Between Two Fires: A Migrant’s Fight for a Place in Germany

picture of a refugee protest demonstration in Berlin by Tobias Zielony
In dictatorships, where a prideful life is nonexistent and the nation’s wealth is owned and controlled by the ruler’s clique, young people suffer a suffocating atmosphere of systematic oppression for merely criticizing the regime in power. Faced with joblessness and lack of freedom of expression, some suppressed youths will seek legal and illegal emigration allured by the foreign media’s empty slogans of justice and freedom. I am writing these words out of a personal experience, being an illegal Sudanese immigrant in Europe. I learned the hard way that illegal immigration is not the answer, that is if the Mediterranean Sea does not swallow you first.
My dreams of a better life of opulence on the other side evaporated upon reaching the ‘old’ continent, where much struggle awaited me. Only European citizens enjoy the freedom and human rights vaunted by their media. For example, today Germany enforces a law similar to the Closed District Ordinance Act (active from 1920 until independence in 1956) — enacted by the British colonial administration in Sudan to impose strict restrictions on the issuing of passports and permits for traveling between North and South Sudan — which requires asylum-seekers to maintain residence in their assigned state. It is a law that goes against all international and humanitarian agreements. It is complemented by other stifling regulations such as the stipulation to obtain residency, which could take years, before applying for a job or a school. Asylum-seekers have been protesting in Germany for years, calling for the rights stipulated by international human rights laws. But be it to win the votes of taxpayers who are convinced asylum-seekers are here to suck their resources, or to indulge certain parties in parliamentary coalitions with blatantly racist policies against asylum-seekers and Islam.
Money talks in Europe, and it is loud in Germany, where capitalist powerhouses manipulate all aspects of life in this country including the affairs of asylum-seekers. That is why hundreds of asylum-seekers have demonstrated against the European and German laws on asylum-seekers. For example at Oranienplatz in Berlin-Kreuzberg, in which asylum-seekers occupied in a protest camp after they had marched from the South of Germany to Berlin to protest against the living conditions in the refugee camps, and the inhuman procedures of applying for asylum. The protest camp gave the movement power through visibility and put a lot of pressure on local and national politicians. The negotiations alas were not successful and in 2014 the police dispersed the camp. In a world where vile political and economic interests dictate the rules the struggle for a better life must go on.

Illegal immigration as a last resort to escape brutal dictators is extremely costly. Neocolonialism exploits the mantras of freedom, democracy, and human rights for the interests of Europe and the dictatorships providing it with their nations’ wealth. Consider the NATO’s involvement in the so-called Arab Spring, its forces assaulted Libya for the ostensible reason of defending the rebels while the international community watches wars of extermination take place in Syria and Darfur. The governments flaunting buzzwords like human rights and democracy seek nothing but to buoy up dictators to secure the flow of natural wealth to their peoples to maintain their prosperity. The colonization strategy birthed in Berlin in 1884 to divide Africa into states managed, or rather abused, for the benefit of Europe and the U.S. is still in action. The difference is it is implemented by means of starting wars and marketing weaponry. It is quite simple really – Germany is one of the biggest manufacturers of weapons and military equipment in the world, it makes all the sense for it to want to sell these weapons and equipment, so wars have to be waged in Africa.
The only solution is a radical revolution in all fields. Humanity will never grasp freedom until capitalism is defeated and rich men cease to direct the fate of the world. The revolution begins by uprooting all dictators clandestinely colluding to misuse their nations’ wealth and remain in power with the pseudo democracies of the first world.

Text by Adam Bahar who is a political activist from Sudan, currently living in exile in Germany and fighting in the refugee movement in Berlin, Germany and Europe.
All photos by Tobias Zielony, a German photographer who has been following the refugeement movement with his camera in the last years. Currently he is working on an exhibition project for the German Pavillion at this year’s Venice Biennial.