NoBordersMorocco and AlarmPhone have published the brochure VOICES FROM THE BORDER! A collection of articles, testimonies, analysis and artistic pieces denouncing the European border regime and its inhuman consequences. The brochure, written mainly by North and West African activists, reflects the situation at the Moroccan-Spanish border in the wider European-African context.
You can download the brochure (in English and French, some parts in Arabic and Wolof) here: brochure_voicesfromtheborder_voixdesfrontieres_2016
If you would like to have some printed copies sent to your city/social centre/group, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
After the raids, deportations and murders from the first week of October, the Moroccan authorities continue to instill terror in the migrant communities.
The majority of attacks has so far been concentrated on Cassiago (Ceuta) and Nador (Melilla) but Saturday a week ago (10th of October), the police started destroying the camps and personal belongings of the migrants living in Tangier.
Following the big raids and deportations in July, the migrant communities which used to live in the squatted houses in Tangier found themselves in the streets. Due to their resilience, those Tangier residents built themselves a life in the forests and fields around Boukhalef, see the situation here.
On Saturday, 10th of October), the police came to the “Cameroonian forest” at the entrance of Boukhalef (next to Aswak Assalam, the big supermarket), and to the little Senegalese forests next to the airport. They destroyed the camps, burnt the modest sleeping spaces, arrested and deported people, and made life for migrants even worse.
Here are some pictures and videos, taken and filmed by migrant activists, which show the scope of destruction.
(In French, with English subtitles)
What remains of the sleeping spaces and “bunkers”…
And personal belongings, spread around and ripped apart:
From now on, the residents of those camps are sleeping in the streets, dispersed, and without any means.
Since the evictions in early July, the housing situation in Boukhalef has been similar to Cassiago (Ceuta) or Nador (Melilla): most of the people live in the forests, without shelter.
Generally, not all Subsaharans are denied a room. But for the majoriy, it’s not an option because the landlords often ask for a at least 2 month financial guarantee – from people who have nothing, or even worse, they ask for a rent contract – from people who don’t have papers. Nevertheless, there are some houses in Doha and Miznana (2 neighbourhoods a bit before Boukhalef) which are currently overcrowded by Blacks.
Others live dispersed in several forests in the surroundings of Boukhalef. People spend their day on the streets of Boukhalef, looking for some little business (selling cigarettes, or coffee, or braiding hair) or they are begging.
Some forests are quite far away, so you have to walk at least 3km, and the living conditions are problematic. Continue reading
Some of us had the chance to meet Simon.
David Fidele, the direcor of “The Land Between”, wrote this short tribute to Simon which we want to share.
This is Simon – also known as “Rasta”.
I met Simon while in Tanger, Morocco, at the start of this year. I was walking the streets and he came up to me with a big smile on his face, to shake my hand and give me a hug. I didn’t immediately recognise him, until he told me that we had met in the Gourougou Mountains of northern Morocco last year – he was living in the mountains along with thousand of other Sub-Saharan African migrants, dreaming of one day entering Europe for a “better life”.
We went to a cafe to drink a tea together, and I showed him my finished film. He loved it.
Simon was from Guinea Conakry. He was an artist. A musician.
He showed me photos of himself playing music, and told me that all he wanted to do was to go to Europe to play music.
Now that will never happen.
I just received the news that Simon passed away last week. He drowned while attempting to cross from Morocco to Spain on a small boat, without a life jacket. It is being reported that over 1,200 migrants successfully reached Spain from Morocco last week. It is suspected (but not being reported) that up to 100 migrants also died while attempting this journey in the past week.
We put up walls. We put up barriers. And we think that this is a way to stop the movement of people. To stop migration. But it is not.
All it does it make determined people take incredible risks, which so often turns fatal.
Every migrant has their own unique story. Some are asylum seekers, fleeing war or persecution. Some are “economic migrants”, wanting to work to send money back to their families.
And some are footballers. Artists. Musicians. Wanting to share their talent with the world, and get opportunities that they can not in their own countries.
Simon just wanted the opportunity to play music.
I only spent a very short time with Simon, but I know that his character, personality and enthusiasm touched many people in his time in Morocco.
Here is a song that he recorded in Morocco called “Rastaman”, where his music lives on – https://myspace.com/diasporaguinea/music/song/rasta-man-95799271-106745656 (you have to stop the “advertising” first, and then press play to listen to his music)
Dans la partie des interviews plus longues, des personnes expliquent leur situation en tant que migrant essayant de passer en Europe au Maroc et de la répression à laquelle ils sont confrontés.
In these parts of longer interviews, people are talking about their experiences as migrants in Morocco trying to make their way to Europe, and the repression they face during this journey.
In this video migrants talk about their experienced violence at the Spanish-Moroccan border.
They blame the Spanish Guardia Civil for beating up migrants at the border fences of Melilla and Ceuta, using tear gas against people while they are on the several meter high fences and directly pushing back migrants from Spanish to Moroccan territory through small gates in the fences.
People tell about the Moroccan Forces Auxiliaires hitting migrant’s heads with rocks and iron bars.
The interviews were made at the 7th of April 2014 in Rabat and shown at a press conference of the platform “protection-migrants” at the 15th of April 2014, when different Moroccan human rights organisations demanded the “end of the violence against migrants”. (only in French)
Some migrants in Tangier, Morocco, the Sexion Doundou, started their own blog to tell about their experiences here and en route, and share their thoughts about life, borders, freedom and migration.
Sexion Doundou explained in their own words:
“Sexion Doundou is a positive thought. Because life can be two things. You either survive or you die. For now we are surviving, but we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Sexion Doundou is something we created between us, to bring unity and solidarity. We came here with the mission to cross. So this is the kind of thing we can do to give each other courage. Sexion Doundou resembles the good things we do, we want it to be something positive, a way we can talk to our brothers and make them conscious. That’s our mission and that’s what we are fighting for. Because we are all struggling to make life better.”
You find the blog here: sexiondoundou.wordpress.com
ARTICLE BY PAUL MASON of The Guardian
Ibrahim, from Gambia, paddled into what he thought were Spanish waters and phoned the coastguard, demanding to be rescued. They handed him to the Moroccan coastguard and he’s now in Tangier. Amadou, from Cameroon, had tried to scale the border fence into the Spanish enclave of Melilla. “The Moroccan cops beat us with their batons,” he says. He was taken across the border with Algeria, near the city of Oujda 75 miles (120km) away, and dumped there with 35 others. Now back in Morocco, he lives rough, in a forest, reliant on the local mosque for food.
Gathering testimony from these men, and others like them, is not easy. They hide in the slums and forests. They bear the trademark scars I have seen on destitute migrants on all the borders of Europe: scars from racist beatings; scars from scrambling across rubble to escape the police. They have the deep fatigue and torn clothing that come with a life lived mainly under starlight. Continue reading
Interview recorded in Tangier in the home of the survivor, and the former home of two people who died in the crossing incident.
All participants are anonymous and so are identified by letters here.
We (R and J) ask questions in English to “I” who speaks Wolof to “M”, who asks “B” (the survivor) in French. The questions are translated back via Wolof to English. The transcript below is only the English spoken.
If you can help with translation/transcription for the Francais or Wolof parts of the recording, please get in touch.
I: He says he will tell us everything even if another journalist is here he’s looking for international journalists to feed them the information, and these people are not working and how they maltreat the black people here. If they were working a lot of people would not die like this. They are not doing the job. Continue reading