A testimony about Bornitzstr.102 Lager: between embarrassment and disgust

originally posted here.


Last evening I decided to go out and take a bit of fresh air, so I went to visit my friends at #Bornitzstr.102 Lager. It is not too far and what they are going through deserves some company and everybody to know. That people are invisible in a country just because it is not their country, being permanently threatened, feeling voiceless because there is no one around is something that basically makes me feel embarrassed. How can we turn our heads and look away, how can we ignore the abuses going on against refugees when they are in these extremely fragile circumstances and for the sake of money, of profit? How can a country like Germany be so hypocritical and talk about a welcoming culture when almost one million people are suffering on daily basis?

This week I am reporting about what is going on at #Bornitzstr102, which is just one of thousands of cases. But maybe by having a closer look at it, it can be understood what psychological abuse means and what refugees are being submitted to. As I 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 to how the security men from the Lager went to throw out the women of the women’s room.  Also in the morning another incident happened when security went inside of another room and started throwing the belongings of someone out of the room. The reaction of the people inside was to say they wouldn’t move. The security tried to provoke the people with no luck because nobody reacted, but simply stayed. It’s clear that they are trying by all means to provoke a reaction for then later accuse the people of violence. When said by all the people I’ve talked to, there has been no violent incident between those living inside the Lager during the year+ they’ve been there.

Another meeting was about to occur and it starts to become quite hilarious the fact that the meetings are done between people who have no competence to change the current situation in the Lager, that is translators coming from Lageso, refugees and some persons from the PeWoBe. They can talk as long as they want, the situation won’t be clarified, negotiations will not take place. All 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 whose task is suppose to be only to transmit messages, not to build them and manipulate them.

First they pretend to 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 transferred 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 been assigned to get?
Other person stands up and says “we are just money for you“, as he shows a 1€ coin, then there is a general complaint about the heating, the Lager is cold. Meanwhile says 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 those threatened with eviction 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 for it.) Another turns and says, “we don’t want to go to Kopenicker Allee 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€) ,to which the food is not deduced enabling families to survive in some other country. Without what it would mean starvation for women and children back at home.

Some other interventions went on. Never getting any 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 produce a document specifying the transfer, as saying to people that they are lying when they tell about not getting food. As people continued asking, protesting and saying they won’t move from Bornitzstr102, the translators 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 only 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 either no reason?

At the end of the session, someone who seemed to be a kind of boss and didn’t introduce himself, addresses to the people and cynically says he wanted that everything evolved with no violence, that they wanted a calm dialogue and that for the day things would remain like that, but that tomorrow they would continue, probably meaning that they would continue harassing people.

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


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