Tracing the footsteps: A diary of the project VI

The sixth installment of The Residual diary features stories from migrants living in Berlin.

“Even if you have a passport and a Schengen visa it does not mean that you won’t be subject to a police inquiry European airports. When you get off the plane from Greece in one of Berlin’s airports, you encounter 3 police officers there who discriminate against people with darker skin. While waiting timidly for them to choose you or the other one, he approached to a young boy in front of us and asked “are you with them?” pointing to the white skinned Europeans. After he says “no”, the police officer pulled him aside, and we passed by the control.”
“We joined in for a meeting with friends from the Revolutionist Migrants Movement, which is the most active migrant movement, and from Oplatz ( Bruno, who has been a part of the movement for many years, expressed time and again that one of the biggest problems they face is the way that mass media is being used bring attention to local movements in migrants’ home countries in order to splinter or stop them. Having migrated from Burkino Faso 20 years ago, Bruno says that the conditions that migrants faced in camps today are similar to those that he experienced when he arrived. After he had stayed 2 years in a camp many kilometers outside of the city, he obtained a work permit and began living first in Hamburg, then in Berlin. He has ceaselessly been working on political issues regarding migrants.”

“The Oplatz movement was named after the occupation of the Oranienplatz public square, which lasted for 18 months. Turgay, one of the pioneers of the occupation movement, recounts how during the occupation a group of roughly 100 people walked from city to city in Germany for the cause, increasing to 500 people along the way.”

“One of the achievements of the movement was the occupation of 200 migrants in an old primary school building in the city. In spite of initial attempts to resist, police raids to empty the building were partially successful. The migrants who continue to resist the raids have formed a new form of action, says Turgay, “Roof occupation.”

“According to Bino, who runs “We Are Born Free”, a radio station that broadcasts with the same frequency as RebootFM, the Oplatz movement strengthened the migrants considerably. While he was stuck in a southern town in Germany, he joined a convoy and came to Berlin. He changed his name, previously, Patras Bwansi which has a colonial meaning, and calls himself Bino Byansi Byakuleka. His story can be found here."

“One of the biggest threats around Kreuzberg is the urban transformation… The urban transformation projects that displace the older migrants have been happening all around Kreuzberg for some time. We found traces from the protests last week on Jakobstrasse near Oranienplatz: burned cars, luxurious residences with broken windows, spray paint, new residents peering at foreigners from their windows…”

The Residual project diary, written by Özge Çelikaslan and Alper Şen, will be continued from their next stop in Zagreb…

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