“Then take a vacation there!” – Protest against deportations to the most unsafe country in the world

Stopping deportations to Afghanistan – a demand that has been made repeatedly by society since December 2016. At that time, a deportation plane took off for Kabul for the first time in Germany. The protest against deportations to this destination country is organized and supported by a broad spectrum of actors. Church representatives have spoken out against the deportations, as have politicians from the Left and the Greens, including the SPD, activists, refugee councils and other NGOs, and last but not least self-organizations of Afghan refugees.

 

However, the Federal Ministry of the Interior under Horst Seehofer has not stopped the deportations. Even the pandemic has not put an end to it and so the next plane is already scheduled to leave next Tuesday. This time from Leipzig/ Halle. Here, the Action Network Protest LEJ demonstrated on Saturday on the market square. About 300 people had gathered, with two bicycle demos from the east and west of Leipzig traveled numerous Demonstrant*innen. The hoped-for image, as the bicycles streamed into the marketplace along with red paper kites, worked. For kite flying is an Afghan tradition that the Taliban forbid where they rule.

And in other cities in the Federal Republic of Germany, too, people took to the streets and brought home-made kites. In Berlin, Cologne, L├╝beck, Munich, other cities were mobilized under the hashtag #Afghanistannotsafe. Maxi Funke from Protest LEJ explains, “The coordinated day of action has become necessary. Nationwide we signal that enough is, for a long time! So far, 1,035 people have been deported from the Federal Republic, so there must be protest in as many cities as possible. And practical solidarity.” she adds.

Mohammad Okasha, freshly elected to the Migrant*innenbeirat of the city of Leipzig, also spoke at the rally. “I would like to say to an employee of the foreigners authority: ‘If you think Afghanistan is so safe that you deport people there, then take your family and go on vacation there!” The struggle for the right to stay is existential, his speech makes that clear. Okasha speaks from his own experience; he himself had to fear deportation from Leipzig for over a year. A look at the fate of people who were deported to Afghanistan shows what is at stake. At least one person committed suicide, another became the target of a bomb attack. Some flee again. To Iran, for example; many people of Afghan nationality were born there. Others are already back in Europe. What tragedies the deportation machinery produces, that it is racist and violent, resounded several times to the guests in the cafes and restaurants around the Leipzig market. And that deportations are also a business.

This was made clear by a representative of the group NoBorder Assembly, who came from Berlin. In a comprehensive research, the group has investigated the airlines that provided aircraft and crew for collective deportations in 2020. The Spanish airline “Privilege Style”, which has been co-responsible for the last nine deportations to Afghanistan, stands out in particular. The campaign #AllPrivilegeNoStyle draws attention to the fact that companies also make profits from deportations.

The intensive demo with speeches and live music could not be interrupted by the rain. In this sense, the representative of Protest LEJ announced: “We will not stop until no one is deported to Afghanistan. We will not stop until no one is deported at all! Because: until we can choose where we are born, until then the world belongs to everyone! Afghanistan is not safe! So: what do we want? Stop deportatons! When do we want this? Now!” On June 8, when another plane to Afghanistan takes off, protest LEJ want to demonstrate again. This time at the designated deportation airport Leipzig/ Halle, the vigil starts 19 clock. / MG Translation SO