You belong here

“Detention Center Schiphol East, Sunday 26th of October, 7 p.m.

“Some communication is going on there”“There’s some communicacation going onsays Martin.

Night has fallen over Schiphol Airport. The landscape is dominated by all sorts of electric lightning, securing the vision of the pilots landing their planes, securing the vision of the prison personnel guarding their prisoners.  All migrants waiting to be deported. A group of activists that had been sharing the feeling all day in the commemoration and the making of the tree, had decided to walk along the fence to greet the prisoners. Finally, after the rain had stopped, the inmates came out into the cage. Some 35 men were waiting for  us, a distance of some 30 meters and two high fences keeping us apart.
“No borders, no nations, stop deportation”, the favorite yell for these occasions. But this time the yelling and shouting turned into a real conversation.

We declared:

We are here.
We love you.

And we want to help you to break out and to break down this bloody prison,
because we know as well as you do that you don’t belong in this prison.
You maybe made a mistake to come here, but that is no reason to lock you up.

We listened to our brothers speak one by one, please…

My name is Mohamed Omar Cheikh, I am from Somalia, problem place. I am here one year now. They say they not take me back, they keep me one year. Somalia problem, fight, everything. I stay here. No free, no nothing”, and then he cried.
Mamadou from Chad.
Ali, also from Somalia. Also inside the prison for one year. They keep me for nothing.
Karimian, from Baghdad. Shlonek?
Mamadou, I do 7 months, I am from Chad
Imrad Khan, from Pakistan
My name is Sayed Hassan, I am from India, I am coming here before 9 months. “The motherfuckers say, you say you want asylum? I’m coming here, I want asylum. He keeping me here in prison. After he say you are not from India.”

What is the worst that happened to you in this prison?

Mamadou from Chad asked if he could speak French. Yes of course you can!

“Ma chambre sentait pas bien.” My room didn’t smell right. he moved to another cell, but he received no mattrass. So he slept on the ground for one month. He lost his hair.
“We were put in isolation for talking with you.” another brother told us.

And then Jo told them again what we had been doing outside the fence all day.
I want to tell you, we were all day here in action to make a monument for the people who dies here three years ago. And we want you to know that you have to fight for your rights to prevent another disaster. Good luck and we want you to be free!

We love you.

Solidarite avec les sans-papiers.

Freedom for all.

Een wereld voor iedereen.

Program of October 26, 2008

For more detailed information on the program of the 3rd Commemoration of the Schiphol Fire, see the Dutch version

Remember the dead.
Create new life.

The survivors are welcomed with coffee in the blue room of the Nicolaaskerk in Amsterdam by Theo Beussink. Today we commemorate our eleven killed friends by visiting the eleven wooden columns close to the fence of the Schiphol East prison complex.

Address Schiphol East:

Ten Pol 64
Oude Meer 64
1438 AJ

Participants either come by car or take the train to NS Station Schiphol. The meeting point is at Delifrance on Schiphol Plaza where participants are pointed to transportation towards Schiphol East.

Three party tents are set up to shelter from the rain.
‘Theaterstraat’ takes care of light and podium.
Warm food and drinks are provided by ‘Rampenplan.’

The program starts at 2 pm.

At 7 pm there is a sober gathering at the Hoofdvaartkerk in Hoofddorp where, among others, mayor Theo Weterings will speak. After this gathering a bus will go to Schiphol East to hand over earth. This bus drives back to Schiphol Plaza around half past ten at night.

At 8 pm three Linden trees (Tilia cordata) will be planted in the grass of the eleven people that did not survive.

We will continue till we finish our rituals, our art, and our connections.

We thank all the volunteers and artists that helped us organize this occasion.

Mary-Ann and Noury have made a mobile collecting-box where people are able to donate financially or personal letters to the absent. Including Miloud Fritass, Ahmed Isa and all the others we were not able to trace as of yet.

Additionally, we would like to give our solidary greetings to the people inside the prison complex and warn them that they are not safe there…

We ask participants, spectators and the press to embrace this ceremonial art project with respect and to avoid unnecessary disturbance. The authorities are informed and did not set conditions for this occasion.  We ask the police and marechaussee only to approach the survivors without uniform. Politicians are invited to make apologies and to acknowledge this with a handshake.

We would like to thank Jan Pronk and other members of the ‘Comite van Aanbeveling’ for their support and former mayor Ed van Thijn for his much appreciated advice.

You can participate on the Internet as well. Sound and images are streamed from M2M Radio.

The united survivors and M2M Radio would like to thank ‘Het Blauwe Huis’ for their hospitality.

Miloud Fritass is not allowed to be be with us today. Tuesday Jo van der Spek and Co van Melle will visit him in the Lelystad prison.

Compensation for Prison Block K (From Trouw newspaper)

Compensation for Prison Block K–Dutch State offers 10.000 euros for Schiphol Fire Victims
By Bart Zuidervaart
Trouw, Dutch daily newspaper, Saturday, October 25, 2008
Dutch version:

Sixteen survivors of the fire in the prison block at Schiphol-East will get 10,000 euros immaterial indemnity. This amount will only be paid to those who can prove demonstrable psychological harm due to the fire such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Counsellors of the survivors negotiated over a year with federal officials for over a year.
The fire in the detention centre that occurred on October 26, 2005 took eleven lives. The Justice Department also paid eight family members of the deceased a sum; the height of which the ministry declined to publicize. The ministry is still negotiating with three victim families.

Last year forty survivors were offered 1750 euros compensation, an offer survivors declined. For sixteen this amount is now raised to 10.000 euros. “It’s something, but nothing that excites me,” says P.Sonder of the Kloppenburg injury compensation firm. According to S. de Lang of SAP law firm is this amount the maximum. “In case people think they have the right to more, they will have to go to court — and that’s not easy.”

A number of survivors still negotiate with authorities. According to the federal medical adviser the psychological problems that doctors found lacked sufficient evidence. Survivors also claim compensation for material damage, missing income, being unfit for work. Likely, state officials will decline such claims. In 2006 most survivors got a permission to stay. The Trouw daily visited fourteen survivors three years after the fire. From these conversations a picture emerges of survivors struggling on a daily basis with the consequences of the Schiphol fire. Some manage to build up a new life. Others suffer from traumas. One of them confessed: “Amongst people we laugh, but when we’re on our own, we cry.”

Our pillars

To make a life again!

eleven migrants died in the Schiphol fire
eleven wooden pillars stand at the fence
what brought them together?

the dream of Europe’s paradise
the hope for a better life
the pursuit of happiness
what stopped them?
denial of access
denial of service

what do we do about it?
we show they were there
we show our grief
our respect
our pain
we share their struggle
we join their circle
we travel with them
we look with them
back to a life
that was
that could have been
and we take the pillars in our arms

Denmark calling: “Luk Lejren”

Luk Lejren (Shut down the camp!) is a Danish initiative of civil disobedience against the government’s inhumane asylum policy.
In Denmark, asylum seekers waiting for asylum are obliged to live for years in camps behind barbed wire. They can leave the camps, but must be back by nightfall. They are not allowed to receive schooling, they are not allowed to work – actually, they are not allowed to do anything. Continue reading Denmark calling: “Luk Lejren”

October 17th: Share the feeling

Madrid saw yesterday the first demonstration of undocumented migrants from Senegal,Morocco and other nations. They fight for rights, the right to live. We listen to them, thanks to our correspondent Ousmane Ndione. (French, Wolof)

dear friends

we can’t find the words to express what we felt last night. The power of the manifestation, so colourful, the slogans, de banners, the candles we lit, the yells capturing the sense and depth of words like “freedom” or “dignity” and the ability to be together on the streets.

Video Spanish TV

In Paris today the  governments of Africa and Europe sit together to talk about migration, about how to control the moves people make.

In Paris today and tomorrow migrants and activists from Africa come together in a counter-summit. We speak with one of them, Vincent .

Steve reports from Kinshasa. (French) and speaks with Mme.

And we do the Commemoration thing. And we are sure you do that to.

Together as one. Mbollo moi dolle!

Welcome Jennifer

(click here to listen to the full program of October 10th)

M2M Radio attended the 16th memorial of the El Al plane crash that hit the Bijlmermeer in 1992. Gathered around the “Tree that saw everyting”, the 200 mainly Surinam attendants find inspiration in the tree of life.  (Dutch)

Twaio speaks on the African Roots Movement as its general secretary. And he explains why they organize a memorial for Fela Anikulapo Kuti on the 19th of October from 5 p.m. in No Limits (Metro Ganzenhoef). And then we dance.

And we listen to  the memorial for Mike Osei.

Ferdous shows her model for the Tree. The centerpiece of the extended monument for the 11 victims of the Schiphol Fire.

Cherrak and Papa Sakho meet Jennifer, another victim of the Fire. She finally finds her brothers. She was next to the K wing, in D for Drugs… How far was D from K? (Mixed Dutch and English)

Pretty close.

We are all victims of the Fire.

Facing death.

Moet samen werken.

Als ik ben boos, ik praat Nederlands.

Nico Sharapov. Survivor of Uzbekistan and of the Schiphol Fire. (Dutch)

“Elf mensen verbranden. Kan ik ook. Verbranden. Die mensen wilden ook leven.”

Nico Steijnen, the lawyer chasing the minsiters for the Schiphol Fire needs the signature of survivor Cherrak to sue them at European Court level. Dutch law prohibits minsiters to be subjected to criminal law, when acts were committed in their political capacity. (Dutch)

Advocaat Nico Steijnen heeft in 2005 een aanklacht geformuleerd tegen de ministers Donner en Verdonk. Maar de Hoge Raad houdt vol dat ministers niet vervolgd kunnen worden voor misdaden in functie. Nico legt uit.

Nu wil Nico in beroep gaan bij het Europse Hof. Maar dat kan alleen als een van de overlevenden zijn handtekeningen zet onder de aanklacht.

Hij moet Cherrak overtuigen. Wat wordt hij er wijzer van? Wat is het verband tussen de aanval op Donner en Verdonk en de verdediging van het leven van de slachtoffers? Een dialoog?

And Selle Diop told us the news from Senegal, about a man who was deported by Italy two years ago. He got crazy and killed a girlf of 11. You may read the story in the french newspaper Soleil.

Mixed Feelings

(click on the arrow to listen to the full program of October 3rd)

De Bijlmerramp van 1992, de Schipholbrand van 2005 en de dood van Mike Osei op 4 oktober 2007. Wat is de overeenkomst?

The plane crash on the Bijlmer on the 4th of Oct. 1992, The Schiphol Fire of the 26th of Oct.2005 and the death of Mike Osei on the 4th of Oct. 2007. What is the connection?

Ibrahim Benai cannot make it to the commemoration, he is going to see his mother in Algeria. (Dutch, French).

Bart Zuidervaart (Trouw) interviews Papa Sakho… He will publish a 4 page article on the aftermath of the fire. Where are the survivors of K?

Cherrak is back! (Dutch)

Radio Teranga

Charlie Dillinger Souare in Dakar (Wolof)

Selle Diop (Wolof, French)

Bubakar Cissé, manager of the International Agricultural Fair of Dakar. Vive la cooperation international! (Wolof, French)

Steve, correspondent in Kinshasa (French)

Olayinka Fatoba on the phone. Let’s get together and find consolation.

Dank je wel Graciano voor de sleutel. Muppy, don’t forget to gimme back mine… De bus van CIVIC en UCstation staat voor de Family. Maar hoe lang gaat dat goed? Michel stapt binnen. Multiculti gedoe alom. Het wordt hier toch niet Lelystad? Samen of knokken, that’s the question. For CIVIC toch. Ferdouz is happy. Piet too, to bring food from the Toko. Hot and spicy Roti’s. Bart the reporter arrived. Ferdouz disappeared to fetch her foto’s. Andrea worked too hard.. and gets a good beating. Where is Ricky? Herman Wouters took photo’s, with a camera covered in duck tape. Continue reading Mixed Feelings