[Marxism] Towards liberation from the camp in The Netherlands

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at tomaatnet.nl
Sat Feb 28 21:53:10 MST 2004


A 35-strong group of rejected asylum seekers called "A Long Walk to Freedom"
(recalling the title of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela's book, and the Chinese
national liberation war)  is on a 234km "long march" from Groningen in the
far north of The Netherlands to the Parliament Building in The Hague, in
protest against the hard-line deportation policy introduced by Dutch
Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk. Whereas about 2,000
asylum seekers waiting for five years or more for their immigration
applications to be processed will get permits, as well as 200 people whose
cases are "distressing" (they would suffer dangers or severe hardships if
sent back), another 26,000 are due to be expelled.

Apart from the long distance, the marchers were also confronted with snow
and ice-cold winds. "We want to show the minister, that we are willing to
endure pain in order to be allowed to stay," Massoud Djabani said on Friday.
"More people will join us along the way. Everyone agrees that the minister
has handled this matter incorrectly as there are far more than the 200
"distressing" cases she has recognised."

The new tough deportation policy was criticised in the international press,
and Human Rights Watch says some people could be killed if deported - it is
ridiculous to deport families who have had settled lives and jobs for years
in The Netherlands. On 19 february artists from Friesland Province unveiled
a large artwork in front of Parliament Buildings protesting against
deportation. In Groningen there was a torch wake, on 15-18 march there's a
bus campaign and on 10 April a demonstration in central Amsterdam. The
Autonomist Centre in Amsterdam has sent a letter to private firms outsourced
to deport migrants, and have appealed to airline companies to take a
position against deportation.

Manwhile, Rotterdam will take possession of the first prison ship in the
Netherlands soon. The floating detention centre will become home to illegal
immigrants awaiting deportation, as well as repeat offenders. The mayor said
 the ship was needed because the city had a severe shortage of cells. The
Justice Ministry awarded 2.3 million euro extra to the court system in
Rotterdam, because of the increasing number of cases being dealt with.

Among 2,500 people protesting in front of the Dutch Parliament against
deportations earlier this month was an asylum seeker who actually had sewed
his eyes and mouth shut. Jan de Wit of the Socialist Party (SP) and Marijke
Vos of green-left GroenLinkswere also there. All MPs were given a red heart
by the protestors. On behalf of the group Heartfelt Pardon, MPs were also
given a book on how to integrate in Dutch society.

Meanwhile in Iraq, the Dutch army arrested ten Iraqi's on Saturday morning
suspected of armed attacks, and the murder of a Spanish major, said military
spokesman Bart Visser. Three weeks ago, the Dutch army had also arrested
another 20 Iraqi's. Bart Visser said the arrests showed that the military
were not being disoriented by the political controversy in The Hague about
how to deal with violence in Iraq. Unemployment in Holland is predicted to
increase by 95,000 people this year, primarily low-educated people aged 40+.

Some of us are illegal, and others not wanted
Our work contract's out and we have to move on
But it's six hundred miles to that Mexican border
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.

A sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos canyon
Like a fireball of lightning, it shook all our hills
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says they are just deportees.

Good-bye to my Juan, good-bye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria
You won't have a name when you ride the big air-plane
And all they will call you, will be deportees.

- Arlo Guthrie, "Deportees"










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