

http://www.refugeecompass.com/making-the-journey.html

Carterro (http://www.carterro.com/) is an app to assist with making the long journey.  It uses map based data and experiences of other refugees travels along the route.  Please note that detail in Carterro is for the Middle East only.

Updates on the Balkan route: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zJggLarUzmHE.kdSUXTxZDCm4

 

 


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