"in the law - no human" - a personal report on the BREAK ISOLATION Refugee Camp 2012
My personal reflection on the BREAK ISOLATION - Refugee Summer Camp 2012 in Erfurt
Me, Moema Petri Romao, who's just become 18 years old, was there this year. Four days, from 23th till 27th of August I have participated in workshops and discussions there. So I see, I had learned a lot about colonial injustice and imperialist oppression. But I did not learn it, by listening to an abstract lecture, but in the direct communication with humans, through the voices of refugees and refugee activists, who told their experiences made in the imperialistic system in the sessions.
We live in a society, which is parted in classes. We live in a society, which gives certain people privileges and others not. The privileged ones have the power and so they are in the position to maintain a system that is based on the oppression of migrants, workers, refugees, women and many others. We also live in a world, which is divided in „first world countries“ and „third world countries“. These categories refer to rich- or poorness. In a logical sense this can only be understood by the fact that the third world has ¾ of the land and people, but the most of the economic richness and wealth is controlled by the industrialized nations, who make just ¼ of the world population. We live in a world, in which Europe and the USA alias the industrialized nations have their fling, exploit resources and people, take and steal what they get in Africa, Asia, and South America to enrich themselves.
Wealth distribution in 2015, source www.worldmapper.org
In schools they teach and call it world history: The colonisation of Africa, Asia, Arabia, Latin-America through European powers. The separation of the continents and the willfairy drawing up of borders – all through the European powers. The “democratization“ and „civilisation“ of societies and structures of different peoples which had lasted and functioned for centuries - through European powers. It is the history of oppression and defamation of cultured peoples. What is left is a list of UN World Cultural Heritage. But the real heirs cannot derive benefit, because they were bereft of their cultural heritage and their own languages were suffocated in centuries of imperialism.
So, it's me, Moema. My father is from Brazil, my mother from Germany. I know my roots that reach deeper than my parents' generation. In my veins flows the blood of them all, of oppressors and oppressed. Therefore I am also a result of imperialism. I am rooted in Martinique, French Guyana, France, Brazil, Germany and – Africa.
But I don't know from where in Africa exactly. My ancestors came as slaves to Brazil and they were not allowed to contact their home countries and not allowed to live their cultural traditions. So the Portuguese colonizers stole our past from me and my ancestors.
What about those people, who now come actually, nowadays from Africa to Europe? The European exploiters first took their past, then they destroyed their present with agent's wars, starvation, poverty and environmental pollution and here in Europe they steal them their future: On their way to Europe they let them drown in the sea and or rot in lagers without any kind of status of acceptance and freedom, and thus push them into suicide.
It is a process of raising consciousness that imperialism has never seized, even if in history lessons thez teach us that it is an abstract historical term and belongs to the past: These abstract terms are part of now.
It is a process of raising conscious that these structures, which shaped the thinking of our ancestors and thus our own till today, still exist and have a long history.
It is a process of raising conscious that we cannot wait to live our human rights only because they were promised to us from the „top“. Finally they are called „natural“ rights, as something which is by nature to everybody.
It is a process of raising conscious, to see, that the wars which we fight with other „nations“ as well as the hatred and the borders between nationalities are mainly a result of imperialism.
Imperialism, colonialism, capitalism are systems of oppression and exploitation of many by few. So we have to solidarize with each other if we want to hold on these fights against these structures. We have to understand these structures of the past and the present and the connection between our experiences and those of others.
I know I am just scratching on the surface. But I realized that there is a lot under it. This is a chewy mass and to interpenetrate and to break it, it sucks a lot of strength. But: I am thirsty and I can see your thirst in your eyes, too. For change, for movement and for future. As chewy and dark the clump is, the movement of the “Caravan” and “The Voice” have – in a many years lasting struggle – set off in the right direction. At the end the many united hands of all of our friends have become strong fists to destroy the isolation!
Here is a poem, that expresses my impression of the borders of europe, asylum law and our empowerment.
on the ocean
sunken in ruins
in the law
let the water flow
to catch the fire
tiredness is human
work is hard
sink in the ocean
on the ruins
is water flowing
humans are drinking
because in the law