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No. 12 2016

Voices on Asylum and Migration


Indhold / Content

Editorial / Leder / / Who Is a Refugee? - Ali Ali Asyllejre i Danmark 2016 - Kirstine Nordentoft Mose, Thomas Elsted og Beata Hemer Nr. 56 My name is Ekaterina - Ekaterina Lemonjava Protector - Mads Holm At brænde strædet - Lise Olivarius Waiting for Asylum - Reem Zakzouk Underground Revolution - K. S., a Syrian writer in Sweden Keeping Warm in Cold Country - Kristian Vistrup Dagens ret i Udrejsecenter Sjælsmark - Paula Nimand Duvå From Sjælsmark Deportation Center - Paula Nimand Duvå and Nicoline Sylvest Simonsen Lucky Day - Liv Nimand Duvå Lesvos, November 2016 - Paula Bulling and Borderspace(s) ICARH and the plight of LGBTs in Nigeria - Loke Bisbjerg Nielsen Indtryk fra grænsen mellem Serbien og Kroatien - Beata Hemer, Frederik Johannison, Kirstine Mose, Lise Olivarius, Nanna Hansen og Paula Bulling BORDER - a collective poem collected by Liv Nimand Duvå Anbefalinger / Recommendations - Patrick, Liv Nimand Duvå and Adam Qvist With Teeth and Nails: Walking the Routes of the Displaced Here and There, Athens–Copenhagen - Christina Thomopoulos and Eleni Tzirtzilaki Når vi vågner sover verden - Mohammad Reza Qasemi

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Kolofon / Colophon

visAvis no. 12

Cover

Kontakt / Contact

Ali Ali (editor) Katrine Skovgaard Lise Olivarius (editor) Liv Nimand Duvå (editor) Louise Jeppesen (editor) Mia Mone (editor) Mohamed Hirabe Mohammad Reza Qasemi Naser Abdallah Nicoline Sylvest Simonsen (editor) Patrick Paula Nimand Duvå (editor) Paul T. Cox (editor) Rasmus Brink Pedersen Sylvester Roepstorff (kasserer)

Paula Bulling, fra grænsen mellem Serbien og Kroatien, september 2015 / from the border between Serbia and Croatia, September 2015.

Thoravej 7, 2400 Copenhagen NV www.visavis.dk visavis.contact@gmail.com

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Design & Layout: Casper Øbro

Print Specialtrykkeriet Viborg

Bank Info

Bank account/Bankkonto Jyske Bank Reg. Nr.: 7851 Kontonr.: 3285805 CVR-nr.: 33788827 IBAN: DK4978510003285805 SWIFT: JYBADKKK ISSN: 1904-528X

Tak til / Thanks to

Josh Morrison Katrine Grønbæk Spencer Gross Yildiz Arslan Jack Kavanagh Ro Ebbesen Line Høeg Skov Ditte Christensen YNKB (Ydre Nørrebro Kultur Bureau) The Trampoline House Migrationspolitisk Pulje

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About visAvis

Om visAvis

visAvis is a magazine on asylum and migration, the movement of people across borders and the challenges connected to this. We work to improve the debate on asylum and migration, among other things by publishing texts that people seeking asylum want to share. visAvis is an activist project where people with and without citizenship in Denmark meet to create an alternative public space and debate. visAvis is also a web magazine.

visAvis er et tidsskrift om asyl og migration, menneskers bevægelser over grænser og de udfordringer, der er forbundet med dette. Vi arbejder for at forbedre debatten omkring asyl og migration ved bl.a. at bringe tekster af folk, der søger asyl. visAvis er et aktivistisk projekt, hvor folk med og uden statsborgerskab i Danmark mødes om at skabe en alternativ offentlighed. visAvis er desuden et webmagasin.

See more on www.visavis.dk and follow us on Facebook.

Se mere på www.visavis.dk og følg os på Facebook.

Support visAvis

Støt visAvis

visAvis is free. We are happy to receive any donation on our account: Reg. Nr. 7851 Account number. 3285805 IBAN: DK4978510003285805

visAvis er gratis. Vi modtager med glæde donationer på vores konto: Reg. Nr. 7851 Kontonr. 3285805 IBAN: DK4978510003285805

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Som om krisen ikke var her allerede Kære læser, Det er nu over halvandet år siden, at sidste nummer af visAvis udkom, og meget er sket siden. Ikke mindst med den måde, vi taler om migration på. Begrebet ”flygtningekrisen” er blevet en fast del af vores ordforråd. Altid i ental og altid underforstået, at det relativt større antal mennesker, der er kommet til Europa østfra og sydfra i løbet af de sidste to år, udgør en krise for Europas nationalstater. Som om de under 0,2 % af Europas befolkning disse mennesker udgør, reelt er en krise for planetens rigeste verdensdel. Som om midlerne og løsningerne ikke kunne findes, hvis den politiske vilje fandtes. Man fristes til at parafrasere Athena Farrokhzad: Som om krisen ikke var her allerede. Der er absolut krise i Europa. Men krisen er hegn og hotspots, grænsekontrol og manglende solidaritet. Den er ikke pludselig opstået. De seneste statslige panikreaktioner på migration udgør ikke et paradigmeskift; de fortsætter de strukturer, der muliggør de europæiske nationalstaters racistiske politikker, ikke mindst den danske. De første billeder af folk, der til fods krydsede den dansk-tyske grænse, ramte forsiderne i starten af september 2015. Flygtningekrisen er kommet til Danmark, lød det. Som om det var første gang, nogen entrede Danmark på uautoriseret vis. Som om masser af mennesker ikke har siddet isoleret i lejre i årevis eller er blevet tvangsudvist til krig og forfølgelse. Men måske det netop var synligheden, der var ny, og ny var også den brede folkelige solidaritet, der hurtigt opstod. Nye alliancer blev dannet, der blev begået civil ulydighed i stor skala, og i et glimt stod folk sammen og trodsede stats-

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magten. Men de spontane udbrud af solidaritet forvandlede sig desværre aldrig til nogen holdbar politisk bevægelse. Ingen stemmer i den offentlige debat fik udfordret præmissen om, at det udelukkende skulle handle om at hjælpe flygtninge i en ekstraordinær situation. Flygtningekrisens logik, med andre ord. Der har været højlydt kritik – endda international fordømmelse – af smykkeloven. Og der er også blevet protesteret mod Inger Støjbergs seneste idé om, at Danmark ikke længere skal modtage kvoteflygtninge. Men resten af de 34 asylstramninger fra sidste efterår har fået mindre opmærksomhed, og mere alvorligt er, at kritikken har begrænset sig til appeller om humanitær nødhjælp, medmenneskelighed eller (over)statslige rettigheder. Den har ikke handlet om retfærdighed. En strukturel, systemisk kritik er udeblevet. Det er bestemt både vigtigt og nødvendigt at kæmpe for, at folk på flugt fra krig får den hjælp og beskyttelse, de har brug for og ret til. Men det må ikke ske på bekostning af andre, der krydser grænser. Når der udelukkende tales om flygtninge, tales der samtidig ind i den diskurs, der i de seneste par år har sat flygtninge og migranter over for hinanden som modsætninger. Her forstås flygtningen som legitim, mens migranten forstås som illegitim. Flygtningen defineres her i allersnævreste forstand, både juridisk og retorisk: Som et offer, helst forarmet, der ikke må eje smartphones eller være veltrænet og skal komme fra helt bestemte, ganske få, krigsramte nationer. Hvor migrant tidligere blev brugt som fællesbetegnelse for enhver, der krydser en grænse, betegner migrant i dag en suspekt velfærdsnasser drevet af økonomisk grådighed og bekvemmelighed. Vi er ikke de første til at påpege, at ordene har skiftet betydning. Men hvordan gøre modstand, når xenofobien tager ordene ud af munden på os? Når sproget, vi kan bruge til at yde fælles modstand, også er det sprog, der fjerner os fra hinanden? Vi må prøve ikke at reproducere sprogets

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fjendske polariseringer. Herskerens redskaber vil aldrig kunne rive herskerens hus ned. visAvis vil forsøge at reappropriere termen migrant for at agitere for retfærdighed for flygtninge såvel som for alle andre migranter. Vi taler ikke om migranter for at udviske forskelle mellem forskellige grupper, men for at fordre solidaritet på tværs af skel og insistere på alles ret til at krydse grænser. Hvis visAvis skal kunne gøre en forskel, må det netop være ved at dyrke en sproglig opmærksomhed. Sproget er strukturerende for vores intimsfære, struktureres af lovgivningen, over alt må vi bære det med os. Det bliver blandt andet tydeligt i Ali Alis essay Hvem er flygtning?, hvori han bruger det anekdotiske til at udfordre gængse begreber om flygtning, flugt og tilflugt. Med næb og kløer eksperimenterer kakofonisk med sprogets og kunstens broer og barrierer. I digtene Waiting for Asylum undersøger Reem Zakzouk eksil og tilhørsforhold over for anerkendelse og retten til at eksistere. Lucky day skriver sig poetisk rundt om erfaringer af privilegier og identitet i mødet med bureaukratiske systemer. Spørgsmål om eksil, fællesskab og grænser af forskellig slags udfordres også i collagedigtet BORDER – a collective poem, skabt under en række skriveworkshops afholdt af visAvis. Noget andet, visAvis arbejder med, er dybdegående analyser som modspil til den hektiske nyhedsstrøm. Det er let at lade sig forblænde af det (tilsyneladende) akutte og spektakulære. Derfor forsøger vi at træde nogle skridt tilbage og sætte begivenheder ind i større sammenhænge, globale såvel som historiske. I en undersøgelse af litterær repræsentation af migrantfigurer og forholdet mellem migration og litteratur, tager teksten At brænde strædet fat i en romantradition om bådmigration over Middelhavet og påpeger dermed, at det ikke er et nyt fænomen. Spørgsmål om repræsentation af migrantfigurer tages også op af Kristian Vistrups essay, der anlægger en postkolonial vinkel i sine læsninger af grønlandsk litteratur og identitet.

Begrebet Europas flygtningekrise bør bestemt benyttes med varsomhed, men det betyder som nævnt ikke, at folk der kommer til Europa, ikke ender i dyb krise. To af nummerets bidrag zoomer ind på to af brændpunkterne i EU’s grænsezoner: En tegneserie fra Lesbos og en tekst samt fotoserie fra grænsen mellem Serbien og Kroatien. Desuden præsenterer vi et vidnesbyrd fra et polsk migrationsfængsel af aktivist og forfatter Ekaterina Lemonjava. Disse aktuelle kriser udgør ikke brud med Europas hidtidige politikker. Men der er ingen tvivl om, at der er sket en acceleration af en nationalistisk udvikling. Det bliver skræmmende tydeligt i en kortlægning af Danmarks lejre, der visualiserer, hvordan antallet af lejre er flerdoblet gennem de seneste par år. Forsker Leopold Lambert udfolder i et interview forholdet mellem arkitektur, vold og racisme i lejren som fænomen. Både interviewet og kortet peger på, at grænsen mellem lejr og fængsel efterhånden bliver udvisket. Det illustreres i al sin tydelighed af udrejsecentret Sjælsmark. I en fotoserie af kantinens tre daglige måltider samt et uddrag fra The Bridge Radios radioreportager belyses beboernes hverdag og stedets arkitektur. Med den selvbiografiske Underground Revolution får vi et levende indblik i en af Syriens oversete subkulturer, dens glæder såvel som dens farer, og et vidnesbyrd om oplevelser af en homofobi, der er lige så indlejret i Vesten som i resten af verden. En reportage om LGBT-politik i Nigeria minder ligeledes om, at der kæmpes mange kampe i verden, og at der kan være mange grunde til at søge beskyttelse i andre lande. I dette nummer præsenterer vi som noget nyt en sektion, hvor visAvis-kollektivet anbefaler film og bøger om migration. God læsning! Redaktionen

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As If the Crisis Wasn’t Already Here Dear Reader, Over a year and a half has passed since the publication of the previous issue of visAvis, and much has happened since. Not least in the way we speak about migration. The term ‘the refugee crisis’ has become a regular part of our vocabulary. Always singular and always implying that the relatively large number of people entering Europe from the East and South these last two years constitute a crisis for the nation states of Europe. As if the less than 0.2% of Europe’s population these people make up constitute a legitimate crisis for the world’s richest region. As if the resources and solutions could not be found if the political will was there. One is tempted to paraphrase Athena Farrokhzad: As if the crisis wasn’t already here. Europe is absolutely in crisis. But the crisis is made up of fences and hotspots, border control and a lack of solidarity. It did not occur suddenly. The latest governmental reactions of panic over migration are not a paradigm shift; they perpetuate those structures which enable the racist politics of European nation states, not least the Danish. The first photographs of people crossing the Danish-German border on foot made the front pages in the beginning of September 2015. It was said that the refugee crisis had come to Denmark. As if this was the first time anyone entered Denmark unauthorized. As if a large number of people haven’t been isolated in camps for years or forcefully deported to war and persecution. But perhaps what was new was the visibility, as well as the extensive public solidarity which quickly arose. New alliances were formed, large-scale civil disobedience occurred, and in a flash people united together 6

to defy the state. Yet, these spontaneous outbreaks of solidarity never materialized into a sustainable political movement, unfortunately. No voices in the public debate managed to challenge the premise that this was solely a question of helping refugees in an exceptional situation. In other words, the logic of the refugee crisis prevailed. We have seen vocal critique – even international condemnation – of the jewelry law. And people have protested against Inger Støjberg’s latest notion that Denmark should no longer receive quota refugees. But the other 34 measures tightening the asylum law adopted last fall received less attention, and more consequentially, the critique has remained at the level of appeals to humanitarian aid, our common humanity, or (supra)national rights. It has not been about justice. A structural, systemic critique is overdue. It is both important and necessary to fight for the help and protection people fleeing war need and deserve. But it must not happen at the expense of others who cross borders. When we speak solely of refugees, we are contributing to a discourse, which in the last couple of years, has pitched refugees and migrants as opposites. Here the refugee is understood as legitimate while the migrant is understood as illegitimate. Refugee is defined here in the narrowest manner, both legally and rhetorically: as a victim, preferably impoverished, who should not own smartphones or be in good shape, and should originate from certain, very few, war-torn nations. Whereas migrant has previously been used as an umbrella term for anyone crossing borders, today, migrant denotes a suspicious welfare scrounger driven by economic greed and convenience. We are not the first to point out that the words have changed meaning. But how to resist when xenophobia takes the words out of our mouths? When the language which can unite us in resistance is also the language distancing us from each other? We must try not to reproduce the hostile polarizations of language. The master’s tools will №12 visAvis • 2016


never dismantle the master’s house. visAvis will attempt to reappropriate the term migrant in order to agitate for justice for refugees as well as all other migrants. We are not talking about migrants in order to erase the differences between different groups but to enable solidarity across divides and insist on the rights of everyone to cross borders. If visAvis can make a difference, it must be exactly by propagating attention to language. Language structures our domestic sphere, it is structured by legislation and is something we carry with us everywhere. This becomes apparent in Ali Ali’s essay Who Is a Refugee?, where he uses the anecdotal to challenge common terminology around refugee, escape and refuge. With Teeth and Nails is a cacophonous experiment with the bridges and barriers of language and art. In the pair of poems Waiting for Asylum Reem Zakzouz explores exile and belonging in relation to recognition and the right to exist. Lucky Day speaks lyrically about experiences of privilege and identity in the encounter with bureaucratic systems. Questions of exile, community and different kinds of borders are also challenged in the collage poem BORDER – a collective poem, created during a series of writing workshops hosted by visAvis. Another area of engagement for visAvis is in-depth analysis, a defiance of the hectic flow of news. It is easy to be blinded by the (apparently) urgent and spectacular. That’s why we try to take a few steps back and place events in larger contexts, globally as well as historically. In an exploration of the literary representation of migrants and the relationship between migration and literature, the text At brande stradet (Burning the Strait)attends to a literary tradition around boat migration across the Mediterranean and thereby calls attention to the fact that it is not a new phenomenon. Questions of representation of migrants are also explored in Kristian Vistrup’s essay, which reads Greenlandic literature and identity through a postcolonial lens.

The words “Europe’s refugee crisis” should definitely be used with caution, but as previously mentioned, this does not mean that people entering Europe do not experience profound crisis. Two of the contributions in this issue zoom in on two of the EU’s border zones: A comic from Lesvos and a text and accompanying photo series from the border between Serbia and Croatia. We also present a testimony from a Polish migration prison by activist and author Ekaterina Lemonjava. These current crises do not constitute a rupture with Europe’s existing policies. But there is no doubt that we are seeing an acceleration of a nationalist development. This is evidenced with frightening clarity in a mapping of Denmark’s camps, visualizing the multiplication of camps in the last couple of years. In an interview with researcher Leopold Lambert the relationship between architecture, violence and racism in the camps is unfolded. Both the interview and the map suggest that the distinction between camp and prison is increasingly blurred. A clear example of this is Sjælsmark deportation camp. The daily life of residents and the architecture of the place are illuminated through a photo series portraying the three daily meals in the cafeteria as well as excerpts of radio segments by The Bridge Radio. With the autobiographical Underground Revolution we get vivid insight into one of Syria’s overlooked subcultures, its joys as well as its dangers, and a testimony of a homophobia which is just as embedded in the West as everywhere else. We are likewise reminded by a report on Nigerian LGBT politics that many struggles are fought in this world and that there can be many reasons to seek protection abroad. In this issue we introduce a new section in which the visAvis collective recommend movies and books about migration. We hope you like what you read! Sincerely, The Editorial Group

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Dansk oversættelse side 98

Who Is a Refugee? by Ali Ali - illustration by Casper Øbro

Don’t panic. This text is not a legal document stating who is eligible for asylum.

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A refugee without paperwork

A refugee on the go

When they ask me if I am a refugee, I say no. But I do not mean it. When it comes to documents, I have a Syrian passport and a permanent European residence permit. Instead of applying for asylum directly at the government offices, I opted for a more emotional bureaucracy when I entered into a civil partnership with my lover, and he took care of all the paperwork. I applied for asylum in him, and I had to live in his “camp” and be subject to rules and codes of behavior in order not to violate my status as a refugee. I think he was far more accommodating than any government, and he always turned a blind eye to my violations of the rules. And no matter what I did, he did not deport me back to danger. However, it did not take me long to realize that asylum and refugee can be two aspects of the same person. I am a refugee as well as a refuge for those who need me. My boyfriend also applied for asylum in me. I could say he ideally qualified for a refugee status, when he fled from a life of alcohol and emptiness. He was also afraid of me deporting him back to that danger.

When I take a bus, ride a bike, or just walk down the street I am also in an asylum seeking process. Applying for asylum in potential friends and lovers and people who happen to pass by. Maybe one of them could offer me asylum or maybe she or he is looking for asylum in me.

A refugee from refuge

While I was deeply involved in an emotional bureaucracy, my sister was dealing with a conventional one when she applied for asylum in Denmark. She obtained asylum, but was still looking for a refuge from her feelings of homesickness and alienation. I think she found it in me sometimes. And the question remains: Who gives asylum to those, who need consolation and protection from places that are supposed to give them protection? These places turn out to be new spaces of alienation, homesickness, and dehumanization. The asylum turns into a new threat to humanity.

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A refugee in refugees

Oh, and the right-wing movements all applied for asylum in us refugees and immigrants by instrumentalizing fear and xenophobia in order to protect themselves from extinction. How else would they survive? We are all in a state of fragility, and we all desperately attempt to survive. Asylum in strange places

Sometimes we find refuge in danger. The other day I was stalked by a homophobic man. I was restless until I went up to him, looked him in the face, talked to him and got punched in the face. I felt safer than if I had escaped. It was asylum from rotting in the shell of fear, asylum in the knowledge that I had the courage to face the danger, asylum in the support from all those who stood up for me that night. Refugees welcome

I am open and ready. To all of those asking for asylum in me, I say “refugees welcome”, and I wish others would do the same for refugees from all places and situations of danger, be it sadness, marginalization, torture, or death. And one more thing: A system that denies us one form of refuge is on its way to denying us other forms. Look how governments at the same time are becoming more callous towards the needs of migrants, refugees, students and homeless people. It is not a coincidence. 11


English translation page 98

ASYLLEJRE I DANMARK 2016

af Kirstine Nordentoft Mose, Thomas Elsted og Beata Hemer

Introduktion til kortlægning af det danske lejrsystem Hvis vi ser på et verdenskort, kan vi følge nationalstaternes grænser som linjer, der skærer gennem landområder, floder, søer, ørkener og bjergkæder. Linjer på kortet fremstiller en verden opdelt i territorier og viser os, hvordan grænser er et instrument til opdeling af et indenfor og et udenfor. Historisk har grænser været linjer, der demarkerer territoriet for et bestemt samfund; en kolonialistisk strategi for at indtage og opdele rum og resurser. Disse linjer på kortet konstrueres, rekonstrueres og udviskes gennem konflikter. Til trods for at vi ofte opfatter grænser som et naturligt fænomen, er og har grænser altid været konstruerede linjer, som er fastlagt i kølvandet på krige, besættelser og konflikter. Kortlægning er det værktøj, som statsmagter har anvendt for at etablere grænser og territorier – et redskab, hvormed suverænitet udøves. Men kortlægning handler ikke kun om territoriale grænser, men om at samle information og forstå nye sammenhænge. For os er kortlægning et perspektiv at se verden gennem, en måde at forsøge at forstå mønstre og sammenhænge. Vores linjer og punkter på kortet afspejler ikke nationalstatens ydre grænser. Vi er i stedet interesseret i, hvordan asyllejre,

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detentionssteder og kontrolmekanismer konstruerer nye grænser inden for grænserne. De senere år er antallet af asyllejre i Danmark vokset eksplosivt. Mens der i 2012 var 26 asyllejre i Danmark, er der i september 2016 mere end 80 lejre spredt ud over landet. På europæisk plan er der også sket en stigning i anvendelsen af detentionssteder og lejrstrukturer målrettet migranter. I Danmark har der de senere år også været en stigning i antallet af åbne og lukkede institutioner for afviste asylansøgere, udlændinge på ikke lovligt ophold, samt personer på tålt ophold. Disse institutioner drives af Kriminalforsorgen og ikke som de ordinære asyllejre af Røde Kors eller kommunalt. Den umiddelbare logiske sammenhæng står klart: Et stigende antal af mennesker på flugt, som søger beskyttelse, har ført til et stigende antal asyllejre og detentionssteder for migranter. Men lejren – asyllejren, deportationslejren og detentionslejren – er ikke et nødvendigt fænomen. Ligesom grænsen er heller ikke lejren et naturligt fænomen. Ligesom grænsen er lejren en specifik og konkret måde at opdele mellem et udenfor og et indenfor. Grænsen materialiseres i hegnene omkring deportationslejren Sjælsmark og i asyllejren Sandholm i Nordsjælland. Hegnene, der omkranser lejrene, er lig de hegn, der omkranser EU’s ydre grænser. Mødet med grænsen og mødet med lejren er ikke kun en juridisk regulering af, hvem der kan opholde sig på territoriet – det er også en rumlig erfaring. Mellem Danmark og Sverige er der for første gang i 60 år genindført ID-kontrol. Når du i dag (september 2016) skal til Malmø med Øresundstoget, skal du på grund af den “midlertidige” grænsekontrol gennem ID-kontrol i toget og/eller på perronen i Københavns lufthavn Kastrup. Kontrollen er foranstaltet af DSB, som efter at være blevet underlagt transportøransvar fra svensk side har iværksat ID-kontrol af samtlige passagerer mod Sverige. Arkitektonisk er der på Kastrup station opført et hegn mellem de to spor og perroner. Et klart symbolsk signal om, at det er umuligt at krydse grænsen uden om ID-kontrollen. Vi befinder os ikke længere på en togperron i Danmark, men allerede her ved en national grænse. I 1910 køber det danske forsvar et landområde uden for Allerød. Det er øvelsesterræn for militæret. I 1986 overdrages en zone inden for dette område til Indenrigsministeriet for at kunne benyttes som asyllejr. Samme år åbnede Center Sandholm, bedre kendt som Sandholmlejren. Inden for Sandholms hegn bor altså mennesker på flugt, herunder mange traumatiseret af krig. På den anden side af hegnet træner kampklædte soldater i våbenbrug til udstationering i krigsramte lande – herunder lande, som mennesker på indersiden af hegnet er flygtet fra. Vi kan opfatte disse situationer som grænsesættende funktioner, der er afgørende for, hvorvidt et givent område erfares som ”åbent“ eller “lukket”. Den rumlige indretning og placering af asyl- og deportationslejre og detentionssteder har, ligesom hegnene mellem Ungarn og Serbien og det symbolske hegn i Kastrup Lufthavn, grænsesættende funktioner. Ved at undersøge den geografiske placering af og arkitektoniske indretning af asyl- og deportationslejre og detentionssteder forsøger vi at pege på, at lejren aldrig er neutral eller nødvendig. Kortlægningen af stederne, deres geografiske placering og bygningernes historik er en undersøgelse af hvad vi måske bedst kan betegne fragmentariske sammenhænge. Vores undersøgelse har ikke til hensigt at nå til entydige konklusioner om lejrenes arkitektur, der strækker sig fra tidligere skoler over psykiatriske hospitaler tilkaserner, telte og forældede fængsler. Eller om deres

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geografiske placering i byer eller isoleret på landet uden adgang til offentlig transport, eller omkranset af militært øvelsesterræn. Vi, som har sammensat kortet, har ikke personlig erfaring med at bo i det danske lejrsystem. Vores perspektiv afspejler nødvendigvis dette. Kortlægningen er stærkt forenklet og afspejler en virkelighed, som allerede kan have forandret sig, når du læser dette. Kortet er ingen statisk repræsentation, men er tænkt som en fortløbende undersøgelse, som kan tage nye veje og forgreninger langs nye erfaringer og forandringer. Vi forsøger at komme med vores bud på et overblik over og indblik i et dansk lejrsystem i konstant udvikling. Hvis du har rettelser eller forslag til ændringer af kortet, vil vi gerne høre fra dig. Vi vil hævde, at hegnet, lejren og fængslet er ekskluderende og disciplinerende mekanismer, som skaber tråde mellem asyllejre i Nordsjælland og opsætningen af kilometerlange hegn i Ungarn. Den rumlige strukturering af lejre og detentionssteder synliggør, hvordan EU’s og nationalstaternes grænser forskydes og rykker ind i landskabet. Asyllejrene og detentionsstederne spreder sig som punkter i territoriet.

N

Key of symbols Closed Camp Restricted Access Open (with fence)

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Open Camp


Foldbjerg (122) Accomodation

Gunderuplund (150) Accomodation Vrå (112) Accomodation

Vester Thorup (100) Unaccompanied Minors

Vester Hjermitslev (100) Unaccompanied Minors Brovst II (115) Accomodation Brovst I (475) Accomodation

Vesløs (120) Accomodation Hanstholm (300) Accomodation

Frederikshavn (410) Accomodation

Brønderslev I (104) Accomodation Brønderslev II (142) Accomodation

Thisted (100) Unaccompanied Minors

Dronninglund (178) Accomodation

Rovvig (100) Unaccompanied Minors

Ranum (325) Accomodation

Morsø (300) Accomodation

Skørping (80) Unaccompanied Minors Østrup (65) Unaccompanied Minors

Vestervig (65) Unaccompanied Minors

Beredskabscenter Thisted (360; 200 in tents) Temporary Accomodation Announced to close October 2016

Randers (200) Accomodation Holstebro (500) Accomodation

Lyngbygård (138) Accomodation

Voldby (70) Accomodation Grenå (190) Accomodation

Kærshovedgård (185) Deportation

Ebeltoft (155) Accomodation

Beredskabscenter Herning (540; 200 in tents) Temporary Accomodation Announced to close October 2016

Samsø V (30) Accomodation

Thyregod (80) Unaccompanied Minors

Jelling I (292) Accomodation

Sandvad (84) Accomodation Beredskabscenter Haderslev (500; 200 in tents) Temporary Accomodation Announced to close October 2016

Samsø IV (30) Accomodation Samsø I (150) Accomodation Kalundborg (400) Accomodation

Børkop (100) Accomodation

Præstekærgaard (100) Accomodation

Strandvænget (500) Accomodation

Haderslev Sygehus (600) Reception Toftlund (380) Accomodation Toftlund (104) Accomodation

Korsør (200) Accomodation

Faaborg (250) Accomodation

Nordborg (300) Re-entry Unit

Toftlund (100) Unaccompanied Minors

Lohals (80) Accomodation

Aaløkke (160) Accomodation

Hundstrup (100) Accomodation Tullebølle (104) Unaccompanied Minors

Tønder (100) Unaccompanied Minors Sønderborg (700) Accomodation

Key of text Facility Name (capacity, persons) Main purpose of center

2016 • visAvis №12 Key of symbols on next page >

Aabenraa Arrest Prison (10) Detention Uge (136) Accomodation Bolderslev (102) Accomodation

Lindelse (54) Unaccompanied Minors

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Jakobsminde (56) Unaccompanied Minors Søby (80) Unaccompanied Minors

Humble (102) Accomodation

Holmegaard (380) Accomodation


Frederikshavn (410) Accomodation

Building Typology *

8 15 4 17 7 6 4 7 13

Key of symbols

Built as military barracks (army camp) Built as hospital (incl. psychiatric hospitals) Built as prison (detention centre)

Accomodation Center (Mixed or Unspecified) Accomodation Center (Unaccompanied Minors) Tent Camp (Emergency Shelters)

Built as nursery home or treatment facility Built as school (incl. bording schools & conference centers) Tents and pavillions (emergency shelters) Apartment block (private housing) Other (incl. villas, dorms, built as asylum residence) Unknown (information unavailable)

International Border Military Training Area Known video surveillance International Airport, possible place of deportation **

Voldby (70) Accomodation Grenå (190)vv Accomodation Lyngbygård (138) Accomodation Ebeltoft (155) Accomodation

Sandholm (600) Reception & Deportation Esbønderup (300) Accomodation Gribskob (60) Unaccompanied Minors

Annebergparken (120) Unaccompanied Minors

Sjælsmark (300) Deportation

Auderød (600) Reception

Ellebæk (118) Detention

Samsø V (30) Accomodation

Vridsløselille (240) Detention

Samsø IV (30) Accomodation Samsø I (150) Accomodation

Kalundborg (400) Accomodation

Dianalund I (100) Accomodation Roskilde (350) Accomodation Strandvænget (500) Accomodation

Dianalund II (250) Accomodation

Kongelunden (110) Women’s Center Accomodation

Avnstrup (700) Accomodation

Korsør (200) Accomodation Beredskabscenter Næstved (590; 400 in tents) Temporary Accomodation Announced to close October 2016

Lohals (80) Accomodation

Tullebølle (104) Unaccompanied Minors Søllested (190) Accomodation Gloslunde (100) Accomodation Lindelse (54) Unaccompanied Minors Humble (102) Accomodation Holmegaard (380) Accomodation

Rødbyhavn (120) Accomodation

* Disclaimer: The number of camps in Denmark is constantly changing. Facilities are closing and opening again, while people in the asylum system are being moved around between camps all over the country. When the mapping was conducted in September 2016, there were 82 asylum camps in Denmark. As of 1st of November 2016, the number was 67. * Disclaimer: Some centres include several different buildings types, and in the case of some centres we have not been able to establish the building type. The list is not definitive, but provides an overview of what buildings are used to house asylum seekers and migrants. ** Airports listed here are the ones with scheduled flights outside of Denmark and known places of deportations. Deportations may also take place using chartered flights. There are 24 airports in Denmark approved as a EU external border crossing point.


5 special facilities fact sheet

Center Sandholm Reception- and departure centre operated by the Red Cross. Established as asylum centre in 1989. As a former army barracks, Sandholm is a fenced-in camp alongside og indretning afsituated asylEllebæk Prison inside a military training area. The National Police has a presence at the deportationslejre og centre, as have The Immigration Service, who conduct asylum interviews here. Access control, video surveillance and fences. detentionssteder, forsøger Surrounded by an active military training area. atuntil pege på, at lejren aldrig Public Transport: Local buses once everyvihour midnight. 3 km to nearest town with train station (Allerød). er neutral eller nødvendig. I

stedet vises trådene mellem

Ellebæk Prison (Institution for Detained Asylum Seekers) lejre, grænser, inklusion og High security detention facility operated by the Danish Prison and Probation Service eksklusion. (Kriminalforsorgen) and located next to Sandholm in a military training area. Used for detaining foreign persons serving a sentence as well as rejected asylum seekers to be deported. Men, women, and children can all be detained at the facility. I 1910 køber det danske forsvar 2-person cells, bars on windows and doors. etFoodlandområde for Video surveillance, 4m barbed wire fence. served 3 times a day.uden Restricted access to internet and telephone (no cell phones). Allerød. Det er øvelsesterræn Detention may last up to 18 months.

for militæret. I 1986 overdrages en zone inden for dette område Sjælsmark Deportation Centre tilService Indenrigsministeriet Operated by the Danish Prison and Probation (Kriminalforsorgen). In 2015for theseat disused army barracks became a deportation center for rejected asylum seekers. Single kunne benyttes som asyllejr. men and women live here until their deportation, but it is planned to house families as well. Samme år åbnede Center Residents receive no financial aid, except the few who cooperate to ‘voluntary return’ (that is, agree to facilitate their own deportation).Sandholm, bedre kendt som Surrounded by an active military training area. 5,6 km to nearest town (Allerød). Sandholmlejren. Inden for4 Access control, video surveillance, sectioning fences. Residents must report every days. Own cooking not allowed, residents must eat in the cafeteria Sandholms hegn3 times bora day. altså Kærshovedgård Deportation Centre Operated by the Danish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalforsorgen). A former open prison, in 2016 converted into a deportation center for rejected asylum seekers. Remotely isolated and surrounded by dense forest. There is a 24 hour police presence in the centre, sometimes dogs. Very isolated since asylum seekers are not allowed to use the local busses. Access control, video surveillance and sectioning fences established in 2016. No own cooking (kitchens dismantled 2016), residents must use the cafeteria. Public Transport: None. Distances: 6,6 km to nearest town (Bording), 13 km to nearest urban area (Ikast).

Vridsløselille State Prison A closed prison operated by the Danish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalforsorgen). Built in 1859 as a classical, panopticon-style prison, discontinued as state prison in 2015 due to being outmoded and antiquated. In January 2016 it became a place of detention of rejected asylum seekers not cooperating to voluntary return. 1-person cells with restricted access toilet, internet and telephone (no cell phones). Some hours a day allowed with other detainees. One hour a day allowed in the yard. Visits allowed once a week.

Segen (50) Accomodation

Aakirkeby (55) Accomodation Bornholm (250) Accomodation

10 km 50 km Geographic Data Base map provided by Holm : Hammershøj Base map data © OpenStreetMap contributors openstreetmap.org and opendatacommons.org

Camp Operators

46

Camps operated by local municipalities

26

Camps operated by the Danish Red Cross

5

Camps operated by Kriminalforsorgen (Danish Prison and Probation Service)

4

Camps operated by Beredskabsstyrelsen (Danish Emergency Management Agency)


English translation 101

Efterskrift Gennem kortlægningen har vi gennemgået samtlige deportations-, asyllejre og detentionssteder for migranter i Danmark, mens enkelte udvalgte steder er blevet undersøgt mere dybdegående. Vi har undersøgt den geografiske placering, afstanden til den nærmeste by, kapaciteten, adgangskontrol, hvorvidt folk har mulighed for selv at lave mad, eller skal spise i kantine, samt hvem der står for den daglige drift. Vi har også være interesserede i bygningstypen og dens historik, det vil sige hvad et sted har været anvendt til før det blev et asyl-, deportations- eller detentionssted. En stor del har været hospitaler, plejehjem, efterskoler, kollegier og kaserner. Andre er bygget til formålet; som midlertidige barakker med værelser, fælles bad og toilet, køkken og opholdsrum. I deportations-, asyllejre og detentionssteder er vægge, mure og hegn del af den arkitektoniske indretning – og fungerer som disciplinære mekanismer. Den franske arkitekt og teoretiker Leopold Lambert peger i sit arbejde på forholdet mellem arkitektur, vold og racisme. Lambert forstår arkitektur som en iboende voldelig disciplin (da arkitekturen skaber de materielle rammer for bestemte rum og opdelinger). Denne tilgang synliggør de politiske implikationer ved enhver arkitektonisk praksis. Lambert var i København i foråret og her mødtes vi til en samtale om arkitektur, grænser og racisme. Efter vores opfattelse kan Lamberts blik på arkitekturen som et politisk våben bidrage til et kritisk blik på deportation-, asyllejre og detentionsstederne.

K Hvordan definerer du arkitektur? L Jeg har en meget specifik definition og opfattelse af arkitektur, som jeg ikke hævder er udtømmende. Jeg forstår arkitektur som en disciplin, der organiserer kroppe rumligt og med alle de politiske implikationer det indebærer.

K Hvordan definerer du “vold” som begreb? L Jeg forstår vold som en materiel, en fysisk proces. Hvis vi eksempelvis tænker på mure, så kan kroppe ikke gå igennem mure. Hvis man forsøger at krydse en mur kommer man måske ligefrem til skade. Langt størstedelen af mure er bygget netop for at kroppe ikke skulle kunne krydse dem. Vi ser her, hvordan arkitektur er en disciplin, der organiserer kroppe rumligt. Hvis du ikke kan krydse en mur, så er din krop naturligvis underkastet murens rumlige orden. Denne form for vold er metodisk set ikke politisk. Men hvis vi undersøger murens rumlige orden, så vil vi finde ud af, at muren altid er der af bestemte grunde. Uanset om disse er bevidste eller ej, så har den måde rum formes altid politiske implikationer. Det er det jeg mener, når jeg hævder, at arkitektur er iboende voldelig – og hvordan denne vold nødvendigvis instrumentaliseres gennem politiske programmer. K Hvordan definerer du i denne kontekst racisme? L Når jeg taler om racisme, så er det strukturel racisme jeg taler om. Det er altså juridiske systemer, institutioner eller administrative tilgange, der

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diskriminerer (eksplicit eller implicit, direkte eller indirekte) bestemte befolkningsgrupper ud fra etnicitet. Dette handler naturligvis om forholdet til staten og politiet, samt om spørgsmål som økonomi og kultur og en hel række andre sociale dimensioner. K Hvordan forstår du lejren som sted? Hvad enten det er asyllejre eller humanitære lejre? L Hvis vi tænker på den humanitære lejre eller asyllejre, så er der en høj grad af kontrol involveret i selve lejrens infrastruktur og arbejdsgang. Kontrollen handler om alt fra sikring af sikkerheden inde i lejren til hvor mange personer, der skal tilberedes mad til. Den form for kontrol, der indgår i styringen af en lejr, fremstår paradoksalt ift. de ofte humanitære aspekter, der ofte fremhæves ved lejrene. Den humanitære lejr kan ikke i sin logik fundamentalt set adskilles fra andre lejre – som genealogisk inkluderer nogle af de værst tænkelige historiske eksempler, såsom Gulag og de nazistiske koncentrationslejre. Det er ikke for at sige, at disse lejre fungerer på præcis samme måde, men de opererer ud fra de samme logikker.

Ved at undersøge sammenhængen mellem arkitektur, racisme og vold bliver det gjort synligt, hvordan racisme også kommer til udtryk rumligt; gennem asyllejrens arkitektur og grænsens hegn. I vores optik har en bygnings historik og formålet med dens arkitektoniske udformning betydning for, hvilken form for kontrol og hvilke liv der kan udfolde sig. I december 2015 lukker Vridsløselille Statsfængsel. Blandt årsagerne til lukningen er, at forholdene i fængslet er for utilsvarende. I januar 2016 åbner Vridsløselille som et detentionssted for afviste asylansøgere, hvis eneste forbrydelse er, at de ikke frivilligt vil udrejse til det land, de er flygtet fra. Stedet blev bygget som fængsel i 1859 og er designet som et klassisk panoptikon-inspireret fængsel med mulighed for central overvågning af de indsatte i enkeltmandsceller. Panoptikonet blev designet af den britiske jurist og filosof Jeremy Bentham i 1791 som en model for fængsler hospitaler og andre disciplinerende institutioner. Panoptikonet er i sin ideelle form designet med et tårn i midten, omgivet af en bygning opdelt i isolerede celler. Fra tårnet kan overvågeren observere, mens de indsatte i de enkelte celler ikke ved, hvornår de observeres. Der er altså tale om en rumlig opdeling, der muliggør konstant overvågning. Arkitekturen (den rumlige indretning) muliggør i den henseende kontrollen. Statsfængslets lukning og genåbning som detentionssted for migranter kan ses som et billede på, hvordan arkitekturen skaber de materielle rammer for kontrol af mennesker. Et fængsels vægge kan rives ned og nye opbygges. Et tidligere hospital kan ombygges og ændres, så mulighederne for et nyt liv skabes. Lamberts kobling af arkitektur, vold og racisme synliggør, hvordan lejrenes placering, bygningernes arkitektoniske indretning og hvilke historier de bærer med sig, ikke kan adskilles fra spørgsmål om vold og strukturel racisme. Det er arkitekturen, der skaber de fysiske rammer for de indsattes ophold i Vridsløselille Fængsel og i resten af asylsystemets åbne og lukkede institutioner.

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Dansk oversættelse side 120

Nr. 56 My name is Ekaterina by Ekaterina Lemonjava - illustrations by Yildiz Arslan

Ekaterina Lemonjava is a Georgian journalist and migrants’ rights activist who was imprisoned in 2012 in the Polish detention camp Lesznowola: a closed camp for women, children, and families. The same year, she was deported back to Georgia after participating in a large, coordinated hunger strike taking place in four detention camps for foreigners in Poland. During the strike, she dictated over the phone the widely distributed letter: “I’ll tell everyone about hell in Poland”. Later, she wrote a memoir about her time in the camp: Nr. 56, or My name is Ekaterina, which will be published this year. The title refers to her prisoner number. This text is an excerpt from Lemonjava’s book criticizing the conditions in Lesznowola. It describes how the protest began as a solidarity action with Maya, an imprisoned woman from Nepal who was mistreated during her illness. It furthermore addresses how imprisonment affected the children, such as four-year-old Maria from Syria.

Today, Maria brought Maya some food from dinner. Now even those who were irritated that Maya spent all her time in bed are trying to help her. Both Maria and Jusuf’s mothers have visited her a few times. Maya says that Maria also often comes to see her. Me, I’ve gotten so used to Maria’s crazy behaviour that I don’t even react anymore. It doesn’t bother me when she takes the mop from the person on cleaning duty, who then has to run after her in a circle to try and get it back. Or when she runs into somebody’s room, grabs the first object she can reach and forces the room’s inhabitant to chase her around. I’m not even bothered by her laugh; the most horrifying laugh in the world. Maria’s mother sings Syrian songs so beautifully she makes the whole prison go still while everyone listens to her voice and Maria dances. Each muscle in Maria’s tiny body moves, pulsating to the song’s rhythm and emotions. Soon enough, everyone around is absorbed by the music. That’s how the suffering in her mother’s singing and those Syrian rhythms also became ours. These short moments of pleasure are very intense and fill us with energy for the entire day. During dinner, a border guard sometimes sits in the back and sometimes paces between the tables, scrutinising every morsel of food we put into our mouths. I still cannot remember their faces. I only remember the Captain and the guard I had a conversation with today. The kids, especially Jusuf, try to play with them all. The border guards like the boy because he supplies answers to many of their questions.

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My first protest is about bringing food out of the cafeteria for Maya, who is sick. Maria’s mother and Jusuf’s mother come to my room begging me to be careful (meaning that I should keep quiet). Jusuf has heard from the guards that if we protest they will deport us. It’s better to accept things, even the things we don’t like, the two of them tell me. “Come with me”, I answer and start walking towards the metal barred doors of the guard’s room. They follow me. “If I go on hunger strike, do you, I mean you, the state, do you have the right to deport me?”, I ask. “Co?” The guard doesn’t understand. I try in English, then again in Russian; he doesn’t understand. “You want some coffee?”, I ask “Co?” “Would you like some coffee?” Now he understands. He doesn’t want any. “Call the Captain. The Captain – “. I put my hand on my shoulder. “Dobrze”, he answers and

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calls the captain with the shortwave radio: “Zero, Zero...” The Captain arrives. I ask him the same question. He stops and thinks for a moment, then he tells me that we are allowed to protest in any form we wish. “Captain, that’s not what I asked: If I protest, does that give you, the state, the right to deport me?” He says that it doesn’t. “Then how come your soldiers harass the detainees and threaten them with deportation?”, I ask. “I am sure that no such thing ever happened”, says the Captain. “Captain, I hope you will give your soldiers the appropriate orders and this will never happen again.” I look him in his eyes as I say this. He doesn’t answer and just returns my gaze. “Thank you”, I say and then turn around. I turn back after a second, because I want to invite the Captain for coffee. “No, thank you. I already had some,” he answers. “I haven’t had any yet, Captain. Maybe

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then you could invite me?” “When we meet in a café”, he says. “We will not meet in a café just like that unless you invite me first.” “Once you leave here, then I will invite you for sure.” He doesn’t even bat an eyelash. Neither do I. Everyone in Lesznowola despises him anyway. I am already leaving, but in spite of myself I turn again in his direction. “Captain, I want every person working here to remember that we are not criminals and that we didn’t commit any crime. People detained here come from Syria, Palestine, Iran, and other countries. Your country is obliged to provide protection for them. I want all of you to remember that you have that responsibility. Thank you for coming.” I turn around and we leave. In the kitchen, other women tell me the story of how a Chechen family was deported because the father went on a hunger strike for two days. They remember another story of a woman who was sent to a mental institution for the same reason. The emotionally unstable vice director of the camp, they say, got so angry with one of the prisoners that he almost hit him. And a few days later, he had a whole family deported to Chechnya. “Katerina, don’t believe anything he just said, they deport whole families if they don’t obey.” I try to explain to them that even if it is true that such things have taken place, it has been illegal. They don’t have the right to do that. We are in the heart of Europe, in a country which is a member of the European Union, which means our rights are protected here. Even if these incidents happen, it doesn’t mean that this is the law. It doesn’t matter if we are here, or in a real prison, we have our rights and Poland cannot take them away from us, since they are universal and it was not Poland that gave them to us. We have to protect Maya, so that she will not starve to death, even if Polish law does not allow us to do so. It’s a

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lie that Maya is fine. Despite what the doctors are saying, it is obvious that something is wrong with her and the pilinarki (nurses) are misinforming us because they want to separate her from the rest of the detainees. Even if she was making it all up, that still doesn’t give us the right to let her starve to death. You all remember Martina’s story, how in the fourth month of her pregnancy, she started to feel pain. The doctor said she was fine. Exactly two days later that same doctor removed the dead foetus from her uterus. Then, with a seemingly clear conscience, he went to Muraz, the father who had just lost his child and said: “It’s no reason to get upset, you’ll surely have another”. As if he had not lost a baby, but a doll. We have no one else to count on here but ourselves, so we have to stick together. I don’t respect laws that allow five- and six-year-olds to be detained. “Can’t you see that Maria is going crazy? Can’t you see how aggressive Jusuf and Tajjab sometimes get? Besides the children, look at us, how stressed and nervous we are; innocent people imprisoned for doing nothing wrong, treated like the worst bandits, as if we were locked up for crimes against humanity. My fellow prisoners, you are the ones who told me how Aziza was beaten up twice by the guards. Look at these barred windows and this building on lock-down that you can only leave for two hours per day. This system does not even allow you to go to the doctor by yourself. This regime took everything from us including my pocketbook mirror so that I can’t even look at my own face. Those rules leave you no choice but to steal your own food rations. We are people who would never even think of committing a crime, who escaped from our own countries for fear of being persecuted, while this structure accuses us of being the most dangerous criminals, sentences us to imprisonment and makes it seem like this is a punishment we fully deserve.”

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PROTECTOR by Mads Holm

Som assistance til Frontex og EU’s Operation Poseidon indsatte David Cameron og den britiske regering kystvagtskibet Telkkä-class HMC Protector (IMO 4544107) den 3. april 2016. Det lægger til havn ud for Hotel Blue Sea i Mytilini på den græske ø Lesbos.  As assistance to Frontex and the EU Operation Poseidon David Cameron and the British government deployed the coastguard ship Telkkä-class HMC Protector (IMO 4544107) on April 3rd 2016. It is docked outside Hotel Blue Sea in Mytilini on the Greek island Lesbos.

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English translation page 104

At brænde strædet af Lise Olivarius - illustrationer af Yildiz Arslan

Kan migration og litteratur være ensidigt genererende former for virkelighedsflugt? Er udokumenterede migranters papirløshed en subversiv befrielse fra identitetens snærende bånd, eller resulterer den snarere i pinefulde identitetskriser? Hvordan repræsenteres bådmigranten i litteraturen? Teksten her undersøger dokumentation, udokumenterethed og eskapisme i tre marokkanske romaner om migration over Gibraltarstrædet.

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Af de titusindvis af migranter, der på verdensplan anslås at være døde undervejs til deres bestemmelsessted siden år 2000, er over halvdelen druknet i Middelhavet. Det kommer næppe bag på nogen, og metaforer som ”kirkegård” og ”massegrav” for Middelhavet er efterhånden blevet floskler. Især i de seneste par år, hvor deres antal er steget drastisk, har bådflygtninge fyldt meget i mediebilleder og parlamenter. Men det er ikke noget nyt, at folk sætter livet på spil på den usikre rejse over Middelhavets oprørte vande. I en årrække var Gibraltarstrædet Middelhavets smalleste sted, der med kun omkring 14 kilometer vand adskiller Marokko og Spanien, Afrika og Europa - ubestridt den foretrukne rute for Middelhavets bådmigranter. Som følge af EU’s forstærkede grænsekontrol har Gibraltarstrædet dog gennem de senere år mistet sin store betydning – eller rettere, det smalle stræde har skiftet funktion og er blevet Europas bolværk frem for tærskel. Men fra begyndelsen af 1990’erne - da EU’s migrationspolitik begyndte at finde sin nuværende, stramme form, og antallet af udokumenterede migranter eksploderede som følge af de svindende muligheder for lovlig migration til Fort Europa – og til et godt stykke op i 00’erne, gik den papirløse vej ind i Europa ubetinget oftest over Gibraltarstrædet. I disse år fik den irregulære migration over strædet også sin egen litteratur, der hovedsageligt blev skrevet på fransk af marokkanske forfattere, og som jeg her kalder hriglitteratur. Hrig er den maghrebinske, arabiske betegnelse for illegaliseret migration over Middelhavet. Det betyder egentlig ”afbrænding” og henviser til den almindelige praksis at migranter brænder deres identitetspapirer inden afrejse for at mindske muligheden for at blive deporteret, hvis de bliver arresteret i Europa. Afledt af hrig kaldes migranterne harragas, ”brændere”. ”At brænde strædet” er derfor ble-

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vet et fast udtryk for den farlige rejse over Gibraltar. Jeg vil se nærmere på tre romaner om hrig: Tahar Ben Jellouns Partir (2006), Mahi Binebines Cannibales (1999) og Youssouf Amine Elalamys Les clandestins (2000). Partir foregår i de sene 90’ere, dels i Tanger og dels i Barcelona. Romanen følger et søskendepar, Azel og Kenza, der begge har held til at migrere til Spanien. Efter mange års længsel og et enkelt mislykket forsøg på at brænde strædet takker Azel modvilligt ja til et jobtilbud, der angiveligt går ud på at blive den spanske rigmand Miguels elsker, for at komme til Spanien. Kenza slutter sig til ham ved at proformagifte sig med Miguel, og hverken Azel eller Kenza er altså harragas. Azels status som lovlig er dog kun prekær og midlertidig. Da han mister Miguels velvilje, synker han ned i de udokumenteredes underverden som en anden bådmigrant. Cannibales udspiller sig på en kold, blæsende strand på den marokkanske side af Gibraltarstrædet, hvor syv bådmigranter kryber sammen, mens de venter på at krydse strædet. Handlingen spænder kun over en enkelt nat, dog med mange flashbacks, der udfolder hver af de syv harragas’ baggrundshistorier. Les clandestins er bygget op omkring en drukneulykke, der belyses fra mange forskellige vinkler. En patera – en lille træbåd af den slags, der var det yndede transportmiddel for harragas i 90’erne1 – skyller op på stranden ved den marokkanske landsby Bnidar med tretten druknede migranter. Det kønne, bordeauxrøde pas: Identitetspapirer og identitetskriser

Begrebet hrig, der på kontraintuitiv vis sammenstiller ild og vand, antyder samtidig det brændende begær, der ligger bag migrantens drastiske beslutninger om at sætte livet på spil for at komme til Europa 1 Senere blev pateras fortrængt af zodiacs, lidt større, oppustelige gummibåde.

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– betydningslag, der ofte udnyttes af hriglitteraturens forfattere. Ikke mindst peger betegnelsen på den store betydning, dokumenter og dokumentation har for den udokumenterede migrant. Hvis harragas har fået navn efter destruktionen af deres abjekte, afrikanske identitetspapirer, er de i litteraturen samtidig kendetegnet af et brændende begær efter nye, europæiske papirer. Den udokumenterede migrants stærke ønske om at blive inkluderet i den europæiske stats beskyttelse, rettigheder og privilegier tager i hriglitteraturen konkret form nærmest af en fetichering af europæiske dokumenter og i særlig grad af ”det kønne, bordeauxrøde pas”, som det hedder i Partir. Cannibales foregår blandt andet på Café France i Tanger; en café, der frekventeres af to meget forskellige grupper af rejsende: harragas og vestlige backpackere. Fortælleren Azzouz, der tilhører den førstnævnte, langt mindre privilegerede gruppe, fantaserer skinsygt om turisternes pas: ”Sikke et spild, hva, alle de røde, blå, grønne og rødbedefarvede pas, der mugner i lommerne på alle de hullede cowboybukser. Se, hvis jeg havde haft et, havde jeg passet på det, forkælet det, trykket det mod hjertet, jeg havde gemt det et sted, hvor de tyvagtige og misundelige aldrig ville finde det, syet det ind i min hud, lige midt på brystet, så jeg kun behøvede at knappe skjorten op for at vise det, når jeg krydsede grænser.” Kan de druknede tale?

Ingen af Partirs protagonister er harragas. Harragafiguren er hovedsageligt repræsenteret ved Azels fætter Noureddine, som er blandt de mange uheldige bådmigranter, der drukner på vej over Gibraltarstrædet. Han optræder dog ikke som sådan i handlingen, da han kun figurerer i flashbacks, og det endog hovedsageligt i Azels erindringer om hans døde krop. Den anden navngivne harragakarakter, Hamou, spiller så lille en rolle, at han knap nok kan kaldes en karakter: En skygge, der kryber hostende sammen i en krog og ikke har nogen replikker. Harragas optræder altså næsten ikke som egentlige karakterer, og når de gør, er de døde eller dødssyge og uden stemmer. Man kan indvende, at det er en realistisk fremstilling, og at de døde aldrig kan tale. Den der fortæller sin historie vil altid være i en privilegeret position. Er det så overhovedet muligt at skrive om harragas uden at udslette dem? Hvordan kan man navigere mellem offergørelse og fortielse? Les clandestins løser dette uløselige dilemma ved at gøre de druknede bådmigranter til fortællere. Patera’ens passagerer er på en gang ofre for håbløse, strukturelle omstændigheder og komplekse karakterer med egne stemmer. Også i Partir svæver spøgelser af druknede bådflygtninge over teksten helt fra begyndelsen. I åbningsscenen befinder vi os på den legendariske Café Hafa på Tangers yderste spids med udsigt til Spanien; en café, der var stamsted for vestlige bohemer og forfatte-

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re, dengang de valfartede til byen midt i det 20. århundrede2. Nu, i 90’erne, hjemsøges caféen af en anden slags fantaster: Bådmigranter in spe. Café Hafa bliver sted for den sammenkædning af fiktion og migration, der løber gennem hele romanen – og som ofte virker som en advarsel mod de dødelige konsekvenser af virkelighedsfjerne, migrante drømmerier. Identitetstab og feminisering

I modsætning til Partir har både Cannibales og Les clandestins harragas som protagonister og fortællere. Les clandestins fortæller den samme historie om drukneulykken med vekslende fortællere om og om igen. Den lidt mindre formmæssigt eksperimenterende Cannibales har kun en enkelt fortæller, den unge Azzouz. Det er oplagt at sammenligne Partirs og Cannibales’ protagonister. Azel og Azzouz er begge unge mænd og dermed både typiske migranter og typiske romanhelte. Den unge mand på rejse er en af den episke digtnings mest arketypiske grundformer3. De mange tekster, der er støbt efter denne form, har uden tvivl medvirket til at skabe en konstruktion af migranten som mandlig. At den slags narrativer også spiller en rolle som drivkraft for harragas, bliver tydeligt, da Azzouz fantaserer om at ankomme til Spanien som en klassisk, maskulin eventyrer: ”Jeg så mig selv som en erobrer i stævnen med brystet skudt frem, klar til at trodse alle Vestens dæmoner. Så snart vi var på landjorden, ville jeg 2 Café Hafa frekventeredes af blandt andre Tennessee Williams, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Truman Capote og Jean Genet. I hele første halvdel af det 20. århundrede var Tanger trækplaster for dekadente, vestlige kunstnere og bohemer. 3 Det er også en russisk formalistisk pointe, som Vladimir Propp fremsætter i sine analyser af folkeeventyr.

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tænde brand i andalusierindernes dunkle hjerter.” Azels kæreste Siham, der også har planer om at migrere og tidligere har krydset strædet, kun for siden at blive deporteret, påpeger det uretfærdige i, at kun mænd inkluderes i den slags heroiske migrationseventyr, mens migrerende kvinder ses ned på og stemples som ludere. Ligesom Azzouz er Azel i høj grad drevet af et lignende begær efter maskulinitet. En af hovedårsagerne til hans migration er Marokkos arbejdsløshed, der tvinger ham til på umandigste vis at blive forsørget af sin søster. Arbejdsløshedens kastration som drivkraft for den mandlige migrant formuleres endnu mere direkte af harraga’en Slimane i Les clandestins, der også må lide den ydmygelse det er at blive forsørget af en kvinde, hans kone: ”Ligegyldigt hvad man har mellem benene, er man ikke en mand, hvis man ikke har arbejde.” Men hvad der venter Azel i Spanien, er alt andet end maskulin oprejsning – tværtimod beskriver Partir migration som udpræget femininiserende. Både Binebine og Elalamy lader – ret realistisk – alle deres harragas drukne. I Partir overlever Azel og Kenza i første omgang rejsen over Gibraltarstrædet, men begge lider store tab som følge af deres migration – for Azels vedkommende så store, at det faktisk ender med at slå ham ihjel. I Spanien kastes Azel ud i en dyb identitetskrise, der tilsyneladende hovedsageligt handler om det tab af maskulinitet, han føler ved at være Miguels elsker. Da han forlader Miguel og bliver illegaliseret, bliver han samtidig mystisk nok impotent, hvad der yderligere nedbryder hans medtagne ego. Drømmen om forvandling

Da Azel bliver taget af politiet uden papirer, undgår han med nød og næppe den vanærende deportation ved at blive politistikker og infiltrere en islamistisk

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gruppe, som ender med at skære halsen over på ham. (I øvrigt er Kenza nær ved heller ikke at overleve sin migration, da hun forsøger at begå selvmord efter en ulykkelig kærlighedsaffære). Azel er ikke fri for først at føle samvittighedsnag ved at blive stikker, men klynger sig sigende nok til det håb om forvandling, der beskrives som så stor en drivkraft for migranten: ”Jeg vil omdanne mig, blive til en anden – det ville alt i alt være det bedste: Jeg forvandler mig fra én person til en anden. ” Ironisk nok er hans naive drøm om forvandling inspireret af Kafkas Forvandlingen, som han ganske vist ikke har læst ret grundigt. Azels misforståelse rammer uforvarende plet: Ligesom Gregor Samsa forvandler han sig til noget uigenkendeligt og ækelt i en næsten kropslig fremmedgørelse. Azels hjerteskærende optimistiske fejllæsning af Kafka er også en ledetråd i det spor, der løber gennem hele romanen, og som advarer håbefulde migranter in spe om at lade sig forføre af fiktioner. Både Partir, Cannibales og Les clandestins fremstiller harragas som drevet af myter og fortællinger om hrig’ens lyksaligheder, der er meget langt fra den virkelighed, der møder dem på havet og, hvis de overhovedet kommer så langt, i Europa. Især Partir beskriver migranten som kendetegnet af manglende realitetssans med dødelige konsekvenser og viger ikke tilbage for at skære denne pointe ud i pap. Den forvandling, Azel gennemgår i Spanien, er hovedsageligt at blive femininiseret og infantiliseret. Flere gange beskrives han som et barn. Infantiliseringen og femininiseringen af migranten går igen i alle tre tekster: Den typiske migrant er måske nok en mand, men han er samtidig ikke mand nok.4 De migrante karakterer i alle tre tek4 Også i Les clandestins infantiliseres harragafiguren. Da båden kæntrer – en scene, der er skrevet i replikform - råber en af passagererne gentagne gange på sin mor.

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ster nærer håb om forvandling som et lykkeligt hamskifte, men ender snarere med at gennemgå pinefulde identitetstab. Det er værd at bemærke, at hver af de tolv mandlige harragas i Les clandestins kaldes ved øgenavne, som om de allerede inden afrejse har mistet den definerende del af sig selv: navnet. I Cannibales har menneskesmuglerens joviale håndlanger Morad også skiftet navn ved ankomst til Paris, hvor han kalder sig Momo. Det er Morad/Momo, der leverer det mest makabre billede både på migrantens identitetstab og migrantens dokumentbegær i det kannibalismespor, der har givet navn til romanen: I et tilbagevendende mareridt drømmer han, at hans arbejdsgiver spiser ham stykke for stykke - i bytte for blandt andet en opholdstilladelse. Hvor alle migranterne i de tre tekster på forskellige måder mister sig selv, er Partirs Nâzim, Kenzas tyrkiske elsker, det mest åbenlyse eksempel på, hvordan migranten må opfinde en ny identitet fra bunden. Nâzim er flygtet fra en spillegæld og lever nu illegaliseret i Barcelona. Over for Kenza lyver han ved at undlade at fortælle, at han har kone og børn i Tyrkiet, og over for familien derhjemme lyver han om sin succes som matematikprofessor i Madrid. Migrantfigurer i europæiske diskurser

Men migranten må genopfinde mere end sig selv. Ifølge Edward W. Saids klassiske essay Reflections on Exile (2000) må ethvert eksileret menneske på sin vis genopfinde sin verden på ny – nærmest som man opfinder et fiktivt univers. Det er derfor, hævder Said, ikke tilfældigt, at der er så høj en koncentration af forfattere blandt eksilerede mennesker: I eksil kompenserer man for den desorientering og magtesløshed, der er en naturlig følge af eksilet, ved at skabe og kontrollere sin egen fiktive verden. Said er dog ikke blind for, at det kun er visse meget privilege-

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rede former for eksil, der traditionelt har fået stemme i litteraturen. Når hans begrebsapparat af ”eksilerede, flygtninge, expats og emigranter” alligevel virker både forældet og for (klassemæssigt) begrænset, er det først og fremmest på grund af fraværet af den illegaliserede migrantfigur. Mere tidssvarende termer finder man i Serhat Karakayali og Enrica Rigos essay ”Mapping the European Space of Circulation” (2010), der optegner en genealogi over de skiftende migrantfigurer, der har domineret den offentlige diskurs i Europa siden 2. verdenskrig. I efterkrigstiden var gæstearbejderen den prototypiske migrant i den europæiske forestilling. Dengang blev det endnu anset som legitimt at immigrere til Europa af økonomiske årsager, og gennem 60’erne og 70’erne var Marokko en af de helt store leverandører af gæstearbejdere. Gradvist blev gæstearbejderfiguren afløst af den politisk forfulgte flygtning og asylansøgeren; figurer, der dominerede diskurser om migration indtil først i 90’erne. Økonomisk migration blev i stigende grad ildeset, og kimen blev lagt til de diskurser om migranter som økonomiske velfærdsparasitter, der er fremherskende i dag. (Underbetalt arbejdskraft fra illegaliserede migranter med minimale rettigheder er dog stadig yderst profitabelt for EU – en pointe, der til gengæld sjældent kommer frem i mainstreamdiskursen om indvandring). I dag er den illegale migrant den absolut mest dominerende figur i europæiske diskurser om migration5. Det er en meget reel og materiel konsekvens af en fælleseuropæisk (anti)migrationspolitik, der i udpræget grad har vanskeliggjort lovlig migration til EU. Men det betyder ikke, at udokumenteret migration ikke fandt sted i for eksempel efterkrigstidens gæstearbejderæra. Karakayali og Rigo understreger, at de skiftende formatio5 Måske med undtagelse af flygtningen siden den såkaldt flygtningekrises opkomst.

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ner af migrantfigurer ikke er ontologiske, men epistemologiske og diskursive kategorier. For eksempel blev folk, der i efterkrigstiden flygtede fra Sydeuropas fascistiske diktaturer til Frankrig, Belgien eller Tyskland anset for at være gæstearbejdere, fordi det nu engang var det paradigme, der på det tidspunkt legitimerede migration. Senere måtte folk, der flygtede fra arbejdsløshed og fattigdom, vinkle deres historie som flugt fra politisk forfølgelse. Fra eksil- til migrantog migrationslitteratur

På samme måde kan historiske skift mellem migrationsparadigmer findes i litteraturen og litteraturkritikken. Nogle kritikere opererer med en udvikling fra eksil- til migrantlitteratur. Begrebet migrantlitteratur blev indført for at betegne litteratur af forfattere, der er kommet til Europa som en del af de sidste 50 års massemigration for at skelne dem fra privilegerede, højtuddannede eksilforfattere som Nabokov. Et eksempel er den tyske Gastarbeiterliteratur. De kanoniske eksilforfattere blev gerne fremhævet for deres særlige rolle som observatører af mindst to kulturer – Said peger i Reflections on Exile på denne egenskab hos den eksilerede6– ofte på en måde, der reproducerede en binær logik mellem et fremmedartet (vestligt) ”her” og et romantiseret hjemland. Skiftet fra eksil til migrant udfordrer den binære logik ved at lægge vægt på bevægelse, rodløshed og blanding af kultur og sprog. Allerede i valget af termerne migration og migrant – uden præfixerne im- eller em- - ligger altid et valg om at fokusere på selve bevæ6 En anden af de helt store postkoloniale tænkere, Homi K. Bhabha, har en lignende pointe i The Location of Culture: ”the truest eye may now belong to the migrant’s double vision” (Bhabha 1994:7-8) – omend i forbindelse med Salman Rushdie, der snarere betragtes som migrantforfatter end eksilforfatter.

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gelsen og dens tilstand frem for at se den som et midlertidigt interval mellem to faste punkter. I de seneste år har andre kritikere påpeget endnu et paradigmeskift fra migrantlitteratur til migrationslitteratur. Hvor etiketten migrantlitteratur indebærer et biografisk krav til forfatterens identitet – og er blevet kritiseret for at eksotisere og essentialisere denne migrantidentitet - afgrænses feltet migrationslitteratur derimod af teksternes temaer og form. Skiftet fra eksillitteratur over migrantlitteratur til migrationslitteratur markerer altså for det første et klassemæssigt skift fra en smal, veluddannet, litterær elites produktion til en litteratur, der udspringer af vor tids massemigration. For det andet markerer paradigmeskiftet en drejning i retning af et større fokus på selve migrationen: Hverken indvandringen (set fra ”modtagerlandets” perspektiv) eller udvandringen (set fra ”hjemlandets” perspektiv), men selve vandringen – set fra migrantens perspektiv. Migrationens autonomi, kan man også kalde det. Migrationens autonomi

Migrationens autonomi er et begreb, der for alvor blev udbredt med Dimitris Papadopoulos, Niamh Stephenson og Vassilis Tsianos’ indflydelsesrige værk Escape Routes. Control and Subversion in the 21st Century (2008). Begrebet har siden haft stor betydning for den kritiske migrationsforskning. At forstå migration som autonom handler om at forstå den som en bevægelse i mere end én forstand: En politisk og social bevægelse frem for udelukkende en reaktion på økonomisk og social dårligdom og undertrykkelse, og dermed også som andet og mere end et resultat af push- og pull-effekter. Især illegaliserede migranter betragtes ofte som fuldstændigt prisgivet omstændigheder, mens det overses, hvordan de aktivt

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er med til at skabe disse omstændigheder. Migrationens autonomi lægger derimod vægt på, at migration er en konstituerende kraft i dannelsen af suverænitet. At migrationen er autonom betyder ikke, at den er løsrevet fra sociale, kulturelle og økonomiske strukturer, men at den er en kreativ kraft i udformningen af disse strukturer. Mellem afmagt og avantgardeprojicering

Begrebet om migrationens autonomi har vundet indpas som et tiltrængt alternativ til den statscentrerede migrationsteori, der analyserer migration fra magtens perspektiv, og som længe dominerede den kritiske migrationsforskning. Hvis den kritiske eller radikale migrationsforskning- og aktivisme fokuserede på statslig suverænitet og uigennemtrængelige grænser, som migranter stod magtesløse overfor, blev diskurser om migrant agens til gengæld udelukkende udtrykt fra et højreorienteret anti-immigrationsperspektiv: Migranten som den egennyttige homo economicus eller snedige kriminelle, der sneg sig over grænser for at snylte på velfærdsstatens goder. Begrebet om migrationens autonomi gør det muligt at sætte sig ud over dikotomien mellem migranter som objektgjorte ofre eller kriminelle subjekter. Den stats- og magtcentrerede tilgang til migration tilskrives ofte den indflydelsesrige tænker Giorgio Agamben. Den Agamben-inspirerede tilgang er blevet kritiseret for at fratage migranten agens, autonomi og handlemulighed samt for at bekræfte migrantens afmagt. Søren Rafn har imidlertid påpeget, at man i Agambens tekst We Refugees (1993) kan finde en helt anderledes mægtiggøren-

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de konceptualisering af flygtningen7, nemlig som avantgardefigur med politisk potentiale. Agambens We Refugees er en læsning af Hannah Arendts halvtreds år ældre tekst af samme navn, hvori hun fremhæver især den jødiske flygtning som ”sit folks avantgarde”. Avantgardefiguren kendetegnes af en ny historisk bevidsthed og formår at hæve sig over nationalstatslig patriotisme og assimilation. Arendt tager samtidig afstand fra en anden forestilling om flygtningen som avantgardefigur: Vestens politiserede idé om den heroiske, politiske flygtning, der flygter fra kommunistisk totalitarisme grundet sine vestlige idealer (det flygtningebegreb, mange har kritiseret for at spøge i FN’s flygtningekonvention). Man kunne tilføje, at Vestens Anden i dag ikke længere er kommunismen, men islamismen. Det er derfor islamisme – og i stigende grad også bare islam – som ikke-vestlige migranter pålægges at tage eksplicit afstand fra, hvis de vil inkluderes i vestlige nationalstaters rettigheder. I Partir fremstår Azel som en parodi på flygtningen som avantgardefigur i denne Arendtske forstand, da han bliver politistikker og infiltrerer islamistiske miljøer i Spanien. I forlængelse af Arendt begrebsliggør Agamben flygtningen som avantgardefigur på en lidt anden måde: Som den politiske grænsefigur, der ikke vil assimileres som statsborger i nogen nationalstat. Det er her, Rafn kritiserer Agamben for at projicere en idealiseret avantgardefigur over på migranten. Er det virkelig migranten selv, der afviser assimilation og statsborgeskab? Har migranten bevæget sig hinsides begær efter asyl, opholdstilladelse, statsborgerskab, rettigheder, repræsentation og andre begærsobjekter, der afvises af mange migrationsteoretikere som reaktionære? Forestillingen om migranten som avantgardefigur – både i Agambens og Arendts forstand – spøger i teori om eksillitteratur og hænger ved i nyere kritik af migrant- og migrationslitteratur. Det man kan kalde avantgardeprojicering kan stilles over for begrebet om migranten som frarøvet enhver agens i den totale afmagt. Teorier om migrationens autonomi forsøger at navigere uden om disse to ekstremer – men kommer dog somme tider til at hælde til den første. Det gælder også Escape Routes. Ubemærkethedens politik og migrationens galskab

Escape Routes introducerer begrebet imperceptible politics, ubemærkethedens politik, der blandt andet er kendetegnet af objektløshed. Det er altså en politisk praksis, der er mål i sig selv – ikke ulig hrig, som det fremstilles i litteraturen. Her fremstår migration ikke kun som et middel – til velstand, succes, frihed eller andet - men i udpræget grad også som et begærsobjekt. Drømme om selve rejsen fylder mindst lige så meget som drømme om destinationen. Azel 7 Her er det frugtbart at forstå ”flygtning” som et bredere begreb, der inkluderer diverse migranter, end som den snævre, officielle, juridiske definition på ”flygtningen”.

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beskrives som ”besat[…] af tanken om at forlade landet en dag” hvad der giver genlyd i Azzouz’ beskrivelse af, hvordan ”tanken om at rejse havde trængt ind i mit sind, mere og mere krævende i takt med, at den modnedes og lagde beslag på alle mine tanker som en virus, der udslettede alle mine drømme undtagen drømmen om at rejse.” Ligesom Azzouz beskriver Azel sin ”besættelse” af at krydse strædet i sygeliggjorte termer, som galskab. Der er ingen tvivl om, at Ben Jelloun, Binebine og Elalamy fremstiller hrig’ens migration som autonom i den forstand, at migranternes begær efter selve bevægelsen overskrider alle push- og pull-effekters logik. Men som antydet fremstiller hriglitteraturen snarere migration som en smittefarlig epidemi, der rammer sagesløse ofre mod deres vilje - en virus, med Azzouz’ ord; en galskab, med Azels – end som aktive subjekters subversive praksisser. Dis-identifikation: Migrantens evige tilbliven

Manuela Bojadžijev og Serhat Karakayali, der var de første til at indføre begrebet om migrationens autonomi8, advarer mod at gøre migranten til spydspids for social forandring – det, Rafn har kaldt avantgardeprojiceringen. På samme måde tager Escape Routes afstand fra ”en heroisk glorificering af migrante kneb og taktikker”. Alligevel kritiseres teorier om migrationens autonomi oftest for at romantisere migration. Og på trods af Escape Routes’ samvittighedsfulde disclaimer, kan den ikke helt sige sig fri fra en sådan romantisering. Det gælder ikke mindst det afsnit, der rent faktisk handler om hrig. Her lægges der uforholdsmæssig stor vægt på dokumentaf8 I teksten ”Autonomie der Migration. 10 Thesen zu einer Methode” (2007)

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brændingens radikalt anti-assimilatoriske og anti-identifikatoriske potentiale, kaldet dis-identifikation. Det grænser til det jublende, når harraga’ernes dokumentafbrænding fremhæves som den absolutte afvisning af alle ønsker om identitet og inklusion i nogen nationalstat. Når man sammenligner med fremstillingen af hrig i skønlitteraturen, glimrer begæret efter europæiske dokumenter (og alt hvad det indebærer af rettigheder og privilegier) ved sit fravær. Som det fremstilles i især Partir og Cannibales, kendetegnes harragas af et lige så brændende begær efter nye, europæiske papirer, som de defineres af afbrændingen af deres gamle. I hriglitteraturen er harragafiguren langt fra hævet over at stræbe efter statsborgerskab og andre former for inklusion, repræsentation og rettigheder, som Escape Routes mellem linjerne tenderer til at afskrive som bagstræberisk. Tildelingen af både rettigheder og repræsentation kræver en fast defineret subjektivitet, en identitet, der ifølge Escape Routes netop står i modstrid til migration. Migration kendetegnes derimod netop af en evig og aldrig færdiggjort tilbliven: ”Migranters krav og migrationens dynamikker kan ikke udtømmes af kampen for synlighed og rettigheder. Det skyldes, at både synlighed og rettigheder fungerer som forskelsmarkører, der etablerer en klar forbindelse mellem en person og hans eller hendes oprindelse, krop og identitet. Og det er netop, hvad migranter gerne vil undgå. […] Hvad migranter i virkeligheden vil, er at blive til alle og enhver, at blive umærkelige.” Hvad der skurrer i ørerne her, er de tre teoretikeres skråsikre proklamering af, ”hvad migranter i virkeligheden vil”. Escape Routes understøtter ganske vist sin påstand om migranters begær efter dis-identifikation med empiriske eksempler. Flere af bogens informanter undergår navneskift, en dis-identifikatorisk strategi, der som nævnt også forekommer

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blandt migranter i både Les clandestins og Cannibales. Et andet centralt eksempel på dis-identifikation er det at skifte art: Escape Routes opregner en række eksempler på, hvordan migranter af sig selv eller andre associeres med forskellige dyr i en såkaldt ”frivillig dehumanisering”. Der forekommer da også adskillige dyremetaforer i hriglitteraturen – for eksempel sammenlignes harragas gennemgående med fisk i Les clandestins. Men spørgsmålet er, om der virkelig er tale om en ”frivillig dehumanisering”, eller snarere om nødvendige, taktiske forsøg på at undslippe kontrol – eller om tvungen umenneskeliggørelse, der pålægges migranterne ovenfra. Med udgangspunkt i hriglitteraturen er jeg mest tilbøjelig til at svare det sidste. Her indebærer migration ikke en frigørende og fandenivoldsk dis-identifikation, men snarere et dybt smertefuldt identitetstab, der i de fleste tilfælde har døden til følge. Men hvad hriglitteraturen og teorier om migrationens autonomi har til fælles, er fremstillingen af den udokumenterede migrant som en rent negativ identitet. Som jeg har været inde på, er opløsningen af migranternes identitet slående i både Partir, Cannibales og Les clandestins. Visse passager i Cannibales fremstår nærmest som manifester for ubemærkethedens politik og flugtens dis-identifikation i Escape Routes’ forstand, som her: ”Måske burde vi[…] være begyndt at øve os på fremtiden: Lære at blive usynlige, smelte ind i en menneskemængde, klistrende til murene, undgå øjenkontakt, aldrig tale til andre, begrave vores stolthed, lukke vores hjerter mod ydmygelser og krænkelser[…] lære at forsvinde, at være ingen: En skygge druknet i massen, en omstrejfende køter, en ydmyg regnorm, ja, en kakerlak. Ja, lære at blive en kakerlak.” Det lyder fuldstændig som et ekko af Escape Routes’ konceptualisering af flugt som tilbliven: ”Tropen at blive til dyr er kun én ud af flere taktikker, som mi-

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granter benytter sig af for at kræve deres bevægelsesfrihed. At blive kvinde, blive barn, blive ældre, blive jord, blive væske, blive dyr er migranters modsvar til forsøg på at kontrollere deres begær.”(mine fremhævninger). Ganske rigtigt forvandler harragas i Les clandestins og Cannibales sig (billedligt) til henholdsvis fisk og kryb, kakerlakker og køtere. Som nævnt forvandles Azel til et barn i den forstand, at hans migration medfører en stærkt umyndiggørende infantilisering. Og faktisk forvandler han sig også en enkelt gang til kvinde, da Miguel tvinger ham til at klæde sig ud som haremskvinde og optræde for sine gæster. Men Azels ”kønsskifte”, eller midlertidige drag, er netop ikke ”migrantens modsvar til forsøg på at kontrollere hans begær”, sådan som Escape Routes optimistisk tolker migrantens kønsskifte9. Det er ikke Azels eget begær, der gør ham til kvinde, men derimod Miguels stærkt eksotiserende og næsten parodisk orientalistiske begær. Azels ”bliven-til-kvinde” repræsenterer altså det stik modsatte af Escape Routes’ optimistiske begreber om migrant anti-identifikation: Ikke migrantens subversive agens og strategiske dis-identifikation, men hans objektgørelse, krænkelse og identitetstab. Her kan man sagtens kritisere Partir for at være heteronormativ. Spørgsmålet er imidlertid, om man kan kræve, at migranten skal være hævet over al normativitet, fra kønsidentitet til nationalstatslige rettigheder? Hvem bestemmer ”hvad migranter virkelig vil”? Og er det virkelig ”ikke at eksistere”, som Escape Routes proklamerer? Escape Routes kommer tæt på at idealisere udokumenterede migranters usynliggørelse som ekvilibristiske forsvindingsnumre. Hriglitteraturen fremstiller snarere usyn9 I øvrigt er det tankevækkende, at Escape Routes åbenbart kun kan forestille sig kønsskiftet fra cismandens perspektiv: ”bliven-til-kvinde”, ikke ”bliven-tilmand”.

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liggørelsen som udslettelse. Det gælder også i Les clandestins: Fiskemetaforen er ikke ”tropen at blive til dyr” som ”en af de taktikker, migranter benytter sig af for at kræve deres bevægelsesfrihed”, men mimer derimod vestlige mediers objektgørelse og dehumanisering af druknede bådmigranter. Til gengæld kan hriglitteraturen sagtens kritiseres for at være for konservativ og for ”offergørende”. Ikke mindst Partir fremstår i visse passager som en løftet pegefinger, der advarer letpåvirkelige unge mod at migrere. Men selvom dis-identifikationen hovedsageligt fremstilles negativt som et tab i Partir, Cannibales og Les clandestins, er karaktererne ikke kun sagesløse ofre for identitetskrise, usynliggørelse og druknedød. De legemliggør også den flugtens kreative kraft, der fremhæves i teorier om migrationens autonomi. Ubemærkethedens politik drives af fiktion og forestillingsevne, og i hriglitteraturen præsenteres fiktion og migration som to sider af samme eskapistiske sag. Fiktion, migration og eskapisme

Partir, Cannibales og Les clandestins fremstiller på én gang migration som drivkraft for fiktion og fiktioner af forskellige slags som drivkraft for migration. I Partir, Cannibales og Les clandestins er karaktererne ikke forfattere, men de opfinder på forskellige måder deres egne, fiktive universer. I alle tre tekster er de migrante karakterer kendetegnede af eskapistiske drømmerier og meget veludviklede forestillingsevner. Her lader migration ikke bare til at være en flugt fra fattigdom, forfølgelse eller håbløshed, men også til at være en flugt fra selve virkeligheden. I den drømmeagtige sekvens i Partirs sidste kapitel Revenir, der bryder med resten af romanens realisme, fabulerer karakteren Flaubert om at forsvinde ind i en roman. Navnet Flaubert er endnu et vink med en vognstang om forbindelsen mellem migranten og forfatteren, og

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det samme gælder Nâzim, som er opkaldt efter den tyrkiske digter Nâzim Hikmet. Den eneste form for fiktion, han selv skaber, er dog de mange løgne, han bliver tvunget til at fortælle om sig selv. Nâzims tragiske historie gør det klart, at migranten er mindst lige så meget fiktiv figur som forfatter. Azzouz påtager sig på sin vis en rolle som forfatter. Hans elskede lærerinde, den moderlige Sœur Bénédicte, præsenterer ham for klassiske, franske romaner og får ham til at opsummere dem for sig. Når Azzouz ikke har nået at læse en bog færdig, finder han snildt på en ny slutning. Senere opfinder han baggrundshistorier for de andre harragas. Samtidig afviser han eksplicit en rolle som forfatter: “Men jeg fantaserer, det er en vane, jeg har. Søster Bénédicte sagde altid, at jeg havde en tøjlesløs fantasi, at jeg ville blive forfatter engang. Og skrive om hvad, Søster? Fortælle om hvad? Fattigdom? Det gider folk ikke høre om, og slet ikke få kastet tilbage i ansigtet.” Hvis Azzouz finder den nordafrikanske virkelighed for grel til at skrive om, forestiller han sig til gengæld Europa som paradis. Men det viser sig kun at være i betydningen dødsrige, at Europa bliver et paradis for Cannibales’ bådmigranter. På forskellige måder fremstår alle tre tekster som advarsler mod de forførende fiktioner og drømme, der får virkelighedsfjerne harragas til at miste jordforbindelsen og brænde strædet. Virkelighedstab og forførende fiktioner: Litteratur som migration

Partir holder på flere måder fiktion ansvarlig for denne forvrængning af virkeligheden. For det første fiktion i betydningen fortællinger om det forjættede Europa og migrationens generelle lyksaligheder; myter af den slags, der trives blandt håbefulde migranter, og løgne af den slags, der spredes af menneskesmug-

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lere. For det andet fiktion i betydningen skønlitteratur, der spiller en overraskende stor rolle som drivkraft for karakterernes migration. Som nævnt er Azels håb om at blive genfødt i sin migration inspireret af Kafkas Forvandlingen, omend baseret på en misforståelse. Ligesom Kafka har hældt benzin på Azels begær efter at brænde strædet, har litteratur også fordrejet hovedet på Kenza: ”Hun havde en ophøjet forestilling om kærligheden […] som de film og romaner, hun elskede, beskrev så godt. Hun huskede især Alexandriakvartetten[…] Hun huskede også Borte med blæsten og Kameliadamen[…] Og det var også sådan, det var gået op for hende, at hun ikke ville finde en sådan kærlighed i Marokko.” Det er altså romaner, der har overbevist Kenza om nødvendigheden af at migrere. Partir peger yderligere på fiktionens betydning ved at fremmane ikke mindre end to af litteraturhistoriens mest berømte karakterer, kendte for at lide af virkelighedstab som følge af overdreven læsning. Den ene er Don Quixote, den anden er Madame Bovary. Madame Bovary påkaldes dog kun som et sporadisk, spøgelsesagtigt skær gennem navnet på hendes forfatter, Flaubert, som også er navnet på en karakter. Både Flaubert og Don Quixote er om bord på drømmeskibet Toutia, der sejler tilbage til Marokko fra Spanien i romanens sidste, formsprængende kapitel Revenir. En interessant detalje er, at de begge to rejser uden papirer. Det enhver harraga drømmer om, og som mislykkes så fatalt for så mange – at krydse Middelhavet uden dokumenter lykkes uden videre for de to litteraturhistoriske spøgelser. Kritikere af hriglitteratur har foreslået, at denne litteratur netop gør, hvad mange harragas ikke formår: krydser grænser. Flaubert sammenligner direkte skibet med en roman. Selv om det absolut kun er positivt, at vestlige læsere præsenteres for bådmigranters prøvelser i romanform, er pointen om hriglitteraturen som succesfuld

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migration i harraga’ens sted lige lovlig jublende. Ligegyldigt hvor godt en roman om hrig sælger i Europa, får det ikke flere harragas levende over Middelhavet. Det er værd at se nærmere på, hvilke figurer fra litteraturen, der har held til at krydse Middelhavet, og ikke mindst hvilken vej, de rejser. Don Quixote og Flaubert, der repræsenterer henholdsvis en spansk og en fransk klassiker og dermed begge Marokkos tidligere kolonimagter, rejser fra Europa til Afrika. Det lugter kraftigt af den særlige form for migration, der hedder kolonialisme. Det er en kendt, postkolonial pointe, at de tidligere kolonier stadig er udsat for kulturel imperialisme fra de forhenværende kolonimagters side. Postkoloniale læsere må stadig tage til takke med en eurocentrisk kanon, hvoraf meget er produceret af tidligere koloniherrer. Azzouz læser kun franske romaner på klosterskolen, og Azels og Kenzas fatale forhåbninger om migration er inspireret af vestlig litteratur, i hvis karakterer de spejler sig forvrænget - måske i mangel af mere passende spejlbilleder i litteraturen. Denne mangel er til gengæld noget, hriglitteraturen kan råde bod på. Mediekritik og dokumentation

En af Les clandestins’ harragafigurer, Jaafar, er kendt under øgenavnet Houlioud, Hollywood udtalt på vrængende arabisk, opkaldt efter det slumkvarter, han kommer fra. Et navn, der med tyk ironi ikke bare konnoterer rigdom og succes, men også blankpudsede, storslåede narrativer med lykkelige slutninger. Tekstens allersidste sætning negerer netop en sådan Hollywood ending: ”Og hvis der ingen musik er og ingen trommehvirvel, intet lærred og heller ingen billet, så er det for at sige, at for alle de druknede på stranden, så kan man sige hvad man vil, men det er ikke film, det her.” Det understreges flere gange, at det ikke er en film, vi har med at gøre.

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Hvor Cannibales og især Partir på forskellige måder fremstiller diverse former for fiktioner som drivkraft for migration, er Les clandestins meget optaget af at punktere alle former for fiktioner. Det første kapitel begynder ganske vist som et traditionelt eventyr: ”Der var engang en lille pige”, men det slutter med en negation af eventyret: ”De blev ikke gift, de levede ikke lykkeligt til deres dages ende.” Det er selvfølgelig ikke til at komme uden om, at Les clandestins vitterlig er fiktion. Men samtidig tager romanen gennem forskellige greb afstand fra det fiktive og inkorporerer træk af noget mere dokumentarisk. Sproget er spækket med halvfærdige sætninger og talestrømme uden tegnsætning. De mange skiftende fortællere med de forskelligartede, talesprogslignende stemmer får store dele af teksten til at minde om en række transskriptioner af fortalte vidnesbyrd. I sin helhed får teksten karakter af samvittighedsfuld dokumentation af drukneulykken et sted mellem nyhedsreportage, antropologisk undersøgelse og politiefterforskning. Hvis Les clandestins er et forsøg på at dokumentere hrig, kan det være for at råde bod på nyhedsmediernes fortielse eller forvrængning af fænomenet. Mediedækningen tematiseres og kritiseres direkte. I de nationale nyhedsmedier bliver de tretten druknede harragas reduceret til ”to uforsigtige svømmere”. Denne kraftige fordrejning kunne tyde på, at vi befinder os i hrig’ens tidlige år – de sene firsere eller tidlige halvfemsere – da de marokkanske medier så vidt muligt nedtonede den illegaliserede emigration. I dag går den marokkanske mediestrategi snarere ud på at afskrække bådmigranter in spe med voldsomme billeder af druknede harragas, samt at fokusere på succesfulde, statslige foranstaltninger

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til at begrænse hrig.10 I Partir, der foregår i de sene halvfemsere, får vi et glimt af myndighedernes brug af medierne til anti-hrig-skræmmekampagner. I europæiske medier har det aldrig skortet på historier om bådmigranter på Middelhavet, mange gange vinklet fra et EU-politisk grænsesikringsperspektiv. En af de mange måder, Les clandestins fortæller historien om den kæntrede båd på, er netop gennem de europæiske medier, nærmere bestemt gennem den spanske fotograf Alvaros linse. Opstillet i listeform, i et nøgternt, telegramagtigt sprog, gennemgår Alvaro detaljeret de makabre fotografier. Hans billeder repræsenterer den mest ekstreme reduktion af harragas til døde objekter og udstiller samtidig den europæiske eksotisering og objektificering af afrikanske flygtninge. Modvillige stemmer og mimen af mediediskursen

Les clandestins insisterer på sin egen utilstrækkelighed og påpeger igen og igen, hvad den ikke kan sætte ord på. Mange af fortællerne søger forgæves efter ord, men må give op, hvad der også bidrager til romanens præg af talesprogsagtig autenticitet og transskriberede vidnesbyrd. Menneskesmuglerfiguren får taletid i et enkelt kapitel, men diskvalificerer hurtigt sig selv som fortæller: ”Jeg kunne fortælle ét og andet[…] Men sagen er den, at jeg får ikke penge for at fortælle historier, men for at krydse strædet.” Også den alvidende fortæller kommer til kort over for ordene. Teksten begynder modvilligt med en narrativ falliterklæring: ”Der var engang en lille pige med øjne, jeg ikke kan beskrive, og et smil, jeg ved snart ikke[…] 10 De marokkanske myndigheders forsøg på at dæmme op for hrig er dog mest spil for galleriet, primært med det formål at pleje forholdet til EU. I virkeligheden har den marokkanske stat økonomiske interesser i emigration til Europa, da remitter udgør en betydelig indkomstkilde.

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Jeg ved ikke, en anden gang, måske.” En anden måde, hvorpå Les clandestins tematiserer (umuligheden af) repræsentation af hrig, er ved at mime mediediskursen og gøre brug af en af de mest brugte journalistiske metaforer for bådmigranter: fisken. Europæiske journalister har en forkærlighed for fiskerimetaforer i beskrivelser af bådmigration. Les clandestins sammenligner flere gange migranterne med fisk, men reapproprierer også den dehumaniserende kliché på en måde, der genopretter migranternes menneskelighed: ”Mærkelige fisk lå spredt rundt på stranden. Fisk så store, at de kunne have været mennesker, gud se i nåde til os, de ligner mennesker, du almægtige skaber, de er mennesker! Og gud, det er vores mennesker!” Også Partir inkorporerer et mediekritisk spor. Flere af karaktererne brokker sig en passant over aviserne. Men det er den orakelvise galning Moha, der giver det klareste fingerpeg i retning af, hvor teksten vil hen med sin ellers lidt henkastede mediekritik. På en café i Tanger sætter han ild til en avis med en hilsen til harraga’ernes dokumentafbrænding og trækker dermed en forbindelse mellem de to former for dokumentation, der fylder så meget i hriglitteraturen: Dokumentation i betydningen identitetspapirer og dokumentation i betydningen vidnesbyrd. Moha brænder avisen i frustration over dens løgne om regeringens succes med at bekæmpe emigration og arbejdsløshed. Interessant nok anklager han altså avisens indhold for at være fiktivt. Når aviserne er fiktion, må litteraturen måske blive dokumentation?

form for dokumentation af det underbelyste eller fejlrepræsenterede fænomen hrig. Jeg vil vove at kalde hriglitteratur en art vidnesbyrdlitteratur: Fiktion, der bærer vidnesbyrd om udokumenterede bådmigranter og dokumenterer deres udokumenterede død. Harragas er udokumenterede i både juridisk og repræsentationsmæssig forstand: De er papirløse og de er under- eller fejlrepræsenterede i forskellige diskurser. Begge former for dokumentation – identitetspapirer og repræsentation – er med til at konstituere, hvad der tæller som menneskeligt. Hrig litteraturen kan ikke stille meget op over for førstnævnte form for udokumenterethed, men den kan gøre modstand mod fortielse og fejlrepræsentation ved at skrive alternative, nuancerede historier om harragas. Hriglitteraturens særlige, sorgfulde dokumentation af den udokumenteredes død bevæger sig i nekrologens eller elegiens grænseland, og sådan kan litteraturens fremstilling af migrantfiguren være med til at gøre migranten sørgbar og dermed menneskelig. Og i disse tider er det mere bydende nødvendigt end nogensinde før at se kritisk på repræsentationen af migrantfiguren. Teksten er en forkortet og bearbejdet version af specialet At brænde strædet (Københavns Universitet 2015) En litteraturliste findes på side 113.

Vidnesbyrd om den udokumenterede(s) død

Når aviserne er fiktion, må litteraturen blive dokumentation. Selv om Les clandestins er sig pinefuldt bevidst om sin egen teksts utilstrækkelighed, er den, ligesom Partir og Cannibales, uomtvisteligt en

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Waiting for Asylum by Reem Zakzouk

I it’s a real dilemma you know on which ground to plant your feet …..

and to stay, swinging…between yesterday and now your skin oozing sweat your eyes burning with tears your blood pumping veins ….

your sorrow folded by your agony …..

you are not important, not registered …..

not even a box, ticked by a pin not a minority to condole your fate not a majority to melt in your anger you are damned here on your father’s pants hang a thousand condemning question and every child in your legacy is punished from the number on your birth certificate to your death certificate you can’t even own the dirt of your tomb …..

you are alone, alone coming with your twisted le foot and the mark of your tragedy upon your temples

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II a wailing sound

no one will ask about you

in deaf space

you renounced yourself so you won’t suffer

in stone cold place

and you have suffered because you resembled no one

where warm things are lost

alone you choke

and nothing is important

this wolf that eats your heart

no details

you jail it in the routine’s tomb

no worries

believe what you want

your home is far away

reject what you want

a legend story told long ago

maybe you will prove you have a voice

an echo deep inside

go with the tide

repeating when you are alone

or let the tide draw you

and you weep because you are lonely

what’s the difference?

because you are a stranger

you are a stranger you are alone

because you are no one and without no one no one will mourn you

Reem Zakzouk is a stateless Palestinian poet born in Saudi Arabia and currently living in Sweden. The poems are written in Arabic and translated into English by the writer herself.

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Dansk oversættelse på side 114

Underground Revolution by K. S., a Syrian writer in Sweden illustrations by Casper Øbro

They had tied my wrists together behind my back very tightly; the coarse rope almost cut my hands. Somebody was pulling my arms; his hand grabbed my neck just below the knot in the smelly piece of fabric they had used to blindfold me. I could see nothing, only hear their voices whispering: “He must be killed; he is effeminate... a sinner.” My body started shaking and sweating very heavily despite the pain and the chilly weather. I felt the beads of sweat dripping from my forehead. I had never known the meaning of fear before that moment, when I realized that I was standing on the uppermost ledge of a high building. My body was buffeted by gusts of strong wind. “Throw him, push him, such a sinner... a Luti; he is one of those people of Lut.” The hand around my neck released its grip; a push and I felt my body falling into the void. I woke up in panic, my eyes wide open, and yet I could see nothing. Breathless, I instantly touched my face and grabbed at the sleep mask I had forgotten. I was floating in a sea of sweat on the narrow bed in the room I had been sleeping in since my arrival at the asylboende in Åseda. A strong smell of nicotine seeped in from under the door. I could hear the voices of men talking in the kitchen. Feeling dizzy, I groped for my mobile phone under the bed. It was 10 am. Slowly, I walked towards the kitchen to prepare coffee. I opened the door and a thick cloud of smoke hit me. My

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roommate and the friends who had come to visit him were sitting at the table smoking and having a lively conversation in Arabic. I tried, with difficulty, to smile. They were talking about the breaking news, how Daesh had taken over several schools in the area they were brutally ruling. “Coffee is ready,” my flatmate said. “What kind of education are these criminals giving to the children?” one of the men said as he stubbed his cigarette in the ashtray. “Assad’s regime is killing our children and Daesh is turning them into extremists and terrorists,” added another. Still feeling shaken, I interrupted them: “Do you also know that Daesh is killing homosexual men? They throw them from high buildings.” “Homosexuals? Ah, you mean those inverts!” said another while he lit a cigarette. All nodded, and the one who had told of children being turned into fanatics added: “Those inverts are mentioned in the Quran as sinners. We never heard of this sickness until we arrived in Sweden, of these sins that some refugees acquired in Europe.” They did not show any empathy with the gay people murdered by Daesh. Suddenly, I realized that my nightmare was still real, present at the kitchen table in the asylboende.

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I looked at them, how they were smoking; their heads were wreathed in acrid smoke. My tongue was frozen, paralysed. Am I silent even in Sweden? I returned to my room feeling defeated. There, in that minuscule cubicle, sitting on the bed, a profound spell of emptiness took over my whole body. And yet I decided to fight the sadness that had become my daily companion. I instinctively grabbed my notebook and for the first time in months I started to write: “From now on, it will no longer be a secret. Once, I read somewhere that there would be no real change until we own our bodies, and I must fight for that; I must tell people about this invisible world that has remained underground too long.” Hammam Ammouneh

In a narrow street in the Alamara neighbourhood of the old city lay the modest Hammam Ammouneh. Ammouneh was a female name common during the Ottoman period. Its entrance was a tiny door hidden under an arch near the Grand Mosque. The owner, who jokingly called me “kitty” as I was his youngest client, welcomed me. I handed him my wallet and he put it in a small locker, handing me the key on a bracelet. I was alone in the barrani. The changing room was lit with two fluorescents lamps. I undressed and wrapped the towel around my waist. My heart was pounding very fast. I looked at the workers rolling up the towels and smiling and, for some strange reason, I felt better. I was so excited to go inside the haven; my young body trembled in anticipation of what might lie ahead. I grabbed a piece of laurel soap and a sponge, then pushed open the door into the wastani, a small room with a bare light bulb hanging in the centre. A rotten smell coming from the toilets whipped my nose. On the left side there was a group of bearded men, also wrapped in towels and sitting on a bench; they stared at me and I felt embarrassed to

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look back, so I walked to the aljowani. The steam was not strong, and the smell of laurel filled the room. I was too shy to make eye contact and kept looking at the flaking old walls. At the rear, I could see two rooms with no doors, just a towel hanging as a curtain. There were two men bending over next to the entrance, seemingly warning people to stay away. I found a corner near a tap of hot running water and I sat on the floor, from where I could peek through the gap below the hanging towel to see the robust legs of two men moving. The hairy legs knelt down, slowly touching the wet floor. My young body was immersed in this new sensation, boiling with the desire to look and embarrassed to be seen. Suddenly, a moustached man appeared out of nowhere and asked in an affected manner, “is this your first time here?” I nodded as I glanced over his body. His skin was unusually white and smooth, and he looked to be in his forties. I noticed the strange way he had wrapped his towel, as if wearing a miniskirt. “My name is Sahar,” he whispered as he pointed to the tattoo on his left shoulder. I was surprised to see that the name was missing a letter so that it read Sahr, which is a female name. He asked if I liked to be addressed in the feminine, to which I said that I preferred not to. He laughed loudly at my response. “All of you say that on your first visit,” he declared, staring at me with his big eyes, “and later you change. Anyway, it is better to be a top man in this fucking society… and it is not easy to be Sahar,” he concluded as he touched his chest with a mannered gesture. He leant in even closer and I could feel his breathing. “Abu Imad wants to have sex with you in one of these small rooms,” he winked. “Say yes and you will never regret it.” I felt like my blood had frozen imagining how my feet would change position behind the curtains. Sahar splashed water on my head: “Hey, do you want Abu Imad or what? He is in a rush.” I was curious to see what Abu Imad looked like, so I said yes.

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Abu Imad was in his late thirties; a hunky body with a bearded face and some grey hair. He looked like one of those men from the countryside around Damascus. I was right: he told me he was from Douma as he offered me a cigarette. He seemed like a nice man and he made me feel comfortable. He told me he worked as a taxi driver, was married and was the father of a five-year-old boy. It felt odd to know all of this before a sexual encounter, but I tried to stay cool. Then, he asked my permission to leave and pray in the barrani; he apologised, saying that he had to do the Maghrib prayer before he missed it. He left me alone and confused. Why all these personal details? Did he leave me abruptly because he felt regret? Maybe he did not like me? Perhaps he was a policeman and wanted to be sure that I was gay before coming back with others to arrest me? Suddenly, the hammam filled me with a sense of entrapment. Abu Imad came back wearing his sexy smile. He gently asked me to follow him back to the aljowani. We entered the room, and taking off his towel, he hung it on the door and gently invited me to strip off mine. I came back to Ammouneh many times after that. I realised that Abu Imad was not the only married man there; most of the men who came from the countryside around Damascus were. Even Sahar had a wife and children. He explained to me that most of the clients were likewise: before marriage they would come to Hammam Ammouneh

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to have sex, as they could not meet women, and some of them would continue visiting even after marrying. Others would never return. Personally, I liked the idea of meeting gay men to talk to more than to have sex with. I preferred straight men for sex. Every time I visited Hammam

Ammouneh I felt at home. I no longer cared about the uncleanliness; I was focusing on people, flesh and blood. Afterwards I felt free, walking on my own, wandering through the narrow alleys and feeling like singing and jumping as I discovered that there were so many people like me. I never felt alone again. My elder brother, who shared a flat with me, used to say how clean I looked every time I came back from Ammouneh. Hammam Alemareye

In 2003 I was in my third year at Damascus University studying English Literature. Every Friday I would visit the public baths. Exposing my nakedness to strangers in the hammams gave me more confidence, and I became more comfortable with my body. One evening I was walking the narrow Alemareye Street, passing under the oval arches and jasmine vines that covered the busy street, its crowded coffee shops and bakeries, its outlets selling kitchenware, clothes, prints‌ I was passing by the hammam when a group of men came out talking

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cheerfully. It was clear that they were gay. Hammam Alemareye was slightly more expensive than Ammouneh. The place had been recently renovated. It was well-lit and shiny marble tiles covered the floor and the lower parts of the walls. The owners were always friendly with the clientele, which also included tourists. The staff tried to discern the sexual orientations of first-time visitors and whether they were genuine clients or secret police hunting gay people. The baths opened in the morning for women only; in the evening, men would find items left behind, such as combs, hair clips, scarves and even lingerie, which they would wear and laugh. The atmosphere was relaxed and the men looked more educated and less conservative than in Hammam Ammouneh. Sometimes, if in a playful mood, the staff would switch off the lights and the place would become a series of dark rooms in which bodies would engage in furtive sexual encounters. Years later, I met there a handsome gay Iraqi man. He told me that he had migrated to Sweden in 2005 and lived in Malmö, but he later came to Damascus to join his mother and sister, who had fled to Syria as refugees. I was excited to learn about gay life in Sweden. We sat on a marble diwan in the aljowani. He confessed that gay life in Sweden was not as exciting as in Damascus. I was surprised to hear this, as I had always thought of Sweden as a country where gays enjoyed their sexuality openly. “Hammam Alemareye is an amazing place for gays to meet,” he declared. “Look around: more than a hundred men came today, on a weekday. All of them are easy-going and chatting to each other. It is impossible to find a place like this in Sweden.” He smiled at my incredulity and continued, “Gay saunas are almost non-existent in Sweden.” He admitted his luck in living in Malmö, however, where he could travel to Copenhagen to visit Amigo Sauna. I looked at his body, well-toned and muscled. He rambled on about how he felt that

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homosexual Swedes would not mix with gay Arabs, except for a few. “Maybe they are afraid of us as strangers, but I can tell from my experience that most of them look at me like a sex machine. Sometimes they picked me up in a nightclub to fuck, and the next morning I would have to leave without even time for a coffee; sometimes they wouldn’t even greet me when I met them in the street later.” On the other side, he added that “some Arab gays don’t like to meet and sleep with Swedes; they don’t like the uncut men, as they find them smelly and unclean.” I asked him if Sweden is safe for gay Arabs. “Many gay Arabs are afraid to come out because they live with their families in suburbs. They still feel shy and insecure within a community with conservative ideas.” After a pause, he asked me to stop talking in a political way or as if it were a radio interview. He carried on talking about his favourite sauna in Copenhagen: the dark rooms, the S&M and fetish rooms, the video rooms showing porn movies. Al-Hamra Street

In the summertime, the hammams were almost empty and scarcely visited by gay men. They preferred to spend time in the parks, squares and swimming pools. During the warm nights, there was more gay activity in open spaces like Al-Hamra Street, in the Shaalan quarter. This district came to life during a period of regeneration. Its origins were closely attached to the colonial era of the French Mandate as well as to the local and regional resistance to the League of Nations’ idea that Syria was not yet ready for full independence. The population of this quarter reflected these realities, with well-off Muslim and Christian residents living side by side with embassies, consulates and other international institutions. Several shops selling Western and imported products opened on the street during this era; nestling in among the carpenters, metal furniture shops and falafel makers, one could also find the latest fashionable and trendy clothes from

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the West, offered up by successful traders to a clientele of both locals and foreigners. This lively crowd filling the street gave way to other visitors after night fell. Cars began a rhythmic movement, driving back and forth along the double lanes of Al-Hamra as others walked under the street lamps, waiting for a signal that identified the desire to meet. It was dangerous to stop, so everyone kept on the move, watching and trying to make out the physical appearance of the others through the darkness. There was no place for sex, so once the contact was made they would drive home or to a hammam. My aunt lived in Shaalan, and one night after I visited her in 2002, I decided to walk back home through Al-Hamra, thinking that perhaps I could meet somebody on my way. As I walked, a taxi pulled up by my side and two men stepped out of the car. One of them approached me, raising his hand as if he wanted to greet me. As I raised my hand to return his greeting, he abruptly handcuffed me, pushing me inside the car. They took my ID card and started to insult me, saying that I was a pervert who liked dicks and that perhaps my mother and sisters liked them even more. I had not had time to react until now, and burst out crying; nobody had ever spoken to me like this before. The policeman hit my neck as the driver asked: “What were you doing here?” I was terrified that they would blackmail me. “I was visiting my aunt,” I managed to say. “Is your aunt a prostitute like you?” the other man asked. I could not move as they were also restraining my shoulders. I told him that my aunt was a TV presenter and gave them her name. They stopped the car and I explained that I was visiting my aunt and that they had arrested me without any reason. “You can call her,” I challenged them. They fell mute. The driver ordered them to

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give me back my ID card, release the handcuffs and let me go, and they did. I ran home and looked at the marks on my wrists, which were bleeding. I wondered: what would have happened if my aunt were not a public figure? I spent a week at home, afraid of going out, even to university. Every time the phone rang my heart started to beat faster. I thought of Ammouneh and what somebody there had once said: “Hammams are safe because it is normal to find naked men, and there is nothing suspicious there.” In December 2005, I read in the news that the government had closed Hammam Ammouneh because the building was too old. However, when I met Sahar in the street he told me that the secret police had raided the premises and arrested the owners and the clients who were inside. “I was lucky not to be there that day,” he added. It was the first time I had met Sahar in the street after all those years; he looked homeless now that Ammouneh was closed. “But there is an interesting place similar to Ammouneh’s atmosphere, Cinema Byblos,” he concluded, and disappeared down the busy street. A phone call with my asylum case officer

Everything I had written so far turned my tiny bed into a flying carpet and took me back to Damascus; I could get a sniff of the streets in the old city and overhear the conversation of men in the hammams; I could feel the hot water flowing between my feet. I felt nostalgic for each of the places I recalled so vividly. I asked: is it true that my roommate and his friends don’t know anything about the real lives of so many men? Or do they just deny it to protect themselves? Why didn’t they show any sympathy, at least? It was scary. I thought of them as simply uneducated people and victims of ignorant societies. I wondered: how can I convince

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them that being gay is something special and not a sin? I grabbed my mobile phone and walked toward the window that overlooked the small cemetery in Åseda. I rang the asylum officer who was dealing with my case and asked her if she had any new information, three months on from my interview. “Unfortunately, there is no news,” she apologised. I asked if she knew that Daesh had sentenced a gay man to death by stoning after he was thrown off a building, accused of ‘sodomy’. She didn’t know about it, and I felt disappointed. “Gay men were also killed secretly by the Assad regime during the war because they refused to join the army,” I said. As I was talking, I could sense incipient sadness building up inside me. “You know, it’s not easy to live and share a space with straight men openly deriding gay people,” I added. She promised to do her best, and hung up. I closed the window as I did not want to see the cemetery, I did not want to think of death; I had come to Sweden to survive the terror I had lived in past years, a terror that I had just started to come to terms with. I went back to my notebook and I found the last words I had written: Cinema Byblos. Cinema Byblos

“Walk through Almarja Square towards Alnaser Street,” Sahar told me. “You will see the Siddiq Restaurant on your left hand side.

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Continue straight and you will find a display window with a big photo advertising a movie; that is Cinema Byblos.” As I crossed the square, I felt like everyone around me knew where I was heading. I arrived at the cinema and stood in front of the poster of a famous Syrian film, ‘I’ll Die Twice and Love You’, released in 1976 and starring the actress Ighraa. The photograph showed her looking at the camera with a lust filled gaze. Throughout her career, Ighraa remained a symbol of openness, breaking the boundaries of what was permitted in an Arab film. I stood looking at her eyes, a mixture of vulnerability and desire. The powerful image has stuck in my memory since that day. I paid the 25 Syrian Lira to the old man at the box office and entered the cinema. I walked slowly, driven more by curiosity than sexual desire. The entrance hall was painted in flamboyant pink and covered by gaudy posters and raw photographs of female bodies on display. They were from old Syrian films from the ’70s, with very peculiar titles like ‘Summertime Girls’, ‘Girls for Winter’, ‘Dancer on the Wounds’ and ‘Bride from Damascus’. I thought of a Syrian proverb: Hell needs firewood. I felt like Ighraa was inviting me into a forbidden world. I saw two old men smoking; they smiled at me. I descended into the cinema. As I passed

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them, I wondered when they also fell into this haram lifestyle, this hidden realm in which Ighraa was the goddess. “I will make my body a bridge and let Syrian cinema pass on,” she had declared in 1972. “I love Ighraa,” I said to myself. Cinema Byblos had a ground floor and a mezzanine with extra seating. The hall was dark, only lit by the flickering light coming from the screen onto which an old black-and-white film was projected. The place was certainly dirtier than Hammam Ammouneh. A strong smell of nicotine nested in each seat and the carpet. I left the auditorium holding my hand over my mouth and feeling sick. Outside, I saw a sign for the toilets on my left and I went in. I heard the noise of footsteps coming up from the toilets and smelled a strong odour. Two men were standing at the broken urinals touching each other. A third man appeared from the cubicle next to them and after kneeling down started to suck one man’s dick diligently while the other watched. I left at once, fearing that the secret police might break into the place at any moment. After the disgusting odour that inhabited the toilets, I now found the smell of nicotine almost bearable, so I returned to the cinema hall. My eyes searched the shapes projected onto the walls as I became used to the darkness. The Arabic dialogue of the film was the only sound filling what was otherwise an empty space. I understood why the smell was so horrid when I spotted the gleam of liquid on the floor. I decided to walk up to the mezzanine. As I got up there, a hand grabbed my arm firmly. I could distinguish the big eyes; he greeted me in the way I knew so well. “Hello, it’s Sahar,” he said, and told me about the cinema, how the visitors come to cruise in the darkness. Suddenly he disappeared, as fast as he had shown up. I was left thinking about why he was always in gay places, why he wanted to know everyone. He was not at Hammam Ammouneh during the police raid, so I could not stop wondering if he was a double agent after all.

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The lights came on suddenly and blinded me for a few seconds. Then I saw the place for the first time. Rows of rotten seats, in which people were sleeping so deeply that the light did not wake them. Other men who were standing seemed to be poor villagers, wearing the traditional jallabiyah. The forbidden paradise turned into a decrepit slum for impoverished gay men. A man came in with two plastic cups of tea. I felt disgusted: how could anybody buy and drink tea in such an inhospitable place? In this momentary break between films, a loud, danceable beat started pounding like firecrackers from the speakers. I could hear Sahar’s voice downstairs so I approached the balcony and saw him belly dancing, surrounded by the now awakened audience. At that moment, I looked at him in a different way. His laugh now seemed suspicious, and I could not escape that feeling, particularly when he grasped my hand again and invited me to join him. I decided to leave the place. That was not the end; I went back to Byblos many times. After all the years of going to hammams, this cinema gave me the opportunity to talk to a different kind of gay men. Humble people in their sixties would spend the evenings chatting and just being there. I was curious to know about their lives in the ’50s and ’60s. Over time I felt increasingly safe in this invisible world, as if we were members of a secret fraternity. Later I realised that despite the trouble I got into I could manage to survive and I was learning and becoming stronger. Gays online

New technology was spreading widely in Syria. Although it was still expensive: smartphones, laptops and 3G connections were now available. In 2007, there had been several attempts by the Assad regime to block social networks such as Facebook; however, sex websites and gay networks such as Manjam remained open, reaching more than

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one thousand members in Damascus along with several hundred more from other provinces. Manjam was my virtual window to talk to other gay people from other Arabic countries, including Egypt and the Gulf states. I also skipped into Europe and started chatting with gay Europeans. I was interested to learn about their lives and culture, gay marriage and gay places; simultaneously, I realised that European gay men who contacted me through social media were only interested in sex. I could see that they had this orientalist fantasy about dark skin and bearded men as hypersexual bodies. Once, I had a chat with an Austrian gay man who told me that he was looking for an Arab husband who could treat him like a wife; this was his fantasy. As for me, I told him how much I was yearning to just be myself. This Austrian man told me about a Lebanese guy who was arranging trips for gay Western tourists to Syria and the Middle East. He connected me with him through Manjam, and I started chatting with him. He told me more about his job and admitted that Damascus had become a sexual destination for many gay tourists from Europe and the USA. He added that gay tourists were increasingly more interested in Damascus than Beirut, as the Syrians seemed more authentically Arab than the Westernised Lebanese men. Months later, he called me to say that he was coming to Damascus with a group from Finland. The five blonde men were staying at the Oriental Hotel near Bab Touma. We arranged to meet at the square and I showed them around the old city. We stopped at a touristy coffee shop called Alnoufara, close to the Ummayad Mosque. They had already visited one of the hammams and were impressed with the numbers of gay men inside the public baths. It never crossed their minds that this was the only safe place where gay men in Syria could meet and be themselves. They didn’t realize that there were no

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gay bars, except for secretly friendly places like Saray, Murmur and Matador, all of them in Bab Touma and Bab Sharqi. One night I took them to Murmur; it was a movie night there, and they were showing ‘Dreamgirls’, starring Beyoncé, and we danced until 3 am. As we strolled past the ancient walls, I told them that I felt happy to live in Damascus despite the challenges and dangers I faced as a gay man. Underground revolution

The story will never end; many stories in other places are still secrets. But it seems that if you are a homosexual from Syria, you will always live with challenges and struggle for your rights, even in Sweden. I was hiding my sexual identity from my family and close friends even after the war. Before, I was afraid to be jailed, to lose my job or even my social life and respect. I recalled how every second made me brave and strengthened me, and I felt inspired by the children of Daraa who started the Syrian revolution in March 2011 and wrote about freedom on the walls of their school. I took my pen and went underground, down to the laundry room in the basement of the asylboende. I started writing on the walls: Gays have rights here! Gays are human beings! Homosexuality is not a sickness! Don’t attack gays, support them! Love your son if he is gay! If you are a victim of ignorance, read! Gays struggle with the ignorance of society, not with God! The chapters are excerpts from a coming novel.

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Keeping Warm in Cold Country by Kristian Vistrup - illustration by Anil Kuhn

When you exit the metro at Christianshavn in Copenhagen you see a number of statues known as the Greenland Monument. They were made from red granite by the Danish sculptor Svend Rathsack after he had spent six weeks in the arctic colonies in 1931. Around the same time there had been some controversy around the Danish presence in eastern Greenland – Norway also had colonial ambitions – so perhaps that helped the municipality’s decision to sponsor the work. The monument centres on a hunter with his kayak, standing proud and erect in the middle of the square on a tall, slender pedestal. On either side

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of him, closer to the ground, two clusters of women are working: one skinning a seal, another cleaning cod, catching small salmon with a net, keeping watch. Resting on the kayak is an inflated pig’s bladder. Svend Rathsack was a sculptor of the neoclassicist school. Underneath this noble savage, the postcolonial social case. Frequently drunk, mostly homeless Greenlanders have found a place to lean and to gather by the statues. Do they feel celebrated by them? Honoured and proud by this recognition in the capital? Do they come here because they feel at home under the kayak, or to protest the obscenity of it? A half-live diorama, they figure a violence rarely spoken about. We, the Danes, only know Greenlanders like this, drunk or mythical, mythically drunk, and by association from the little figurine on the queen’s bureau, carved from tusk or bone that we see when she gives her speech on New Year’s Eve. Sometimes the little princes and princesses go up there to wear kamiks and colourfully embroidered collars and play with sleigh dogs. There is a colonial relationship here that remains insufficiently addressed and insufficiently post – it is embarrassing and offensive. It is convenient for us, the Danes, that Greenland and Greenlanders remain neatly within this benign binary, but between the statues and the people at Christianshavn there is something else going on. Something at once unresolved and defiant; a being there that refuses to recede into the background. As if fire could be produced from the friction between flesh and stone. ‘The one who goes to the mountain’, it means, in Greenlandic: Qivittoq – a dark and mysterious outline against the white of the ice – but it also functions in language like: don’t go qivittoq. Please, let’s make a pact to stop each other from ever going qivittoq. It happens when the heart breaks, from unrequited love or losing face. You simply leave your village and go to live on the mountain until you die (which you will do pretty quickly, in the cold). According to myth, he – for it is always a man – who goes qivittoq will in time be taken over by the spirits of nature, and return to the village with the wind to seek revenge for the injustice that led to his departure. Qivittoq is the appeal of exodus as political strategy, a gesture somewhere in between defiance and defeat, as well as a thinly veiled discourse on suicide, a different name for someone who is no longer wanted. The first ever Greenlandic novel was Sinnattugaq (The Dream) by Mathias Storch published in 1914. Although he was not educated in Denmark, to the dismay of his Danish colleagues Storch became the first Greenlander to be appointed pastor. Storch lived in Illulisat on the west coast of the island where, today, one of the world’s greatest glaciers is melting away. At the time he was considered one of the most important Greenlandic voices in the political debate. In Sinnattugaq, the two friends Pavia and Silas make this pact: to promise to stop the other from ever going qivittoq. But, when Silas loses the girl he loves to his brother, Pavia is away for schooling in Nuuk, unable to stop him. Silas goes to the mountain. Devastated upon receiving the news, Pavia is about to go qivittoq himself, when he falls asleep over his books and has a dream: Greenland, 200 years later, is

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enlightened, educated, bilingual and independent. A wakeup call to end colonial humiliation. From then on, Pavia dedicates himself to the cause. In the 1915 introduction to the Danish translation, the reader is warned not to expect any literary finesse from the novel – ‘for in that, one would put too great and unjust demands on a Greenlandic author’ – but, it is acknowledged, Storch never intended it for Danish readers. More so than any issues pertaining to finesse, perhaps this was the problem: literary independence. The enlightenment of Greenland didn’t happen quite as Storch had imagined. Rather, like a summerhouse in winter, the colony fell into disrepair while Denmark was occupied during the Second World War. After a devastating tuberculosis epidemic, the Danish government came under pressure from the United Nations in the early 1950s to prove that it could still manage the island. This pressure was fuelled by increasing interest in the territory from the United States, causing some desperation for the tiny colonising power. As an experiment, a group of children were taken away from their families in Greenland to learn Danish language and customs. They would forget their own language and have their skin bleached under bright lights, before being carefully reinserted into the society they came from. Lighter, brighter, more civilised, they were intended as models for other children to aspire to. In this, one of the darkest moments in Danish colonial history, it becomes clear that enlightenment was never a metaphor, it’s a procedure. Around the same time, Storch’s story was loosely adapted for the screen featuring Danish cinema’s favourite heartthrob of the decade, Poul Reichhardt, and a rich measure of racial stereotyping. Qivitoq, as the film was called – there is some disagreement about the spelling – was a great spectacle of colonial exoticism, and the first Danish film to be nominated for an Oscar. If this honour is any indication, US-incited UN qualms about Danish rule in Greenland had been appeased, and the qivittoq twisted by the arm in the process. A lecturer of cultural studies at the University of Copenhagen, Kirsten Thisted suggests that in using the trope of the qivittoq in his novel, Storch is responding to a precedent set in late 19th century Scandinavian literature about Greenland. In fact, the Greenlanders themselves have time and time again criticised the qivittoq-motif, and revealed it as mere superstition and a vehicle for slanderous gossip about suspected suicides. Thisted argues that the use of the theme in Danish colonial literature has remained consistent all the way up to Peter Høeg in the 1990s. His book Miss Smilla’s Sense of Snow won some international acclaim, and appeared on screen the world over in 1997 with the British actress Julia Ormond in the role of Smilla, an inuit woman –perhaps to have a Greenlander play the part would have been to posit too great and unjust demands, or perhaps there was just no time to bring the bright lights back out.

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It is easy to see the appeal of the qivittoq to the colonial subconscious: the mysterious native, possessed by the untameable powers of nature. Also: the qivittoq leaves! Throws in the towel, gives up, and it’s cold— nobody knows about the spirits, but everyone is sure of the cold, that it will kill you. Exodus might be a powerful gesture, but as a political protest, it is impotent. Impotent and mysterious, that’s how the Danes like their Greenlanders. So much so that the problem of homeless, alcoholic greenlanders is often read by Danes as a modern day qivittoq. Based on the scene at Christianshavn, I disagree. Those Greenlanders are not going to the mountain, they are precisely and adamantly staying in town. Remember, there is friction. Like Storch, Niviaq Korneliussen first published her novel HOMO Sapienne in Greenlandic, but unlike him, she translated it into Danish herself. She wrote it for the other young people in Greenland, she said in an interview to Danish Radio, wrote it for the gay, bisexual and trans communities, and to say nothing about nature and nothing about alcoholism. It remains defiantly in place, in sexual encounters, in heated politics; in HOMO Sapienne there are none of the detached observations, no qivittoq, out there, freezing to death. Here is a recipe for keeping warm in cold country: stay by the fire. One of the characters writes in his diary: ‘the island has run out of oxygen, the island is festering’. So he has to leave for Copenhagen. Not that he likes the Danes, or wants to be like them or liked by them – he doesn’t think they are fun – but as a young queer person, what else can he do? He continues: ‘our country, which is ancient, go to the mountain and never come back, stop being so fucking pretentious.’1 His leaving is a rejection of the qivittoq-motif. In a mode of confrontation, he breaks the pact; lets the land collapse onto the mountain if it wants to, but he has no choice but to tackle what is already there among the houses and the people. It is worth noting again that the qivittoq is always the strong male, always the hunter with the kayak on the tallest pillar in the middle of the square. Also Rathsack was very specific about which fish the women statues are catching with their nets: the angmagssak, a small, almost see-through type of salmon that comes close enough to be reached from the shore. Not the mountain: the shore, the town, the centre, when you come out of the metro, is the best place to be, and to be seen to be, antagonistic. Keep close, keep watching out, keep rubbing up against the structure, because what else can you do to stay warm?

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Dagens ret i Udrejsecenter Sjælsmark Dish of the Day in Sjælsmark Deportation Center af Paula Nimand Duvå

BESPISNING

Du tilbydes bespisning i centerets cafeteria tre gange dagligt. Bespisning foregår kun på bestemte tidspunkter, som fremgår af opslag ved cafeteriaet. DINING

You are offered dining in the cafeteria three times a day. Dining only takes place at certain times, which are posted in the cafeteria.

udrejsecenter.dk/husorden-p%C3%A5-udrejsecenter-sj%C3%A6lsmark

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Dagens ret: Kylling, ris, råkost, thousand island dressing, flute Dish of the Day: Chicken, rice, salad, thousand island dressing, baguette

Dagens ret: Hakkebøf, kartofler, salat Dish of the Day: Hamburger, potatoes, salad

Dagens ret: Frikassé, pasta Dish of the Day: Fricassee, pasta

Dagens ret: Okseinderlår, kartofler, grønt, sovs Dish of the Day: Roast beef, potatoes, vegetables, gravy

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Dansk oversættelse side 125

From Sjælsmark Deportation Center conducted by Paula Duvå and Nicoline Sylvest Simonsen

The following text is composed of transcribed excerpts of recordings produced by The Bridge Radio. With statements from inhabitants, the recordings describe the surroundings and conditions of the everyday life in Sjælsmark Deportation Center. In 2015 the previous barracks was put into use as deportation center and run by the Prison and Probation Service; however the Danish military has kept their training ground, located next to the Center.

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It is very green all around. There are lots of fields and hills mixed with shootings of soldiers who are training. I personally don’t even have words to describe how I feel or what I see. I don’t have any more words for it. The architecture consists of a fence, a physical barrier, a gate, more or less supervision of traffic in and out of the center and a certain buildings’ height such as barracks. And this man in the reception, who is he? He is an officer from the Prison and Probation Service.

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If they see you recording, they will tell you it’s not allowed. This place is a no-life place. It’s very weird that there are these buildings and then the buildings have a garden, but the garden is surrounded by a big fence. It’s like we cannot use the grass. So actually if this fence was not here, we could go directly over to him but now we have to go in a big circle in order to go in. I don’t know whom the grass is for. I have lived here for 1 year and 4 months now. In that building, I think, is the Danish Refugee Council and the Red Cross. What do they do there? They are just coming. Nothing, nothing, nothing. They do nothing. There is a big fence on the left side. Yes, and right side. Uniforms everywhere. It’s a very long fence. We loose our dignity, we loose our hope. The people of Sjælsmark are, as we speak, being forced to move from Sjælsmark Deportation Center, situated 30 km from Copenhagen, to the Kærshovedgård Deportation Center close to Ikast in Jutland. I think I am dying slowly. To exist is to exist politically. Existing politically is not only voting. Existing politically is not only being member of a party. Those are important things, but they are not the only things. To exist politically is to have the right to have rights and to have a say in the formulation of rights. The camps prevent people from existing politically. The forced transference of the people in Sjælsmark to Ikast is yet another instance of how the state in Denmark tries to prevent people from existing politically. Spaces and politics cannot be separated. They are pushing us to get out of here, but where can I go? If I go, I’ll be back here. You have to keep that in mind. They are pushing me to run away, but I can’t run away. They have my fingerprints. That’s the problem. The only thing we have is; you can go and you can come back.

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Every week to renew the key and every second week to sign. First you sign that you are here, they give you toothpaste, something like that. You sign; 00 kr. Life in Sjælsmark is unlivable; it’s almost impossible to survive here, without the help of many people or almost turning into a beggar. We advise everyone to go to the Refugee Camps and see how the Danish government runs other peoples’ lives, where people in the camps face systematic dehumanization. You know what you do when you live here. You have your room, you have your toilet, you have your cafeteria. Just go the same round, back and forth. There are bullets and explosions at nighttime here. So, making people move from one place to another is just another way of making people not able to settle and carry on with life. The food here is food the dog can’t eat. Listen, don’t even mind food. We are young. Let’s not complain about the dog food. I feel it’s like a prison here. I came to Denmark as an asylum seeker. I am not a criminal. When I came to this camp I felt like I am in jail. I have never been to jail in my life. I was a businessman in my country and my business was going very well. We are not problems, we are not numbers. We are sitting in a very small room, it must be around 10m2 I think. Two people are staying in here. Déjà vu, the echo, the voice. /

The Bridge Radio is an independent radio project created by people with and without citizenship, who produce radio about migration, asylum and people’s movements. The radio strives to support self-organization among people who live without citizenship and to create a wide group of reporters. For more information on Bridge Radio, visit: www.thebridgeradio.dk www.facebook.com/TheBridgeRadioDK

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English translation page 125

LUCKY DAY af Liv Nimand Duvå

1.

Jeg står med min partner på det svenske Migrationsverket. Vi er her for at aflevere vores ansøgning om opholdstilladelse i Sverige, så vi senere kan søge om familiesammenføring i Danmark. Vi har siddet i kø i fire timer, og nu er det endelig blevet vores tur. En mand kigger ud over skranken. Han er på alder med os, er i blå skjorte, glatredt hår. Der er ingen stole på vores side. Det er ham der sidder, os der står. Vi står og svajer, vi træder i jorden. På den anden side af døren er venteværelset stadig fuldt. Lokalet er lummert, og der er ikke nok siddepladser, så mange er trådt ud foran den røde murstensbygning for at trække luft. Ud gennem vinduet bag skranken kan man se folk, der utålmodigt går frem og tilbage. De mange ventende lader ikke til at påvirke manden. Jeg lægger vores ansøgning ned på bordet foran ham. Han spørger, om jeg er sikker på, at det er det her, jeg vil. Ja, det er jeg sikker på, siger jeg og gør opmærksom på, at vi allerede er bosat i Malmö, og at min partner sagtens kan forstå svensk. Jeg beder ham om at tjekke efter om alt er korrekt udfyldt, om der er noget vi har glemt. Han kigger modvilligt ned i vores ansøgning, og ja, hvis det virkelig er det her jeg vil, siger han, så virker formalia da til at være i orden. Han bladrer gennem ansøgningen, mens han spørger min partner, where do you come from. Min partner når ikke selv at svare. Manden er allerede kommet ham i forkøbet. Iraq, siger han, han trækker stavelsen ud, trommer pegefingeren ned mod feltet i ansøgningen, hvor fødested er opgivet, og slår igen over i svensk. Jeg håber du ved, hvad du går ind til, siger han og ser op på mig, han bliver ved med at fastholde øjenkontakten. Kinderne brænder, det er en anden form for rødme. Jeg kan ikke holde det inde, skal lige til at begynde at tude eller at råbe noget uovervejet, der vil kunne skade vores sag, da min partner skubber mig i siden. Han er ikke det værd, hvisker han. Jeg tager en dyb indånding. Jeg prøver jo bare at hjælpe, siger manden og trækker på skuldrene, du er jo ikke en grim pige, forstå mig ret. Men det er ikke den hjælp, vi har bedt om. Det er ikke os, han er interesseret i at servicere. Manden bag skranken vil ikke identificere sig med min partner, og værst af alt, så længe vi er gift, kan han ikke identificere sig med mig. Det stiller ham alene. Det er ham selv, han vil se som begærsobjekt, og nu forsøger han at vinde mig tilbage, eller han forsøger at vinde sig selv tilbage, at skrælle det fremmede af mig, så han kan nå ind til sig selv. Tre uger senere modtager vi et brev med posten. Vores ansøgning er ikke korrekt. Den er udfyldt med blyant og ikke med kuglepen. Den er ugyldig. Vi skal komme ned på Migrationsverket og aflevere en ny.

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2.

Jeg opdager, at mit pas er forældet. Der er masser af blanke, ustemplede sider tilbage i det lille hæfte, men nu er det udløbet. Jeg må ikke rejse, i en kort periode er jeg ikke gyldig.

To uger senere står jeg på Borgerservice og får et nyt udleveret. Jeg åbner det for at se, hvordan jeg tager mig ud på det billede, der blev taget sidste gang jeg var hernede. Jeg måtte gerne smile, sagde damen, der førte mig ind i den lille boks, hvor billedet skulle tages, men ikke åbne munden. En blå laserstråle søgte ansigtets forskellige dele og indrettede kameraets vinkel efter størrelse og form for at kunne indfange eventuelle specifikke kendetegn. Strålen gjorde mig utilpas, pressede læberne sammen i et skeptisk smil. Tillykke, er der en stemme, der siger, jeg ser op. En ung kvinde står og venter på, at hendes nummer, der er det nummer, der står på papirlappen, som hun har trukket fra den røde nummerbeholder ved indgangen, bliver råbt op. Hun peger på mit pas og smiler. Hun har en udfyldt ansøgning om fremmedpas i hånden. Jeg må have set nervøs ud. Tillykke, gentager hun og blinker, it’s your lucky day. Varmen strømmer op langs halsen som et gisp. Jeg rødmer. Noget i mit kropssprog må have givet udtryk for, at der har været mere på spil end simpel forfængelighed. Yes, very lucky, siger jeg, it’s a very lucky day. Ude på gaden kigger jeg igen ned i passet, jeg tjekker om alt er angivet korrekt. Det ser underligt ud, navn, nationalitet, fødested, fødselsdato, køn, som det står der presset ned i det tykke papir, frisk fra tryk som var det mig, der var det: ankommet i en nyere og bedre, en opdateret version. Som var jeg en gave til mig selv, mine objektive karakteristika, mine specifikke kendetegn. Jeg ligner mig selv på billedet, eller jeg kommer til at ligne billedet: luk munden, smil til nationen. Det er sådan det er blevet bestemt, jeg er meget heldig. Very lucky, jeg kommer til at ligne mig selv på en prik.

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Drawings by Paula Bulling Text by Borderspace(s)

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ICARH and the plight of LGBTs in Nigeria by Loke Bisbjerg Nielsen

Nigeria has adopted a range of laws targeting LGBT people. One Nigerian organisation, however, is trying to confront the dire situation by providing healthcare, counselling, and protection of LGBT people. Down a side road, behind a big, black steel door in a quiet neighbourhood in the centre of the Nigerian capital, Abuja, a human rights safe haven is located. Here women, men, queers, transpersons, intersex persons and everything in-between can find a place to be themselves. This is the headquarters of the International Centre for Advocacy on Rights to Health – an organisation that works on health and human rights for sexual and gender minorities. Operating a health clinic is the core of the organisation’s work. They have two consultancy rooms where people without other places to go can receive treatment and counselling. In addition, they have a small research facility and an office that provides legal advice and runs awareness campaigns. One of their main focal points is the prevalence and stigmatisation of HIV/AIDS among sexual and gender minority groups. Next to the clinic is a common room where meetings are held and people can hang out, watch a movie, and meet each other. Here it is possible to flirt in a safe environment, or to try on a new dress without having your identity violently questioned. The Centre also has a human rights office. Here I meet my two contacts: Gay activists Ibrahim and David. Above the desk in the modest office where the human rights lawyer, Ibrahim, is sitting, is a small, proud Swedish flag. When I ask them what the flag means, the answer is clear: Human rights. The Swedish flag has, in some ways, come to replace the usual rainbow flag – which is not easy to find around these parts – as a symbol of pride and equal rights, as the Swedish embassy has supported the organisation in the past. Of course, not many of them have ever been to Sweden. They are therefore not aware that neither Sweden, nor Europe in general, is a promised land for LGBT people. They are not necessarily aware of

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the continued discrimination against LGBT people all over Europe, or the systematic violations of the claims of LGBT asylum seekers from the very countries supporting them in Nigeria. But from their perspective, the money the organisation receives and the Pride Parades, drag shows, movies and pornography they watch online and use as existential and everyday inspiration, all come from outside of Nigeria. This highlights the claustrophobic situation they live in, trapped in their own country without much local support. Opposite the Swedish flag, in symbolic contrast, the Nigerian flag is half placed and half thrown, like a green lump of cloth. When I ask the activists why that is, they shrug and say: “What has Nigeria ever done for us?” And the truth is: not much. The order of nature

In 1990, the Nigerian government passed a law stating that any person who has ‘carnal knowledge’ of another person against the ‘order of nature’, or who permits someone to have ‘carnal knowledge’ against the ‘order of nature’ is liable to imprisonment for 14 years. In addition, a law was enacted in 2014 providing a seven-year prison sentence for anyone belonging to a gay organisation, supporting same-sex marriage, or displaying same-sex affection in public. Furthermore, Nigeria’s federal system allows individual federal states to enact their own laws. This means that LGBT people in 12 states in northern Nigeria are doubly penalised because of the

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implementation of sharia law that, among other things, prescribes the punishment of “sodomy” with lashes and even stoning. According to Amnesty International, this law has luckily not yet been enforced. The 2014 law had an immediate effect, leading to the arrest of several LGBT people in Nigeria. Furthermore, the law has significantly increased the vulnerability of LGBT people, making them victims of street justice and giving vigilantes the impression that they enact the law, when they attack LGBT people. A month after the law was adopted, a mob, reportedly seeking to “cleanse the community” of homosexuals, attacked several LGBT people in Abuja, dragging them through the streets and beating them with nail studded clubs and whips. Although the law is not strictly enforced, the consequences for the LGBT community, as a result of this outright criminalization of love and identities, are harrowing. As David told me, the LGBT community cannot count on the police for help if they get attacked, as they can face arrest or plain indifference to their suffering. Even though transpersons are not mentioned as such in the discriminatory law, they are still victims of the rigid, socially enforced gender expectations that the law enhances. This forces transpersons to perform the gender ascribed to them by the surrounding society – contrary to their own identity - in order to avoid assaults and ostracism, causing serious mental trauma, depression, and potentially self-harm. Constant threats

As people in his neighbourhood know that he is gay, David has personally experienced violent harassment. Some “area boys” (gangs of young men roaming the streets at night) known as “The Vikings” broke into his home one night. Luckily, he was not home, and did not have much they could steal, but the area boys knew that he would not risk reporting it to the police because of his sexuality. They can therefore act with impunity. This was the case when they returned one night, and threatened to attack David in his house. As he lay in his bed with his boyfriend, both holding their breath and praying that the steel door would not give in to the assailants’ violence, shouts of “Homosexual! Homosexual! Come out!” filled the night. The following day David went to the market and bought an old rusty machete, which he now keeps under his bed. If they one day succeed in smashing in the door, he has promised himself he will not go down easily. David has experienced his friends getting brutally assaulted or disappearing. He fears that the disappeared people have been killed and may be buried somewhere unknown. The most common kind of harassment against LGBT people in Nigeria, however, is extortion.

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The lack of support and organisations

Besides ICARH in Abuja, there are only a few other LGBT organisations in Nigeria, a country of 190 million people. David is trying to change this fact and is in the process of establishing an organisation similar to ICARH in Nigeria’s South South region. The organisation is also focusing on healthcare, but indirectly seeks to promote human rights and protect the interests of LGBT people in the region. Overall, LGBT people in Nigeria live an undercover and secluded existence, where love, sex, and personal identity can only be expressed under the ever-present danger of violence, extortion, disappearance, and possibly death.

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Nigeria experiences a dual development of economic growth and growing inequality. It faces security challenges from violent rebellion in the north-east, separatist movtements in the south-east, and a political system divided between South and North, Christians and Muslims. Under these circumstances, the plight of LGBT persons can be, and often is, easily overlooked. This article was written in collaboration with an activist from ICARH. The names of the people in the article have been changed. They are known to the author.

LGBT People and Asylum in Denmark In principle, Denmark grants asylum to people wh o have a well-founded fear of being persecuted in their home country for belonging to a particular “social group”. LGBT people may constitute such a group. Moreover, any asylum seeker risking torture, death penalty, or inhumane treatment in their home country has the right to protection in Denmark – on paper. But in reality, this is often far from the case. As the group LGBT Asylum, among others, has pointed out, the trying of asylum cases of LGBT persons leaves a lot to be desired. The Danish Refugee Appeals Board has been criticised for not providing sufficient information from the beginning of the asylum process, and for placing too much of the burden of proof on the asylum seeker. If any part of an asylum seeker’s story is deemed “inconsistent”, the whole case may be rejected, regardless of the asylum seeker’s sexual orientation or gender identity being the central asylum motive. It caused quite a stir, when three lesbian women from Uganda had their asylum claims rejected in 2016 by the Danish system. Uganda has attracted international attention for its discriminatory, anti-gay laws and for continuously debating the death penalty for homosexuality. Similar harsh laws and discrimination against LGBT people are imposed by many other states, including Nigeria.

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English translation page 128

Indtryk fra grænsen mellem Serbien og Kroatien I ingenmandslandet mellem Serbien og Kroatien - September 2015 Tekst og fotos af Beata Hemer, Frederik Johannison, Kirstine Mose, Lise Olivarius, Nanna Hansen og Paula Bulling

Eftermiddagssolen skinner på vejen, der går gennem den lille serbiske landsby Berkasovo få hundrede meter fra grænsen til Kroatien. Med jævne mellemrum ankommer busser med migranter. På hver side af vejen har Røde Kors, UNHCR og andre humanitære organisationer samt lokale og internationale frivillige sat boder op med vand, bananer, kiks og brød til de nyankomne. Nogle kommer direkte fra grænsen mellem Serbien og Makedonien, andre har været gennem Beograd. Efter at være stået af busserne, bliver folk gelejdet mod grænsen. Ingen steder kan de få informationer om, hvad der nu skal ske. I vejkanten står to tomme, forladte grænseposter. En metalbom forhindrer biler i at fortsætte. Den markerer begyndelsen på ingenmandslandet mellem Serbien og Kroatien. I dette ingenmandsland – en mark med en forladt skurvogn, som engang udgjorde en grænsepost – tilbageholdes tusinder af migranter hver dag. På den ene side af serbisk politi, på den anden side af kroatisk. Ved denne officielt lukkede grænsepost er de almindelige regler vendt på hovedet: Hvis man har et pas, kan man ikke passere. Grænsen er undtagelsesvist blevet åbnet for migranter som en del af det samarbejde mellem Grækenland, Makedonien, Serbien, Kroatien og Ungarn, der er kendt som

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‘den humanitære korridor’ til Europa. Fra politisk hånd lukkes og åbnes grænseovergangene hele tiden. Nattens uvished

Om dagen er grænseovergangen scene for et flow af nødhjælpsarbejdere, andre frivillige og journalister såvel som af flygtninge. Efter at have forsynet sig med mad og drikke skynder folk sig videre ned ad vejen. Børn, voksne, unge og ældre løber læsset med nye forsyninger ned mod grænseovergangen uden at vide, hvad de løber hen imod, eller hvad der venter dem på den anden side af grænsen. Om natten er kun migranterne tilbage. Boderne er pakket sammen, og de mange humanitære initiativer er taget hjem. En mur af mørke og uvished møder de mange grupper af migranter, der ankommer i en jævn strøm hele natten. Ingen af dem ved, at der venter dem en 17 kilometer lang vandring til den lukkede detentionslejr Opatovice. Statskontrolleret migration

Kroatien er medlem af EU, Serbien er ikke. Den serbisk-kroatiske grænse udgør dermed en af indgangene til EU. I et forsøg på at få kontrol over den migration, der alligevel ikke kan standses, er Serbien og Kroatien – under store diplomatiske vanskeligheder – blevet enige om at koordinere

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en passage for flygtninge. Af denne statskontrollerede rute kan flygtninge fortsætte deres rejse ind i EU. Migranterne bliver kørt i busser eller gennet afsted af politiet, når de går til fods ad landevejene. Busser med flygtninge kører fra grænsen mellem Serbien og Makedonien til den serbisk-kroatiske grænse. Efter navne- og billedregistrering transporteres folk videre til grænsen mellem Kroatien og Ungarn. Når de har krydset den, bliver de kørt til den østrig-ungarske grænse, som de må krydse til fods. Her slutter den statskoordinerede transport. Vejen til EU er måske tilgængelig, men den er også lang, knudret og uvis. Både serbiske og kroatiske myndigheder tilbageholder flygtninge i store grupper i op til flere døgn – ved grænseovergange, i lejre som Opatovice eller vilkårlige steder på ruten – hvorved der dannes såkaldte flaskehalse. Ruten mellem de to lande ændrer sig hele tiden. Den ene dag udgør den åbne grænseovergang ved Sid og Tovarnik et knudepunkt, hvor tusinder af flygtninge tilbageholdes. Den næste dag omdirigeres busserne til den lille markvej ved Berkasovo 10 kilometer derfra.

Ifølge Dublin-forordningen kan man kun søge asyl i det første EU-land, man registreres i. Den statskoordinerede transport sker tilsyneladende uden at hverken Kroatien eller Ungarn registrerer folk med fingeraftryk i Eurodac-databasen. Dermed registreres folk heller ikke i Dublin-systemet. Det er imidlertid ikke kun fingeraftryk, der kan bruges som bevis i en Dublin-sag. Også bus- og togbilletter kan bruges som bevismateriale af politiet og føre til en Dublin-udvisning til et andet EU-land. Det er dog umuligt at vide hvordan Dublin-systemet vil blive praktiseret fremover. Ikke mindst i lyset af de mange nye udfordringer, EU’s asylsystem står over for.

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BORDER – a collective poem

I live on the border between the I and the we I don't like the border between me and my wife – my wife is in Somalia and I am in Denmark I see people becoming more lonely because they build more walls than bridges I hope that borders would be erased from the world, let us open the borders so that everyone can be united with whom they love, and sure, that would bring happiness to everyone on this planet I see the borders becoming symbols of differences I realize the border between me and who I want to be, and I know I cannot cross it I listen to the border between the camp and the fields outside I live on the border between imagination and reality I don't see the border between this nation state and the one in the water I realize the border between wanting and needing I don't see the border between this nation state and the one in the sky I passed through the border between Denmark and Sweden on roller skates in my dream, while others were digging holes I dream of digging tunnels deep under borders I dream of one day when the borders will come to an end and people will reunite with whom they want, but I don't know how long it will take – sure, if we work hard, we can do it I realize that the border between me and my family is the main difficulty I met in this world – the borders cause separation and isolation I listen to the border between the air and the water I dream of the border as something more concrete, solid in material, so it would be easier to break

Written by the participants at a series of creative writing workshops which took place in the Trampoline House during spring 2016. Collected by Liv Nimand Duvå

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John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath Novel, 1939 I would like to share what is in my opinion one of the most significant books on the migration theme: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. This is the first novel showing the real life of people living on the bottom of society. The atmosphere is grim and painful. Because this shocking reality was not shared before, readers of that time didn’t believe that horrible things like this could happen in their american reality. But the book is in itself irrefutable evidence. The story has a special and almost mystical beginning. Something in the spirit of Bergman. Former convict, Tom, returns to his home in Oklahoma and detects horrible changes: the land is totally empty, wind bends the trees, rickety doors, squalid houses in which there are no people. People of the land have uprooted and made a mass exodus. Under the tree sits a pastor who has lost faith, and in Tom’s house hides one of his former neighbours, a crazy man called Ford. Ford tells him what has happened while he was gone, and paints a completely apocalyptic picture. Interestingly, the cause of the apocalypse is in some sense God -

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ANBEFALINGER / RECOMMENDATIONS

God of the machines, of metal, of plastic, of giant skyscrapers, something powerful and impersonal: multinational corporations and banks. Tom’s huge family has left their land because of the dream of a sunny, California “Promised Land”, where they have been promised sun, oranges and work. The Grapes of Wrath turns into a depressing “road-trip”: Tom’s family sell all their things so they can buy a decrepit truck and go to California. On the difficult path, they lose relatives and friends and California turns out to be hell on earth: no food, no work, and no friendly people. And in our times, this story repeats itself: people fleeing or going after their dreams end up in a situation without hope. In the end, Steinbeck points out that the individual can be saved by the collective, as Tom and his family reach a community who work and live together. They are happy to help each other. It turns into an almost pro-social agitation: As an individual you have no chance against the monster of capitalism. (Patrick)

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CAMP / Center for Art and Migration Politics Art space, Thoravej 7

CAMP is an art gallery situated in Trampoline House in Copenhagen. It was established in 2015 as a non-profit institution with a professional board of directors and the art collective Kuratorisk Aktion as daily managers. As the name implies, the gallery focuses on migration politics, and on the dehumanizing spaces of the nation state such as the refugee camp, the asylum center and the deportation center. Through the prism of art, the gallery offers a different approach to migration. In public debates, it seems that issues related to migration are mainly discussed in two aspects: financial, or how migration affects the economy; and political, or how migration affects the alignment of the political establishment. We are living in a European reality where refugees are sold to Turkey and Afghanistan for huge amounts of money. With an economic system based on the dictates of those in power, and the majority of individuals valued only as means of production, people become subjects of outright trade. In this light, I find that CAMP plays an important role. If we want to change the system, people need to gain more knowledge about what goes on inside a refugee camp or behind the bars of an asylum or deportation center. I believe that CAMP exemplifies how an artistic perspective has a great potential to raise awareness. It may seem at first glance that this is only an example of one voice in the wilderness – the system cannot be beaten! But in a relatively short period of time CAMP has brought public recognition to a significant amount of work. The center’s first three exhibitions are now being presented in the National Gallery of Denmark. I warmly encourage all interested to visit the web hashtag #artandmigration. Or even better, visit CAMP at The Trampoline House. (Patrick)

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Fuocoammare: Fire at Sea Documentary, 2016

Shadi Angelina Bazeghi: Vingeslag Digte, 2015

In this Italian documentary, we perceive Lampedusa through migrants arriving from the sea and through the mundane family life in the fishing community. In separate story lines we’re introduced to the island. A classical music broadcast echoes from the radio in an Italian kitchen, a kid with his slingshot in motion between rocky outcrops and low vegetation in search of migratory warblers. This traditional island life is juxtapositioned with the radio frequency of the coastguard, and the arrival of those who overcame the odds, crossing the sea on vessels not remotely sea-worthy. With a patience that evokes the director Kiarostami, Fuocoammare portrays those who happen to find themselves on the island: a fisherman at dawn descending on the cliffs, the newly arrived pacing in the detention center in golden thermal blankets, untold narratives of flight, incarceration and of carrying on. A rare and recommendable testimony of a complex reality. (Adam Qvist)

At bære på erfaringer af krig og forflyttelse; hvad det indebærer for den tilværelse, der kommer efter, og den litteratur, der kan skrives, er Shadi Angelina Bazeghis digtsamling Vingeslag en vidtrækkende undersøgelse af. Digtene introducerer en kaotisk og dermed også meget præcis fremskrivning af traumets tid. I samlingens begyndelse lyder det: ”jeg standser / eller jeg går i stå / som et gammelt ur / der ikke magter at / tælle flere / blodtørstige / sekunder”, hvorefter der krydsklippes mellem krigserfaringer, kærlighedsforhold, lægebesøg, forelæsninger, matematiske formler og fodbold. Hukommelsesglimt kan ramme hvor som helst og når som helst. Samtiden er under konstant belejring af fortiden og fortiden hele tiden forskudt af nutiden. Digtene forklarer ikke. De behandler ikke traumet udefra. De skaber i gentagelsen og i afbrydelsen, i flashbacket og i krydsklipningen en litterær form, der sammenfalder med sit stof. Det er hård læsning. Også læseren må rykke sig. Den posttraumatiske stress bliver så sandelig ikke serveret for én i små, fine anretninger af letanskuelige troper. Det er en formbevidst sønderbombning, et bud på hvor ny skandinavisk litteratur i en fortsat krisetid kan bevæge sig hen. Digtene orienterer sig bredt, og i samlingens findes citater fra stemmer så forskellige som: Jim Morrison, Forough Farrokhzad, Sohrab Sepehri, Michael Strunge, Nima Yushij, Oscar Wilde, Albert Camus, Aldous Huxley, Inger Christensen, Mowlana Rumi, Roland Barthes, Mohammad Tagi Bahar og Arkimedes. (Liv Nimand Duvå)

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With Teeth and Nails: Walking the Routes of the Displaced Here and There, Athens–Copenhagen In November 2013, With Teeth and Nails for our Rights began as a workshop in Athens exploring borders and journeys through performance-actions. It continued at the artspace YNKB in Copenhagen in the spring of 2014. Combining approaches from contemporary art, anthropological theatre and architecture, the workshop sought to create a temporary common space in which borders could temporarily disappear and participants could find themselves in fleeting moments of freedom. This text was written in the period between June 2014 and November 2015. by Christina Thomopoulos and Eleni Tzirtzilaki (with excerpts by participants in the workshop) Photos by Mahmoud Billy Haydar and Christina Thomopoulos Participants in the Athens workshop: Lia Giannakou, Gianos, Kostis, Abdul Nazari, Omar Rose, Rachyd, Sara Santoro, Vassilis Spyropoulos, Alphonso Thiaby, Christina Thomopoulos, Abdullah Tzavadi and Eleni Tzirtzilaki Participants in the Copenhagen workshop: Eva La Cour, Stoffer Michael Christensen, Mahmoud Billy Haydar, Markos Karayannos, Rasmus Pedersen, Liv Nimand Duvå, Kirsten Dufour Andersen, Finn Thybo Andersen, Eleni Tzirtzilaki and Christina Thomopoulos

From Athens…

Some travelers know Greece for its archaeological sites and its hospitality as a tourist destination. Other travelers know Greece as an entrance to Europe with many difficult borders to traverse. The migrant’s journey to Athens has many visible and invisible barriers. Many lose their lives on the way – in shipwrecks in the Aegean Sea on the way from Turkey, or on the border at Evros (northern Greece) where a looming wall has been erected. In Athens, a city declared to be in a “state of emergency” many have been arrested as a part of Operation Xenios Zeus and taken to detention centers or detained in police stations in tiny rooms for many months. Migrant detention centers are currently holding a large number of sans-papiers indefinitely. Several have died in the centers, some have committed suicide. This is Athens today.

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In the fall of 2013 we began the workshop With Teeth and Nails for our Rights. We met weekly at the self-organized Embros Theater. Through the workshop, we tried to find expressive ways to process and present issues of migration and displacement. Gradually, we sculpted our collective process into the form of performance-actions, which took place at Embros Theater and at Monastiraki Square in central Athens. We focused on two concepts: journeys and borders. The people participating in the workshop came from different places: Syria, Afghanistan, Algeria, Senegal, Italy, and Greece. We tried to bring together different forms of expression and cultures of feeling, exploring the potential of the voice, the body, and the writing down of personal stories, weaving together anthropological, artistic, and spatial approaches. Poems and songs from different countries complemented our work. We created a space for voices to be heard in different mother tongues: Arabic, Farsi, French, Fulani, Italian, and Greek. Our starting point was the story of the unrealized journey of the survivors from a shipwreck in Lefkada. On November 20th 2013, twelve people drowned off the shore of Paleros, Lefkada. Fifteen people survived the shipwreck. Four of them told us their story:

We were in a coffee shop in Athens, and a smuggler was there. We went up to him and told him we wanted to leave Greece, and he told us that he and some other smugglers had a boat and we could leave for Italy […]. We were taken away, we didn’t know where we were. They took us to some houses, we were treated like animals. They gave us only bread to eat. We stayed there for three days, slept on the ground. There were twenty-two of us. […] It was a very small boat. One of the smugglers held onto the rope and screamed at us, cursing at us. The boat capsized right at the beginning. We started screaming. It happened because there were too many of us and the boat was too small. Many of us ended up under the boat. […] It was five o’clock in the morning, there was no one to be seen. […] One and a half

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or two hours later, the police and the coast guard showed up. Our fellow travelers had been trying to save themselves for a very long time, they were banging on the hull; we could hear them. The children were covered in petrol; they were all blackened. They couldn’t rescue any more people; they were too late. The voices under the boat had stopped. […]They didn’t give us work or papers. Even though we were war refugees. […] Dogs are more important than humans here.

It would not be long before we experienced firsthand the events we discussed during the workshop. One of the participants in the workshop was arrested in Monastiraki as part of Operation Xenios Zeus: It was a sunny day… Beautiful weather. It was Sunday January 19th 2014. A day that unfortunately ended very differently from the beautiful weather. It was 11.30 p.m. when a policeman stopped me at the Monastiraki metro station. There were four policemen. They treated me in a very condescending way. They insulted me over and over again. They had no nametags or police badges. I couldn’t do anything. I was completely helpless. They put me in a police car and drove me to the Acropolis police station… I was talking to myself. I kept on telling myself, “They will let me go as they have done 19 times before.” Unfortunately, I ended up in jail for the second time in my life. The first time was in Thessaloniki for 45 days. […] Here, in the prison cell in Athens, cockroaches were running all around, and the food we were given was barely edible. Fifteen people in a prison cell. Sometimes we spoke about the freedom that can’t be bought with money. Some talked of the harshness of jail that is so unjust. A father in jail, his wife and child alone: simply because he had no papers. Sometimes our eyes wandered towards the window and we offered the crumbs left over from our food to the pigeons…This filled us with some temporary joy. After I was released from the prison, the policeman from the immigration office drove me to Omonoia Square and dropped me off. The moment I got out of the car, I breathed the air of freedom…A moment I will never forget.

… To Copenhagen

Omar didn’t come. His journey ended at the front desk of the Danish embassy in Athens, where the woman sitting at the desk looked strictly at us from behind her glasses. The embassy refused him a travel permit. She wasn’t interested in his story or in the resume that he and Christina had made together for his travel application. Omar wasn’t allowed to travel with us to Copenhagen to participate in the performance, even though Eva had sent him an official invitation. Omar told us that, a while back, he had paid 3500 euro to travel to the north. He had gone to the airport and was turned back. He was to go by boat to Italy. He was to stay in Rome. Maybe at Valle. After that we’ll see. We are here to tell his story. For two weeks in May 2014 we collaborated with the YNKB collec-

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tive, a self-organized artspace in Nørrebro, Copenhagen, to explore stories of migration and asylum in Copenhagen today. We tried to feel the routes from Athens to Copenhagen, the “idealized” north, and to connect the realities of displacement here and there. A man on the airplane was most likely not there of his own free will. I noticed him, an African between two plainclothes policemen at the check-in. At the gate one of the guards, now the only guard, pointed his finger when he wanted the man to move, sit down and so on. The African man was completely calm, well dressed in a rapper kind of way, and constantly texting on his phone. No one seemed to notice the two men. Day 2: Visiting the Trampoline House

The Trampoline House is a space in Copenhagen attempting to overcome borders. We spoke with many people there who had been through Athens on their journey to Copenhagen. After Athens, many people continue onto Italy in trains or trucks, often hidden. Some want to cross the Channel to reach London, but when unable, they continue onto Germany and Denmark. Others reach Copenhagen by plane, paying a large sum. Bodies dancing together at the celebration dinner there is a kind of early shyness I can see people waiting

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but when the next song plays, it is someone’s favorite! Timidness breaks! When we hear the music of our hearts, our shyness begins to melt music turns discomfort to joy. Day 5: Women’s Meeting in the Trampoline House

This morning was the women’s meeting at the Trampoline House. There were only women in the House. In the beginning just three. As time passed, more joined. Khloud, sweet and approachable, was from Syria. She had made a long journey crossing borders, and now lived in Avnstrup Asylum Camp. Her husband was Palestinian. He died at age 42 in the war. She had travelled from Syria to Jordan, then to Turkey, Istanbul, Izmir, Chios, Athens, Nea Smirni, Syntagma, Omonoia, Venizelos airport, and then to Copenhagen. “This is my first time in the Trampoline House. My three children are in Jordan. They are between 9 and 14 years old,” she told us. She showed us photos of them. She wants them to come, but she doesn’t know if they’ll make it. She said it would be her pleasure if we visited her at Avnstrup. Day 8: Going to Avnstrup Asylum Camp

In order to reach the camp we had to take two different trains and two different buses. The trip took about an hour and a half from the city. The feeling of distance, of being far away, of isolation was in the air. Endless fields of bright yellow flowers insist on making the way appear joyful. Who decided this camp should be here? Looking out the train window, the journey might almost be mistakenly seen as beautiful. Someone living in the camp said to us, Yes, the nature here is beautiful, but what can I do with this? I just want a normal life like everyone else. Day 10: The Border of Language

A communication barrier greets people when they first arrive in Denmark, especially when it comes to “getting your story right” for the interview. One young man we met told us that a translator had made a mistake in his story and when he tried to point out the mistake, the committee didn’t believe him. It was the translator’s word over his. What does it mean to understand? To speak the “same language”? I could speak to you in your language and you might still not understand. Because you don’t want to listen. What does it mean to have a mother tongue, when no one wants to hear what you have to say? What does it mean to be translated, when it feels like no one wants to hear you? How can we communicate with each other when borders are eve-

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rywhere? Language borders. Other borders. Maybe I should rehearse the story I should tell, the story you want to hear, the story I need to tell, in order to be allowed a safe space to let my body rest – for a while. I have so much I want to say to you, but no language to say it in. From Research to Performance-action

Our initial idea was that the performance-action could be a space for participants of the Trampoline House to express their stories and experiences of borders together. However, this was seen as too risky for them during their asylum application process, so we took a different approach, using our research journals to include parts of stories we were told anonymously. We started by asking: in a situation when you are rendered “voiceless”, how can you find a way to be heard, to tell your own story? As part of the action, we read excerpts of our journals in ‘broken Danish’: together with Danish friends, we translated our reflections from Greek to Danish, spelling the translation phonetically with the Greek alphabet so that we could pronounce it as ‘correctly’ as possible. As we did not speak the local language, this became our personal experience of otherness in Denmark. A confrontation of language barriers and (mis) understandings; feelings of the impossibility and absurdity of communication, but also efforts to overcome it through play, humor, and collaboration with our Danish friends. Language and translation itself as a journey. Translation became a way to reach each other, a common ground. During the performance, some texts were read one by one in each language – Arabic, Danish, Greek and English. In this way we all had to wait our turn to understand, to catch familiar phrases, to hear a language that made sense to the ear. But other times we read all the languages at the same time – Arabic, Greek, Danish, English. Sometimes as a polyphonic melody, other times like an absurd cacoph-

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ony. Sometimes it would sound like a whole new language, made up of all of the languages together. You didn’t know where to look to understand what was happening, and sometimes you closed your eyes and just listened, like listening to music without feeling pressure to “understand”. The content the texts were describing didn’t make sense anyway, so what did it matter? Many languages spoken at the same time. I can’t make out what they are saying, they are all speaking at the same time! But it is not about literal understanding, rather about the act of giving space to listen to a language that is not your own. Breaking a hierarchy of what languages we can and “should” listen to. Giving each other the right to be heard. You are not a foreign language. Perhaps if our languages can sit side by side together, so can we. Broken Danish: I wonder if they could tell my accent was so bad. I wonder if they could tell I didn’t know what each word I was saying meant. It was a test to see, can I ‘pass’ as Danish enough? As European enough? Enough of a Western citizen? The movements we embodied in the performance explored feelings of confinement in space, of exclusion and entrapment. Perhaps a performance can be a way of making visible what others have tried to keep invisible. We cannot change a situation we cannot see. Therefore, we try to visualize what some prefer to look away from. Perhaps a performance can be a way to create an experience of being together on different terms. A bridge in a time of borders. www.menychiakaimedontia.wordpress.com

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Når vi vågner sover verden af Mohammad Reza Qasemi

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Indhold / Content Oversættelser / Translations

†₨Ǻ[\]S ĽAtIØnŞ Hvem er flygtning? - Ali Ali Introduction to mapping the Danish camp system - Kirstine Nordentoft Mose, Thomas Elsted, Beata Hemer Nr. 56 Mit navn er Ekaterina - Ekaterina Lemonjava Burning the Strait - Lise Olivarius Revolution fra undergrunden - K. S. At holde varmen i et koldt klima - Kristian Vistrup Fra Udrejsecenter Sjælsmark - Paula Duvå, Nicoline Sylvest Simonsen Lucky Day - Liv Nimand Duvå ICARH og LGBT-personers kår i Nigeria - Loke Bisbjerg Nielsen Impressions from the Border Between Serbia and Croatia - Beata Hemer, Frederik Johannison, Kirstine Nordentoft Mose, Lise Olivarius, Nanna Hansen and Paula Bulling GRÆNSE – et kollektivt digt Anbefalinger - Patrick, Adam Qvist, Liv Nimand Duvå Med næb og kløer: I de fordrevnes fodspor, Athen-København - Christina Thomopoulos and Eleni Tzirtzilaki

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Hvem er flygtning? af Ali Ali Bare rolig. Teksten her er ikke et juridisk dokument, der skal afgøre, hvem der er berettiget til asyl.

Tilflugt hos flygtninge Nå ja, og de højreorienterede bevægelser har alle søgt om asyl hos os flygtninge og migranter ved at instrumentalisere frygt og xenofobi for at kunne beskytte sig selv mod tilintetgørelse, hvordan skulle de ellers overleve? Vi er alle i en skrøbelig situation, og vi forsøger alle desperat at overleve.

En flygtning uden papirer

Asyl underlige steder

Når de spørger mig, om jeg er flygtning, siger jeg nej. Men jeg mener det ikke. Hvad papirer angår, har jeg et syrisk pas og en europæisk permanent opholdstilladelse. I stedet for at søge om asyl direkte ved regeringens kontorer, valgte jeg et mere følelsesmæssigt bureaukrati, da jeg gik ind i et borgerligt parforhold med min elsker, og han tog sig af al papirarbejdet. Jeg søgte om asyl hos ham, måtte bo i hans ”lejr” og udsættes for regler og koder om opførsel for ikke at gøre vold på min status som flygtning. Jeg tror, han var langt mere gæstfri end nogen regering kunne havde været, og han vendte altid det blinde øje til, hvis jeg gjorde vold på reglerne. Og uanset hvad jeg gjorde, deporterede han mig ikke tilbage til farerne. Alligevel gik der ikke lang tid, før jeg indså, at asylet og flygtningen kan være to aspekter af samme person. Jeg er flygtning såvel som tilflugtssted for dem, der har brug for mig. Min kæreste søgte også asyl hos mig. Jeg kunne sige, at han ideelt set blev berettiget til en status som flygtning, da han flygtede fra et liv i alkohol og tomhed. Han var også bange for, at jeg skulle deportere ham tilbage til den fare.

Af og til finder vi tilflugt i faren. Den anden dag blev jeg forfulgt af en homofobisk mand. Jeg var rastløs, indtil jeg gik hen til ham, så ham i øjnene, talte til ham og blev slået i ansigtet. Jeg følte mig mere tryg, end hvis jeg var stukket af. Det var asyl fra at rådne op i angstens skal, asyl i en viden om, at jeg havde modet til at se frygten i øjnene, asyl i støtten fra alle dem, der var der for mig den aften.

En flygtning fra tilflugt Mens jeg var dybt involveret i et følelsesmæssigt bureaukrati, måtte min søster håndtere et konventionelt et af slagsen, da hun søgte om asyl i Danmark. Hun fik asyl, men søgte stadig efter tilflugt fra sine følelser af hjemve og fremmedgørelse. Jeg tror, hun af og til fandt det i mig. Og spørgsmålet bliver tilbage: Hvem giver asyl til dem, der har brug for trøst og beskyttelse fra de steder, der burde have ydet dem beskyttelse? Disse steder forvandler sig til nye rum for fremmedgørelse, hjemve og dehumanisering. Asylet forvandler sig til en ny trussel for menneskeheden. En flygtning på farten Når jeg tager en bus, kører på cykel eller bare går ned ad gaden, befinder jeg mig også i en asylsøgende proces. Jeg søger om asyl hos potentielle venner, elskere og folk, der tilfældigvis kommer forbi. Måske vil en af dem kunne tilbyde mig asyl, eller måske er hun eller han på udkig efter asyl hos mig.

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Flygtninge er velkomne Jeg er åben og klar. Til alle dem, der søger asyl i mig, siger jeg ”flygtninge er velkomne”, og jeg håber, at andre vil gøre det samme for flygtninge fra alle farefulde steder og situationer, det være sig tristhed, marginalisering, tortur eller død. Og én ting til, et system, der nægter os én form for tilflugt, er allerede i gang med at nægte os andre former. Se bare, hvordan regeringer på samme tid bliver mere og mere følelseskolde over for migranter, flygtninge, studerende og hjemløse. Det er ikke tilfældigt.

See Maps on page 14-15

Introduction to mapping the Danish camp system by Kirstine Nordentoft Mose, Thomas Elsted, Beata Hemer When looking at a map we may follow the borders of the national states as lines cutting through landscapes, rivers, lakes, deserts, and mountain ranges. The lines on the map present a world divided into territories and show us how the border is an instrument to divide an inside from an outside. Historically, borders have been lines demarcating the territory of a particular society: a colonial strategy for conquering and dividing space and resources. These lines on the map are constructed, reconstructed and erased through conflicts. Despite our tendency to interpret borders as a natural phenomenon they are – and have always been – constructed lines determined in the aftermath of wars, occupations and conflicts.

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Mapping is the tool used by states to establish borders and territories – a tool by which sovereignty is exercised. But mapping is not only about territorial borders; it also concerns the gathering of information and understanding new contexts. To us mapping is a perspective through which to view the world, a way of trying to understand patterns and connections. Our lines and dots on the map do not reflect the outer borders of the nation state. Instead, we are interested in how asylum camps, detention sites and control mechanisms serve to construct new borders within the borders. In recent years the number of asylum camps in Denmark has exploded. While there were 26 asylum camps in 2012, there are more than 80 camps spread across the country in 2016. At a European level there has also been an increase in the use of detention sites and camps targeting migrants. Likewise in Denmark there has been an increase in the number of open and closed camps for rejected asylum seekers, foreigners not residing lawfully and people on tolerated stay. These camps are managed by the Danish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalforsorgen) and not like the ordinary asylum camps by Danish Red Cross or the local municipality. The immediate official connection is clear: An increased number of people fleeing their country and seeking protection has lead to an increased number of asylum camps and detention sites for migrants. But the camp – the asylum camp, the deportation camp or the detention camp – is not a necessary phenomenon. Like the border, the camp is not a natural phenomenon. Like the border, the camp is a specific and concrete way to make a division of an inside from an outside. The borders are materialised in the fences around the deportation camp Sjælsmark and around the asylum camp Sandholm in Northern Zealand. The fences surrounding the camps are similar to the fences that form a barrier around EU’s outer borders. The confrontation with the border and the confrontation with the camp is not merely a juridical regulation of who is allowed to be inside the territory – it is also a spatial experience. Between Denmark and Sweden ID-control has been reintroduced for the first time in 60 years. If you today (September 2016) travel from Denmark to Malmö by train, you will be directed through ID-control in the train and/or at the platform in Copenhagen Airport Kastrup due to the ‘temporary’ border control. The control is arranged by DSB (Danish State Railways) who, after becoming subject to carrier liability from the Swedish side, have implemented ID-control of every passenger traveling towards Sweden. At Kastrup Airport station a fence has been constructed between the two tracks and platforms, a clear symbolic sign that it is impossible to cross the border without passing through ID-control. We are no longer at a train station in Denmark, but have already here reached a national border.

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In 1910 the Danish defence purchased a piece of land outside the town Allerød. It served as training area for the military. In 1986 a zone within this area was transferred to the Ministry of the Interior in order to use it as asylum camp. The same year Centre Sandholm opened, better known as the Sandholm Camp (Sandholmlejren). Inside of Sandholm’s fence, people who have fled their country – including people traumatised by war – are now living, while on the outside uniformed soldiers are trained in the use of weapons for deployment in war-torn countries – including countries from where people on the inside have fled. We may interpret these situations as border-establishing functions, crucial to determining whether a particular area is experienced as ‘open’ or ‘closed’. The spatial layout and the location of asylum- and deportation camps as well as detention sites have, like the fences between Hungary and Serbia and the symbolic fence in Kastrup Airport, border-establishing functions. By examining the geographical location and the architectural layouts of the asylum and deportation camps and detention sites, we want to point to the fact that the camp is never neutral or necessary. The mapping of the places, their geographical location, and the history of the buildings, is an investigation of what we may best describe as fragmented connections. Our investigation does not attempt to reach any final conclusions about the architecture of the camps, which range from former schools and psychiatric hospitals to military barracks, tents and outdated prisons, nor about their geographical location, which may be either in the city or isolated in the countryside without access to public transport, or surrounded by military training areas. We who have drawn up the map do not have personal experiences of living in the Danish camp system. Our perspective necessarily reflects this fact. The mapping is strongly simplified and mirrors a reality which may already have changed when you read this. The map is not a static representation, but is intended as a continuous examination which may take on new directions and junctions due to new experiences and changes. We intend to provide our understanding of an overview of and an insight into a Danish camp system in constant development. If you have corrections or suggestions for changes to the maps, we would like to hear from you. We argue that the fence, the camp and the prison are excluding and disciplining mechanisms that draw links between camps in northern Zealand (like Sandholm and Sjælsmark) and the construction of kilometre-long fences in Hungary. The spatial structuring of camps and detention sites makes visible how the fences of the EU and the borders of nation states are shifting, moving into the landscape.

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Postscript In this mapping we have gone through all deportation camps, asylum camps and detention sites for migrants in Denmark, while a few select places have been examined in more depth. We have examined the geographical location, the distance to the nearest town, the capacity, access control, whether people have the possibility to cook for themselves or must eat in a cafeteria, as well as who is responsible for the everyday management. We were also interested in the building type and its history, in other words what the building was used for before becoming an asylum camp, a deportation camp or a detention site. Many used to be hospitals, nursing homes, boarding schools, student dormitories or military barracks. Others were constructed specifically for the purpose, as temporary housing units with individual rooms, shared bathroom and toilets, kitchen and communal rooms. In deportation and asylum camps and detention sites, walls and fences are part of the architectural design – and they serve as disciplinary mechanisms. In his work the architect and theorist Léopold Lambert points to the relation between architecture, violence and racism. Lambert considers architecture as an inherently violent discipline (since architecture creates the material framework for specific spaces and separations). This approach makes visible the political implications of any architectural practice. Lambert was in Copenhagen in the spring and here we met for a conversation about architecture, borders and racism. We believe that Lambert’s view on architecture as a political weapon can contribute to a critical view on deportation camps, asylum camps and detention sites. K: How do you define architecture? L: I have a very specific definition of and opinion about architecture, which I do not consider exhaustive. I understand architecture as a discipline which organises bodies spatially, with all the political implications it brings. K: How do you define ‘violence’ as a concept? L: I understand violence as a material, physical process. If, for example, we think of walls, then bodies cannot pass through walls. If you try to cross a wall you might even get hurt. The majority of walls have been build exactly for bodies not to be able to cross them. In this way, we see how architecture is a discipline that organises bodies spatially. If you cannot cross a wall, then your

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body is naturally subjected to the spatial order of the wall. This form of violence is methodologically seen not political. But if we examine the spatial order of the wall, then we will find that the wall is there for a particular reason. No matter whether it is conscious or not, the way spaces are shaped always has political implications. That is what I mean when I say that architecture is inherently violent – and this violence is necessarily instrumentalized through political programmes. K: How do you define racism in this context? L: When I talk about racism, it is structural racism I think of. So it’s the juridical systems, institutions or administrative approaches that discriminate (explicitly or implicitly, direct or indirect) specific groups of people along ethnic lines. This of course concerns the relationship to the state and to the police, as well as questions about economy and culture and a whole range of other social dimensions. K: How do you understand the camp as a place? Whether it is asylum camps or humanitarian camps? L: If we consider humanitarian camps or asylum camps, there is a high degree of control involved in the infrastructure and operation of the camp itself. The control is about everything from ensuring the security inside the camp to how many people to cook for. This form of control involved in the managing of a camp appears paradoxical in relation to the often humanitarian aspects that are often highlighted in the camps. The humanitarian camp cannot in its logic be fundamentally separated from other camps – which genealogically include some of the worst historical examples such as the gulags and the Nazi concentration camps. This is not to say that these camps function in exactly the same way, but they are run by the same logics. By examining the connection between architecture, racism and violence, it becomes visible how racism is expressed spatially in and through the architecture of the asylum camp and border fence. In our view, the history of a building and the purpose of its architectural design influence what form of control and what kind of lives can unfold there. In December 2015 the state prison of Vridsløselille (near Copenhagen) was shut down. Among the reasons behind this closure was the fact that

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the prison conditions were outdated. In January 2016 Vridsløselille reopened as a detention site for rejected asylum seekers, whose only crime is that they will not voluntarily travel back to the country from where they have fled. The place was built as a prison in 1859 and is designed as a classical, Panopticon-inspired prison with the possibility of central surveillance of the detainees in individual cells. The Panopticon was originally designed by the British lawyer and philosopher Jeremy Bentham in 1791 as a model for prisons, hospitals and other institutions of discipline. In its ideal form the Panopticon is designed with a tower in the middle surrounded by a building divided into isolated cells. From the tower, the observer can observe while the detainees in the individual cells do not know when they are observed. It is a spatial design that makes constant surveillance possible. In this sense, the architecture (the spatial design) makes control possible. The closure of the state prison and the reopening of it as a detention site for migrants can be seen as an example of how architecture creates the material frameworks for control over people. The walls of a prison can be demolished and new ones can be constructed. A former hospital can be rebuilt and altered so that the opportunities for a new life are made possible. The connection between architecture, violence and racism as identified by Lambert makes visible how the location of the camps, as well as the architectural design of the buildings and what histories they carry along, cannot be separated from questions of violence and structural racism. It is the architecture that creates the physical frameworks of the stay of the detainees in Vridsløselille prison and in the rest of the asylum system’s open and closed institutions.

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– Léopold Lambert is an architect, writer, editor and podcaster. He is the editor of The Funambulist magazine (http://thefunambulist.net), which features numerous interesting conversations and articles on issues such as borders, Fortress Europe, the Israeli occupation of Palestine, geopolitics, law, philosophy, and much more.

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Nr. 56 Mit navn er Ekaterina af Ekaterina Lemonjava Ekaterina Lemonjava er en georgisk journalist og migrationsaktivist. I 2012 blev hun fængslet i den polske detentionslejr Lesznowola, en lukket lejr for kvinder, børn og familier. Samme år blev hun deporteret tilbage til Georgien efter at have deltaget i en stor, koordineret sultestrejke, som fandt sted i fire detentionslejre for udlændige i Polen. Under strejken brugte hun sin telefon til at diktere det vidt delte brev, ”Jeg fortæller alle om helvedet i Polen”. Senere skrev hun en bog om sin tid i lejren, Nr. 56, eller Mit Navn er Ekaterina, som udgives i år. Titlen henviser til hendes fangenummer. Denne tekst er et uddrag fra Lemonjavas bog, der kritiserer forholdene i Lesznowola. Det beskriver, hvordan sultestrejken opstod i solidaritet med Maya, en fængslet kvinde fra Nepal, som under et sygdomsforløb blev fejlbehandlet. Den tager desuden fat på, hvordan fængslingen påvirkede de indsatte børn, såsom fireårige Maria fra Syrien. I dag kom Maria med lidt rester fra aftensmaden til Maya. Selv dem, som har været irriterede over, at Maya ligger i sengen hele dagen, prøver at hjælpe hende nu. Både Marias og Jusufs mødre har besøgt hende et par gange. Maya siger, at Maria også tit besøger hende. Jeg er selv blevet så vant til Marias skøre opførsel, at jeg ikke engang reagerer på det mere. Det generer mig ikke, når hun tager moppen fra den, der har rengøringstjansen, som så løber efter hende i en cirkel og prøver at få den tilbage. Eller når hun løber ind på nogens værelse, tager den første ting, hun kan nå, og tvinger personen til at jagte hende rundt. Hendes latter generer mig ikke engang; hun har den mest forfærdende latter i verden. Marias mor synger syriske sange så smukt, at hun kan få hele fængslet til at falde til ro, mens alle lytter til hendes stemme og Maria danser. Hver muskel i Marias lille krop bevæger sig og dirrer til sangens rytme og følelse. Kort efter er alle opslugt af musikken. På den måde bliver lidelsen i hendes mors sangstemme og de syriske rytmer også vores. De salige øjeblikke af glæde er meget intense og fylder os med energi hele dagen. Under aftensmaden sidder der nogle gange en grænsevagt bagerst i lokalet, andre gange vandrer han rundt mellem bordene og undersøger hver bid mad, vi putter i munden. Jeg kan

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stadig ikke huske deres ansigter. Jeg husker kun Kaptajnen og den vagt, som jeg snakkede med i dag. Børnene, især Jusuf, prøver at lege med dem. Grænsevagterne kan godt lide ham, fordi han giver dem svar på mange af deres spørgsmål. Min første protest handler om at få lov til at tage mad med ud fra cafeteriet til Maya, som er syg. Marias mor og Jusufs mor kommer ind på mit værelse og tigger mig om at være forsigtig (de mener, at jeg bør tie stille). Jusuf har hørt fra vagterne, at de vil deportere os, hvis vi protesterer. Det er bedre at acceptere tingene som de er, også selvom vi ikke kan lide det, fortæller de mig begge to. ”Kom med mig,” svarer jeg og begynder at gå hen til de tilgitrede døre, som fører ind til vagternes lokale. De følger efter mig. ”Hvis jeg sultestrejker, har I, altså staten, har I så ret til at deportere mig?” spørger jeg. ”Co?” Vagten forstår mig ikke. Jeg prøver på engelsk og derefter på russisk; han forstår ikke. ”Vil du have kaffe?” spørger jeg ”Co?” ”Kunne du tænke dig noget kaffe?” Nu forstår han mig. Han har ikke lyst. ”Kald på Kaptajnen. Kaptajnen – ”. Jeg lægger en hånd på min ene skulder. ”Dobrze,” svarer han og kalder på Kaptajnen over kortbølgeradioen: ”Zero, Zero…” Kaptajnen kommer. Jeg stiller ham det samme spørgsmål. Han stopper op og overvejer spørgsmålet et øjeblik, hvorefter han fortæller mig, at vi har lov til at lave alle former for protester, hvis det er dét vi ønsker. ”Kaptajn, det var ikke det, jeg spurgte om. Hvis jeg protesterer, giver det så jer, staten, ret til at deportere mig?” Han siger, at det gør det ikke. ”Men hvorfor chikanerer dine soldater så de indsatte og truer dem med deportation?” spørger jeg. ”Jeg er sikker på, at den slags aldrig er sket,” siger Kaptajnen.

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”Kaptajn, jeg håber du vil give dine soldater de korrekte ordrer og det aldrig vil ske igen.” Jeg ser ham ind i øjnene, mens jeg siger det. Han svarer ikke, men gengælder bare mit blik. ”Tak,” siger jeg og vender rundt. Jeg vender mig om igen efter et øjeblik, da jeg gerne vil byde Kaptajnen på kaffe. ”Ellers tak. Jeg har allerede fået,” svarer han. ”Jeg har ikke fået noget endnu, Kaptajn. Måske kunne du byde mig?” ”Når vi mødes på en café,” siger han. ”Vi mødes ikke på en café bare sådan, medmindre du inviterer mig først.” ”Når du engang kommer ud, så inviterer jeg dig helt sikkert.” Han blinker ikke engang. Det gør jeg heller ikke. Alle i Lesznowola foragter ham alligevel. Jeg er allerede på vej tilbage, men vender mig uvilkårligt om igen: ”Kaptajn, jeg vil gerne have, at alle som arbejder her skal huske på, at vi ikke er kriminelle, og vi ikke har begået nogen former for kriminalitet. Folk der er tilbageholdt her kommer fra Syrien, Palæstina, Iran og andre lande. Dit land er forpligtet til at yde dem beskyttelse. Jeg vil gerne have, I alle sammen husker på, at I har det ansvar. Tak fordi du kom.” Jeg vender mig om, og vi går. I køkkenet fortæller et par andre kvinder mig en historie om en tjetjensk familie, der blev deporteret, fordi faren sultestrejkede i to dage. De kan huske en anden kvinde, som af samme grund blev sendt på psykiatrisk hospital. Lejrens psykisk ustabile viceinspektør blev så rasende på en af de indsatte, at han var tæt på at slå ham, fortæller de. Og få dage efter fik han en hel familie deporteret til Tjetjenien. ”Katerina, du skal ikke tro på noget af det, han lige sagde. De deporterer hele familier, hvis folk ikke adlyder.”

rettigheder er sikrede her. Selv hvis disse hændelser finder sted, betyder det ikke, at det er lovligt. Ligegyldigt om vi er her eller i et rigtigt fængsel, har vi vores rettigheder, og Polen kan ikke tage dem fra os, da de er universelle. Det er ikke Polen, som har givet os dem. Vi er nødt til at beskytte Maya, så hun ikke sulter ihjel, også selvom det polske retssystem ikke tillader os det. Det er løgn, at Maya er rask. Til trods for hvad lægerne siger, er det tydeligt, at der er noget galt med hende, og pilinarki (sygeplejerskerne) misinformerer os, fordi de vil holde hende adskilt fra de andre indsatte. Selv hvis det var noget, hun fandt på, giver det ikke nogen ret til at lade hende sulte ihjel. Vi kan alle sammen huske Martinas historie - hvordan hun i fjerde måned af sin graviditet begyndte at have smerter. Lægen sagde, at alt var godt. To dage senere fjernede selvsamme læge det døde foster fra hendes livmoder. Derefter, med en tilsyneladende ren samvittighed, gik han til Muraz, faren som lige havde mistet sit barn, og sagde: “Der er ikke nogen grund til at blive ked af det, I vil helt sikkert få et andet.” Som om han ikke havde mistet et barn, men en dukke. Vi kan ikke regne med nogen andre end os selv herinde, så vi må holde sammen. Jeg respekterer ikke love, der tillader fængsling af fem- og seksårige børn. ”Kan I ikke se, at Maria er ved at blive vanvittig? Kan I ikke se, hvor aggressive Jusuf og Tajjab kan blive? Og det er børnene, men se også på os, se hvor stressede og nervøse vi er; uskyldige mennesker, der er blevet fængslet for noget, vi ikke har gjort, behandlet som de værste kriminelle, buret inde for forbrydelser mod menneskeheden. Mine medfanger, det er jer, som har fortalt mig, at Aziza to gange har fået tæsk af vagterne. Se på de tilgitrede vinduer og den aflåste bygning, som I kun må forlade to timer om dagen. Systemet her tillader os ikke engang at gå uledsaget til lægen. De har taget alt fra os, selv mit håndspejl, så jeg ikke engang kan se mit eget ansigt. Reglerne her giver os ikke andet valg end at stjæle vores egne madrationer. Vi er mennesker der aldrig kunne drømme om at begå en forbrydelse, mennesker der er flygtet fra vores egne lande af frygt for forfølgelse, og systemet her anklager os for at være de farligste kriminelle, dømmer os til indespærring og får det til at fremstå som en straf vi fortjener.”

Jeg prøver at forklare dem, at selv hvis disse ting har fundet sted, har det været ulovligt. De har ikke ret til at gøre sådan. Vi befinder os midt i Europa, i et EU-land, hvilket betyder, at vores

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Burning the Strait by Lise Olivarius Can migration and literature be mutually generating ways of escaping reality? Is the paperlessness of undocumented migrants a liberation from constricting identity, or does it rather result in painful identity crises? How is the boat migrant represented in literature? This text looks into documentation, undocumentedness and escapism in three Moroccan novels about migration across the Strait of Gibraltar. Of the tens of thousands of migrants who are estimated to have died worldwide en route to their destination since the year 2000, more than half of them drowned in the Mediterranean. That should hardly come as a surprise to anyone, and metaphors such as “cemetery” or “mass grave” for the Mediterranean have by now become clichés. During the last couple of years in particular, as their numbers have risen drastically, boat refugees have been a hot topic in European papers and parliaments. But it is not a new thing that people risk their lives on the unsafe journey across the troubled waters of the Mediterranean. For a number of years, the Strait of Gibraltar – the narrowest part of the Mediterranean, where only fourteen kilometers of water separate Morocco and Spain, Africa and Europe – was the undisputed favorite route of the sea’s boat migrants. However, due to the EU’s upgraded border controls the Strait of Gibraltar has lost its great significance in the last couple of years – or rather, the narrow strait has turned into Europe’s bulwark instead of its threshold. But from the beginning of the 1990s, when the EU’s migration policy began to settle into its present strict form and the number of undocumented migrants exploded as a result of declining opportunities for migrating legally to Fortress Europe, and well into the 2000s, the undocumented route to Europe more often than not went through the Strait of Gibraltar. During those years, irregular migration across the strait also developed its own literature. This was mainly written in French by Moroccan authors, and I will refer to it here as hrig literature. Hrig is the Maghrebi Arabic term for the illegalized migration across the Mediterranean. The original meaning is “burning”, referring to the common practice among migrants of burning their identity papers before departure to reduce the risk of getting deported if they are arrested in

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Europe. Derived from hrig, the migrants are called harragas, “burners”. “Burning the strait” has therefore become an idiomatic expression for the dangerous journey. I’ll look into three hrig literary novels: Tahar Ben Jelloun’s Partir (2006), Mahi Binebine’s Cannibales (1999) and Youssouf Amine Elalamy’s Les clandestins (2000). Partir takes place partly in Tangier and partly in Barcelona in the late ’90s. The novel follows Azel and his sister Kenza, who both succeed in migrating to Spain. After many years of longing and one failed attempt to burn the strait, Azel unwillingly accepts a job offer that apparently entails becoming the lover of the wealthy Spaniard Miguel in order to enter Spain. Kenza joins him after a marriage of convenience with Miguel, and thus neither Azel nor Kenza are harragas. However, Azel’s status as a legal migrant is precarious and temporary. When he loses Miguel’s goodwill, he sinks into the undocumented underworld of boat migrants. Cannibales takes place on a cold, windswept beach on the Moroccan coast where seven boat migrants are huddled together waiting to cross the strait. The plot spreads over only one night, but a series of flashbacks unfold the background stories of the harragas. Les clandestins centers around a capsizing, throwing light on it from many different perspectives. A patera, a small wooden boat that was the preferred means of transport for harragas in the ’90s,1 washes up on the beach near the Moroccan village of Bnidar along with thirteen drowned migrants. That pretty burgundy passport: Identity papers and identity crises The word hrig counterintuitively juxtaposes fire and water while hinting at the burning desire underlying the migrant’s drastic decision to risk their life to come to Europe – connotations often exploited in hrig literature. Not least, hrig emphasizes the great significance that documents and documentation have for the undocumented migrant. If the harragas have been named for the destruction of their abject, African identity papers, the novels on the other hand describe them as characterized by their burning desire for new, European papers. In hrig literature, the undocumented migrant’s strong wish to be included in the European state’s protection, rights and privileges is expressed almost as a fetishism of the European documents – particularly “that pretty burgundy passport”, as Ben Jelloun puts it in Partir. Cannibales is set, among other locations, at 1 Later, pateras were replaced by zodiacs, slightly larger inflatable dinghies.

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Café France in Tangier, a café frequented by two very different groups of travelers: harragas and Western backpackers. The narrator Azzouz, who belongs to the former, far less privileged group, jealously fantasizes about the tourists’ passports:

becomes a space for the juxtaposition of fiction and migration that runs through the novel – often with undertones of warning against the deadly consequences of starry-eyed migrant reveries.

“What a waste, don’t you think, all those red, blue, green, and maroon passports moldering in the pockets of all those ripped jeans. Ah, now if I’d have one, I’d have taken care of it, I’d have cosseted it, pressed it to my heart, I’d have hidden it somewhere the thieving and envious wouldn’t ever be able to find it, sewn it into my own skin, right in the middle of my chest, so I’d only have to unbutton my shirt to show it when I was crossing borders.”

Unlike Partir, Cannibales and Les clandestins both have harragas as protagonists and narrators. Les clandestins lets varying narrators tell the story of the capsizing over and over again. Cannibales, which is less stylistically experimental, has only one narrator, young Azzouz. It is obvious to compare the protagonists of Partir and Cannibales. Azel and Azzouz are both young men and therefore both typical migrants and typical novelistic heroes. In fact, a young man on a journey is one of the most archetypical models of epic writing.3 The numerous texts cast in this mold have undoubtedly contributed to the construction of the migrant as male. These narratives also play a role as a driving force for harragas, which becomes obvious when Azzouz imagines himself arriving in Spain as a classic, masculine adventurer: “I saw myself as a conquering hero at the prow, chest thrown out, ready to take on all the demons of the West. Once we were on dry land, I’d go and set the sultry hearts of the Andalusian women on fire.” Azel’s girlfriend Siham, who is also planning on migrating and has already crossed the strait once only to be deported, criticizes the fact that only men are included in these heroic tales of migration while migrant women are looked down upon and branded as whores. Like Azzouz, Azel is largely driven by a desire for masculinity. One of the main reasons for his migration is Morocco’s unemployment rate, which forces him, in the most emasculating fashion, to be supported by his sister. This emasculating unemployment as a driving force for the male migrant is expressed even clearer by Les clandestins’ Slimane, who must also suffer the humiliation of being supported by a woman, his wife: “No matter what you got hanging between your legs, you’re not a man if you’re out of work.” But what awaits Azel in Spain is anything but masculine rehabilitation. On the contrary, Partir describes migration as feminizing in the utmost. Both Binebine and Elalamy quite realistically let all their harragas drown. In Partir, Azel and Kenza initially survive the journey across the strait, but they both suffer great losses in the wake of their migration – in Azel’s case, so great that they actually end up killing him. In Spain, Azel is thrown into a deep identity crisis, evidently

Can the drowned speak? None of Partir’s protagonists are harragas. The harraga figure is mainly represented by Azel’s cousin Noureddine, who is among the many unsuccessful boat migrants who have drowned in the attempt to cross the strait. He does not appear in the plot as such, however; only in flashbacks and, to top it off, mainly in Azel’s recollection of his dead body. The other named harraga character, Hamou, plays such a small role that he is barely a character: a coughing shadow huddled in a corner without any dialogue. Harragas hardly appear as characters, and when they do, they are voiceless, dead or dying. One could say that this is a realistic representation, and that the dead can never speak. Anyone telling their story will always be in a privileged position. Is it then possible to write about harragas without obliterating them? How to navigate between victimization and suppression? Les clandestins solves this unsolvable dilemma by making the drowned boat migrants narrators of the novel. The passengers on the patera are victims of hopeless, structural circumstances and, at the same time, complex characters with their own voices. In Partir, too, the ghosts of drowned boat refugees float above the text from the beginning. The opening scene takes place at the legendary Café Hafa at the outermost tip of Tangier, overlooking the Spanish coast; a café where Western artists and bohemians used to meet when they flocked to the city in the mid-twentieth century.2 Now, in the ’90s, the café is haunted by another kind of dreamer: boat migrants-to-be. Café Hafa 2 Café Hafa was visited by Tennessee Williams, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Truman Capote and Jean Genet, among others.

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Identity loss and feminization

3 It is also a Russian formalistic point, which Vladimir Propp presents in his analyses of folktales.

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mainly caused by the loss of masculinity he feels in being Miguel’s lover. When he leaves Miguel and becomes illegalized he also, mysteriously, becomes impotent, which deals further blows to his wounded ego. Dreams of metamorphosis When Azel is caught without documents by the police, he narrowly escapes the disgraceful deportation by becoming a police informant and infiltrating an Islamist group, who end up cutting his throat. (Incidentally, Kenza nearly doesn’t survive her migration either: she attempts to commit suicide after an ill-fated love affair). At first Azel cannot help feeling remorse over being an informant, but tellingly he clings to the dream of transformation, which is described as a powerful driving force for the migrant: “I’m going to transform myself, become someone else – that would be a good thing, after all: I’m changing from one person to another.” Ironically, his dream of transformation is inspired by Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, which he, admittedly, has not read very closely. Azel’s misinterpretation is inadvertently spot-on: like Gregor Samsa he transforms himself into something unrecognizable and loathsome, a downright bodily alienation. Azel’s heartbreakingly optimistic misreading of Kafka is also a clue in the thread that, throughout the novel, warns hopeful migrants-to-be against being seduced by fictions. Partir, Cannibales and Les clandestins all present harragas as driven by myths and stories about the blissful hrig, which are very far from the reality that meets them on the sea or, if they get that far, in Europe. Partir especially describes the migrant as characterized by a lacking sense of reality, which has fatal consequences – and Ben Jelloun doesn’t shrink from spelling out this point. The real transformations Azel goes through in Spain are feminization and infantilization; several times, he is described as a child. The feminization of the migrant, as well as the infantilization, is striking in all three texts. The typical migrant might be a man, but at the same time, he is not man enough.4 The migrant characters in all three texts dream of transforming themselves by happily shedding their old skins, but they instead end up going through painful identity losses. It is worth noting that each of the twelve male harragas in Les clandestins are called by nicknames, as if they already, before departure, lost the defining part of themselves: their names. In Cannibales, the 4 In Les clandestins, the harraga character is also infantilized. When the boat capsizes – a scene written in dialogue – one of the passengers repeatedly cries for his mother.

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human smuggler’s hearty henchman Morad also changes his name when he arrives in Paris, where he calls himself Momo. It is Morad/Momo who most ghoulishly illustrates both the migrant’s identity loss and the migrant’s desire for documents through the cannibalistic motif which gives the novel its title. In a recurrent nightmare, he dreams that his employer is eating him piece by piece in exchange for, among other things, a residence permit. While all of the migrant characters in the three novels lose themselves in different ways, Partir’s Nâzim, Kenza’s Turkish lover, is the most obvious example of how the migrant must build up a new identity from scratch. Nâzim has fled from a gambling debt and now lives illegally in Barcelona. He lies to Kenza by omission, hiding the existence of his wife and children in Turkey, while he lies to them about having a successful career in Madrid. Migrant figures in European discourses But migrants must reinvent more than just themselves. According to Edward W. Said’s classic essay Reflections on Exile (2000), every exiled person must in some way reinvent their world – almost as if inventing a fictional universe. It is therefore not a coincidence, Said argues, that there is a large number of authors among exiles. In exile, one compensates for disorientation and powerlessness by creating and controlling one’s own fictional world. Said is not exactly blind to the fact that only certain, very privileged, forms of exile have traditionally been granted a voice in literature. When his terminology of “exiles, refugees, expatriates and émigrés” still seems both outdated and limited (in terms of class), it is most of all because the figure of the illegalized migrant is missing. More adequate, up-to-date terms can be found in Serhat Karakayali and Enrica Rigo’s essay “Mapping the European Space of Circulation” (2010), in which they record a genealogy of the changing migrant figures that have dominated the public discourse in Europe since WWII. In the postwar period, the guest worker was the prototypical migrant in the European conception. Back then, immigrating to Europe for financial reasons was still considered legitimate, and through the ’60s and ’70s Morocco was a huge supplier of guest workers. Gradually, the figure of the guest worker was replaced by the politically persecuted refugee and the asylum seeker, characters that dominated discourses about migration until the beginning of the ’90s. Economic migration was increasingly frowned upon, and the seeds were sown for the presently prevailing discourses about migrants as welfare parasites. (Underpaid labor performed by

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illegalized migrants with minimal rights is still extremely profitable for the EU, though – a point rarely heard in the mainstream discourse about migration.) Today, the illegal migrant is the dominant figure in European discourses about migration.5 That is a real and material consequence of the common European (anti)migration policy, which has made it very difficult to migrate legally to the EU. However, this is not to say that undocumented migration did not take place before, including during the postwar era of guest workers. Karakayali and Rigo emphasize that these changing migrant figures are not ontological, but epistemological and discursive categories. As an example, people fleeing from Southern Europe’s fascist dictatorships to France, Belgium or Germany during the postwar period were considered guest workers, as that happened to be the paradigm legitimizing migration at that time. Later, people who fled from unemployment or poverty had to frame their story as an escape from political persecution.

interlude between two fixed points. In the last few years, other critics have pointed out another paradigm shift, from migrant literature to migration literature. Where the label migrant literature implies a biographical requirement for the writer’s identity – and has been criticized for exoticizing and essentializing this migrant identity – the field of migration literature is defined by the genre and style of the texts. The change from exile literature to migrant literature, and then to migration literature, indicates first of all a class shift from the production of a small, well-educated literary elite to a literature stemming from the mass migrations of our time. Secondly, it indicates a turn towards a greater focus on the movement itself: neither the immigration (seen from the perspective of the “receiving country”) nor the emigration (seen from the perspective of the “home country”) but the actual migration – seen from the perspective of the migrant. In other words, the autonomy of migration.

From exile literature to migrant and migration literature

The concept of the autonomy of migration is was popularized by Dimitris Papadopoulos, Niamh Stephenson and Vassilis Tsiano’s influential 2008 work Escape Routes: Control and Subversion in the 21st Century. Since then, the term has had great significance in critical migration research. Understanding migration as autonomous is a matter of understanding it as a movement in more than one sense: as a political and social movement, rather than solely a reaction to economic and social privation and suppression, and thereby as more than a result of push and pull factors. Illegalized migrants in particular are often seen as completely at the mercy of their fate, with no notice given to how they play an active part in creating this fate. In contrast, the autonomy of migration emphasizes how migration is a constitutive force in the formation of sovereignty. The fact that migration is autonomous does not mean that it is detached from social, cultural or economic structures; it means that it is a creative force in the shaping of these structures.

Similarly, historical changes between migration paradigms can be found in literature and literary criticism. Some critics operate with a development from exile literature to migrant literature. The term migrant literature was introduced in order to designate literature by authors who had come to Europe as a part of the mass migration in the second half of the twentieth century – an example is the German Gastarbeiterliteratur – and to distinguish them from the privileged, highly educated exiled authors such as Nabokov. The canonical literary exiles were often celebrated for their special role as observers of at least two different cultures6 – including by Said in Reflections on Exile – often in ways which reproduced a binary logic between a foreign (Western) “here” and a romanticized homeland. The shift from exile to migrant challenges this binary logic by emphasizing movement, rootlessness and the mixing of cultures and languages. Already within the terms migrant and migration, without the prefixes imor e-, lies a choice of focusing on the movement itself and its state instead of seeing it as a temporary 5 Possibly overshadowed by the refugee during the so-called refugee crisis. 6 Another great postcolonial thinker, Homi K. Bhabha, makes a similar point in The Location of Culture: “the truest eye may now belong to the migrant’s double vision” – although this is in regard to Salman Rushdie, who is considered a migrant writer rather than an exile writer.

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The autonomy of migration

Between powerlessness and vanguard projection The concept of the autonomy of migration has gained footing as a much-needed alternative to state-centered migration theory, which analyzes migration from the perspective of power and which until recently dominated critical migration research. If critical or radical migration research and activism focused on governmental sovereignty and impenetrable borders, against which migrants stood powerless, discourses about mi-

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grant agency, on the other hand, were exclusively expressed from a right-wing, anti-immigration perspective: the migrant as wily Homo economicus or cunning criminal sneaking across borders to sponge on the benefits of the welfare state. The concept of the autonomy of migration makes it possible to move beyond the dichotomy of migrants as either objectified victims or criminal subjects. The state- and power-centered approach to migration is often ascribed to the influential thinker Giorgio Agamben. The Agamben-inspired approach has been criticized for depriving the migrant of agency and autonomy as well as affirming the powerlessness of the migrant. Søren Rafn, however, has pointed out that Agamben’s text We Refugees (1993) offers a very different, empowering conceptualization of the refugee7 as a vanguard figure with political potential. Agamben’s We Refugees is a reading of Hannah Arendt’s fiftyyear-older, eponymous text, which emphasizes the Jewish refugee in particular as “the vanguard of their people”. The vanguard figure is characterized by a new historical awareness and an ability to rise above the patriotism and assimilation of the nation-state. At the same time, Arendt dissociates herself from another idea about the refugee as a vanguard figure: the Western, politicized notion of the heroic political refugee fleeing from communist totalitarianism because of their Western ideals (a concept that many have criticized as haunting the UN’s Refugee Convention). Today, the Other of the West is no longer Communism but Islamism. It is therefore Islamism, and increasingly also just Islam, which non-Western migrants are expected to explicitly disavow if they wish to be included in the rights of Western nation-states. In Partir, Azel appears as a parody of the vanguard refugee in this Arendtian sense when he becomes a police informant and infiltrates Islamist groups in Spain. Building on Arendt, Agamben conceptualizes the refugee as a vanguard figure in a slightly different way: as the political border figure refusing to be assimilated as a citizen into any nation-state. This is where Rafn criticizes Agamben for projecting an idealized vanguard character onto the migrant. Is it really the migrant who refuses assimilation and citizenship? Has the migrant moved beyond wanting asylum, a residence permit, citizenship, rights, representation, and the other objects of desire which many migration theorists have rejected as reactionary? The notion of the migrant as a vanguard figure 7 Here it is fruitful to understand “refugee” as a broader term including various types of migrants beyond the narrow legal definition.

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– in both Agamben’s and Arendt’s sense – haunts theories about exile literature, and appears still in contemporary criticism of migrant and migration literature. This, what Rafn calls the vanguard projection, contrasts with the idea of the powerless migrant deprived of all agency. Theories about the autonomy of migration try to avoid these two extremes – but they still tend to lean towards the former. That is also the case with Escape Routes. Imperceptible politics and the madness of migration Escape Routes introduces the term imperceptible politics, which among other things is characterized by objectlessness. Thus, it is political practice that is an end in itself – not unlike hrig as represented in literature. Here, migration not only appears as a means – to wealth, success, freedom or other things – but strikingly also as an object of desire. Dreams of the journey itself are at least as prevalent as dreams of the destination. Azel’s “obsession with leaving the country someday” echoes in Azzouz’s description of how “the idea of leaving had stolen into my mind, monopolizing all my thoughts as it grew, like a virus that could wipe out all my dreams except one, the dream of departure.” Like Azzouz, Azel describes his “obsession” of crossing the strait in pathologized terms, as madness. There is no doubt that Ben Jelloun, Binebine and Elalamy present the migration of the hrig as autonomous in the sense that the migrant’s desire for the movement in itself defies the logic of any push or pull factor. But hrig literature tends to represent migration as a contagious epidemic befalling hapless victims – a virus, in Azzouz’s words; a madness, in Azel’s – rather than as the subversive practice of active subjects. Dis-identification: The eternal becoming of the migrant Manuela Bojadžijev and Serhat Karakayali, who originally introduced the concept of the autonomy of migration,8 warn against making the migrant a spearhead for social change – another guise of the vanguard projection. In the same vein, Escape Routes disavows “a heroic glorification of migrant ruses and tactics”. Yet theories about the autonomy of migration are often criticized for romanticizing migration. And despite the painstaking disclaimer, Escape Routes itself does not exactly steer clear of romanticization. That becomes obvious in the section that happens to deal directly with hrig. Escape Routes coins the term dis-iden8 In “Autonomie der Migration: 10 Thesen zu einer Methode” (2007)

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tification to designate the radical anti-assimilationist and anti-identificatory potentials of the burning of the documents, on which great emphasis is placed. It verges on jubilant, celebrating harragas’ document burning as the absolute rejection of all wishes for identity or inclusion in any nation-state. Compared to the representation of hrig in the novels, the desire for European documents (and all of the rights and privileges they confer) is conspicuous by its absence. As pictured in Partir and Cannibales in particular, the harragas are characterized as much by their fervent desire for new European papers as they are defined by the burning of their old. In hrig literature, the harraga is by no means above striving towards citizenship and other forms of inclusion, representation and rights, which Escape Routes, between the lines, tends to write off as reactionary. The granting of both rights and representation requires a firmly defined subjectivity – an identity – which according to Escape Routes is inconsistent with migration. On the contrary, migration is characterized by an eternal and never-ending becoming: “[T]he demands of migrants and the dynamics of migration cannot be exhausted in the quest for visibility and rights. This is because both visibility and rights function as differentiation markers, establishing a clear link between the person and his/her origins, the body and an identity. And this is precisely what migrants want to avoid […] What migrants really want is to become everybody, to become imperceptible.” What grates on the ear here is the three theorists’ cocksure proclamation of “what migrants really want”. Of course, Escape Routes supports its claim about the migrants’ desire for dis-identification with empirical examples. Several of the book’s informants change their names, a dis-identification strategy that, as mentioned, is used by migrants in both Les clandestins and Cannibales. Another central example of dis-identification is changing species: Escape Routes lists a number of examples of how migrants, either by themselves or by others, are associated with different animals in a so-called “voluntary dehumanization”. Several animal metaphors occur in hrig literature; for instance, harragas are repeatedly compared with fish throughout Les clandestins. But the question is whether these are really a matter of “voluntary dehumanization”, or rather tactical attempts to avoid control out of necessity – or dehumanization forced on the migrants from above. Looking at hrig literature, I am inclined towards the latter answer. Here, migration does not entail a liberating and devil-may-care dis-identification, but rather a deeply painful identity loss that in most cases ends with death.

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But what hrig literature does have in common with theories about the autonomy of migration is the presentation of the undocumented migrant as a purely negative identity. As mentioned previously, the disintegration of the migrant’s identity is striking in Partir, Cannibales and Les clandestins alike. Certain passages in Cannibales appear almost as manifestos for imperceptible politics and dis-identification as defined in Escape Routes, such as here: “Perhaps we should have […] got[ten] into training for the future: learn how to become invisible, disappear into a crowd, hug the walls, avoid eye contact, speak only when spoken to, bury our pride and close our hearts to humiliation and insults […] learn to keep in the background, to be nobody: another shadow, a stray dog, a lowly earthworm, or even a cockroach. That’s it, yes, learn to be a cockroach.” This positively sounds like an echo of Escape Routes’ conceptualization of escape as becoming: “The trope of becoming animal is only one of the tactics migrants employ in order to claim their freedom of movement. Becoming woman, becoming child, becoming elder, becoming soil, becoming fluid, becoming animal is the migrants’ answer to attempts to control their desire” (emphasis added). Indeed, in Les clandestins and Cannibales, harragas (metaphorically) turn into fish and vermin, dogs and cockroaches, respectively. As mentioned, Azel turns into a child in the sense that his migration infantilizes him and strips him of authority. And in fact he also turns into a woman, when Miguel forces him to dress up as an odalisque and perform for his guests. But Azel’s temporary drag is the exact opposite of “the migrants’ response to the attempt of controlling their desire”, as Escape Routes optimistically interprets the migrant’s gender change.9 It is not Azel’s own desire that makes him a woman but, on the contrary, Miguel’s strongly exoticizing and almost parodically orientalist desire. Azel’s “becoming woman” is therefore diametrically opposed to Escape Routes’ optimistic concepts of migrant anti-identification: not subversive agency or strategic dis-identification, but the objectification, violation and identity loss of the migrant. Here, Partir could easily be criticized for being heteronormative. The question is, however, whether migrants can be expected to be above all norma9 Incidentally, it is worth noting that apparently Escape Routes can only imagine the gender transition from the perspective of the cisman: “becoming woman”, not “becoming man”.

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tivity, whether it be gender identity or national and governmental rights. Who decides “what migrants really want”? And is it really “not to exist”, as Escape Routes proclaims? Escape Routes comes dangerously close to idealizing the invisibilization of the undocumented migrant as something akin to a magician’s disappearing act. Hrig literature rather depicts it as obliteration. Such is also the case in Les clandestins: the fish metaphor is not “[t]he trope of becoming animal” as “one of the tactics migrants employ in order to claim their freedom of movement”. On the contrary, it mimics the Western media’s objectification and dehumanization of the drowned boat migrants. Hrig literature, on the other hand, can be criticized for being too conservative and too “victimizing”. Not least Partir appears in certain passages as a cautionary tale warning impressionable youth against the dangers of migration. But even though dis-identification is mainly presented as loss in Partir, Cannibales and Les clandestins, the characters are not only victims of identity crisis, suppression and drowning. They also embody the creative force of the escape brought forth in theories about the autonomy of migration. Imperceptible politics is driven by fiction and imagination, and in hrig literature, fiction and migration are two sides of the same escapist coin. Fiction, migration and escapism Partir, Cannibales and Les clandestins present migration as a driving force behind fiction and, at the same time, different kinds of fictions as driving forces behind migration. The characters are not writers, but they still, in different ways, invent their own fictional universes. In all three texts, the migrant characters are distinguished by their escapist daydreams and vivid imaginations. Migration seems to be not only an escape from poverty, persecution or hopelessness, but also an escape from reality itself. In the dreamlike passage in the final chapter of Partir, which breaks with the realism of the rest of the novel, the character Flaubert fantasizes about disappearing into a novel. The name Flaubert broadly hints at the connection between the migrant and the writer, as does Nâzim, who is named after the Turkish poet Nâzim Hikmet. The only kinds of fiction Nâzim creates, however, are the many lies he is forced to tell about himself. Nâzim’s tragic story makes it clear that the migrant is at least as much a fictional character as a writer. In his own way, Azzouz takes on a role of writer. His beloved teacher, the motherly Sœur Bénédicte, introduces him to classic French novels and makes him summarize them. When Azzouz doesn’t finish a book in time, he ingeniously

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makes up a new ending. Later, he invents background stories for the other harragas. At the same time, he explicitly declines the role of writer: ”But I’m making things up; it’s a habit of mine. Sister Bénédicte used to say I had an unbridled imagination, that one day I’d be a writer. To write what, sister? Describe what? Poverty? People don’t want to hear about that, let alone pay to have it shoved in their faces.” If Azzouz finds the North African reality too bleak to write about, he conversely imagines Europe as a paradise. Of course, Europe turns out to be a paradise for the boat migrants only in the sense that it is a land of the dead. In different ways, the three novels appear as cautionary tales against the alluring fictions and dreams that make starry-eyed harragas lose contact with reality and burn the strait, their heads in the clouds. Alluring fictions and loss of reality: Literature as migration Partir blames fiction in many ways for the distortion of reality. Firstly, fiction in the sense of tales of the promised Europe and the general bliss of migration; myths thriving among hopeful migrants and lies spread by human smugglers. Secondly, fiction in the sense of literature, particularly novels, which play an astonishingly big part as a catalyst for the characters’ migration. As mentioned, Azel’s hope of being reborn in his migration is inspired by Kafka’s Metamorphosis, albeit a misunderstanding of it. Just as Kafka has kindled Azel’s desire to burn the strait, literature has turned Kenza’s head: “She had an exalted idea of love [...] described so tellingly in the films and novels she had adored. She remembered in particular The Alexandria Quartet […]; Gone with the Wind and The Lady of the Camellias had deeply moved her as well […]. And it was also how she had realized that she would not find such a love in Morocco.” Thus, it is novels that have convinced Kenza of the necessity of migrating. Partir further points to the significance of fiction by conjuring up no less than two of the most famous characters in literary history, both known for suffering from reality loss caused by excessive reading. One is Don Quixote, the other Madame Bovary. The latter, however, is only evoked as a ghostly gleam through the name of her author, Flaubert, which is also the name of a character in Partir. Both Flaubert and Don

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Quixote are on board the dream ship Toutia sailing back to Morocco from Spain in the novel’s final chapter, Revenir. Interestingly, they both travel without documents. What every harraga dreams of, and what fails fatally in so many cases – crossing the Mediterranean without documents – the two literary ghosts succeed at without further ado. Critics of hrig literature have suggested that these texts do exactly what many harragas cannot: cross borders. In this vein, Flaubert directly compares the ship with a novel. Of course, it is a good thing that Western readers are introduced to the trials of boat migrants in the guise of novels, but this point about hrig literature as successful migration in the harragas’ stead is rather too jubilant. No matter how well novels about hrig sell in Europe, they do not get more people across the Mediterranean alive. It is worth noting which literary characters succeed in crossing the Mediterranean, and the direction in which they travel. Don Quixote and Flaubert, who represent a Spanish and a French classic respectively and thereby both former colonial powers of Morocco, travel from Europe to Africa. That strongly indicates the special kind of migration known as colonialism. It is a well-known postcolonial point that the former colonies are still subjected to cultural imperialism by the former imperial powers. Postcolonial readers must still settle for a Eurocentric canon, much of which is produced by former colonialists. Azzouz only reads French novels in the convent school, and Azel and Kenza’s fatal aspirations of migrating are inspired by Western literature in whose characters they find splintered and distorted mirror images – perhaps for lack of more suitable reflections and role models in literature. This lack, on the other hand, is something that hrig literature can make up for. Media critique and document ion One of Les clandestins’ harragas, Jaafar, is known as Houlioud: Hollywood pronounced in sneering Arabic, after his native slum district. With scathing irony, the name not only connotes wealth and success, but also glossy, grandiose narratives with happy endings. The final sentence of the text explicitly negates such a Hollywood ending: “And if there’s no music, and no drumroll to accompany all this, no screen and no ticket either, it’s in order to say that for all those drowned souls on the sand, say what you will, this isn’t Hollywood.” The varying narrators repeatedly emphasize that it is not a movie we are dealing with. Where Cannibales and Partir present various kinds of fiction as driving forces behind migration, Les clandestins takes great pains to burst all bubbles of

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fiction. The first chapter does start out as a traditional fairy tale: “Once there was a little girl.” But it ends with a negation of the fairytale: “They didn’t get married, they didn’t live happily ever after.” Of course, there is no denying that Les clandestins obviously is fiction. But through different poetic devices, the novel at the same time dissociates itself from the fictitious and incorporates features of a more documentary kind. The language is larded with half-finished sentences and torrents of speech without punctuation. The many changing narrators with their diverse and colloquial voices make large parts of the text seem like transcriptions of testimonies. In its entirety, the novel appears as a scrupulous piece of documentation of the capsizing, somewhere between a news report, a police report and an anthropological survey. If Les clandestins is an attempt to document hrig, it could be in order to make up for the news media’s suppression or distortion of the phenomenon. Media coverage is directly thematized and criticized. In the Moroccan media, the thirteen drowned harragas are reduced to “two careless swimmers”. This gross misrepresentation suggests that we are in the early years of the hrig – the late ’80s or early ’90s – when Moroccan media tried to play down illegalized emigration as much as possible. Later, the media strategy shifted to deterring boat migrants-to-be with graphic pictures of drowned harragas and focusing on successful government steps to curb the hrig.10 In Partir, which takes place in the late ’90s, we get a glimpse of the government’s use of media in such anti-hrig scare campaigns. In the European media, there has never been a lack of stories about boat migrants on the Mediterranean, and they have often been angled from an EU border security perspective. One of the many ways in which Les clandestins tells the story about the capsized boat is through the European media, or more precisely through the lens of the Spanish photographer Alvaro. As matter-of-fact as a telegram he lists the macabre photographs. Alvaro’s pictures represent the extreme reduction of harragas to dead objects and, at the same time, expose the European exoticization and objectification of African refugees. Reluctant voices and mimicking the media discourse Les clandestins insists on its own insufficiency and repeatedly points out what it cannot put into 10 The Moroccan authorities’ attempts to curb hrig are largely grandstanding, however, with their primary goal to make friends with the EU. In reality, the Moroccan state has financial interests in emigration to Europe, as remittances constitute a considerable source of income.

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words. Several of the narrators search in vain for words, what also contributes to the novel’s feel of colloquial authenticity and transcribed testimony. The smuggler character gets airtime in a single chapter, but quickly disqualifies himself as a narrator: “I’d have some stories to tell […] The thing is, I don’t get paid to tell stories, just to make the crossing.” The omniscient narrator, too, must give up on telling stories. The text begins reluctantly with a narrative admission of failure: “Once there was a little girl whose eyes I can’t begin to put in words and whose smile, well, I suppose I could try. But how to begin? […] I can’t put it into words, some other time, maybe.” Another way in which Les clandestins thematizes (the impossibility of) representation of hrig is by mimicking the media discourse and employing one of the tritest journalistic metaphors for boat migrants: fish. European journalists favor fish metaphors when describing boat migration. Les clandestins repeatedly compares the migrants with fish, but it also reappropriates the dehumanizing cliché in a way that restore the migrants’ humanity: “scattered about the sand, a strange kettle of fish. Fish so big they might have been human, God forbid, they look human, dear God, like people, they are people! And oh my God, they’re our people!” Partir incorporates a media-critical thread as well. Several of the characters grumble in passing about the newspapers. But it is the oracle-wise madman Moha who provides the clearest media critique. At a café in Tangier, he sets a newspaper on fire with a nod to the harragas’ document burning, and thereby conflates the two kinds of documentation that play such major parts in hrig literature: documentation in the sense of identity papers, and documentation in the sense of testimony. In frustration, Moha burns the newspaper because of its lies about the government’s successful curtailing of emigration and unemployment. Interestingly, he accuses the content of being fictitious. When newspapers become fiction, perhaps literature must become documentation.

discourses. Both kinds of documentation – identity papers and representation – help constitute what counts as human. Hrig literature cannot do much about the former kind of undocumentedness, but it can resist suppression and distortion by writing alternative, nuanced stories about harragas. Hrig literature’s peculiar, sorrowful mode of documentation of the undocumented migrants’ deaths moves in the border zone of the obituary or the elegy. Thus, the literary representation of the migrant can contribute to making the migrant grievable and thereby human. And in these times, it is imperative – more than ever before – to look critically at the representation of the migrant figure. This text is an abridged and adapted version of the Masters thesis At brænde strædet, University of Copenhagen 2015

Testimonies of undocumented death When newspapers become fiction, literature must become documentation. Even though Les clandestins is painfully aware of its own insufficiency, it is – just like Partir and Cannibales – irrefutably a form of documentation of the underexposed or misrepresented phenomenon of hrig. I would venture calling hrig literature a branch of testimonial literature: fiction bearing testimony to the undocumented boat migrants and documenting their undocumented deaths. Harragas are undocumented both legally and in terms of representation: they are paperless, and they are under- or misrepresented in different

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Revolution fra undergrunden

Jeg var stadig påvirket af drømmen og blandede mig i samtalen: ”Ved I at Daesh også dræber homoseksuelle mænd? De kaster dem ned fra høje bygninger.”

K. S., en syrisk forfatter i Sverige

”Homoseksuelle? Åh, du mener de der bøsserøve!” fastslog en anden og tændte endnu en cigaret.

De havde bundet mine håndled meget stramt bag ryggen; det grove reb skar sig næsten ind i mine hænder. Der var en der hev i mine arme; hans hænder greb fat om min nakke lige under knuden på det beskidte stykke stof, som jeg havde fået bundet for øjnene. Jeg kunne intet se. Kunne kun høre deres stemmer hviske: ”Han skal slås ihjel. Han er kvindagtig... en synder.” Min krop begyndte at ryste og svede voldsomt på trods af smerten og det kølige vejr. Jeg kunne mærke svedperlerne dryppe ned over min pande. Jeg havde ikke kendt til betydningen af frygt før det øjeblik, hvor jeg indså at jeg stod på kanten af en høj bygning. Min krop blev gennemrusket af hårde vindstød. ”Kast ham ud, skub ham, sådan en synder... ’en Luti’; han er en af Luts syndere.” Hånden om min nakke løsnede sit tag; et skub og jeg mærkede hvordan min krop faldt ud i det tomme intet. Jeg vågnede panisk op med vidt åbne øjne og kunne stadig ikke se noget. Stakåndet og febrilsk førte jeg hånden op til ansigtet og rev sovemasken af. Jeg drev på et hav af sved på den smalle seng i det værelse, jeg havde sovet i siden min ankomst til asylboende i Åseda. Fra sprækken under døren trængte en kraftig nikotinlugt ind i værelset. Jeg kunne høre mandsstemmer ude fra køkkenet. Stadig ør fra drømmen famlede jeg efter min mobil under sengen. Klokken var ti. Jeg begav mig langsomt ud mod køkkenet for at lave kaffe. Da jeg åbnede døren, blev jeg ramt af en tyk røgsky; min bofælle havde venner på besøg, og rundt om bordet blev der røget og snakket livligt på arabisk. Jeg forsøgte at fremtvinge et smil. De snakkede om at Daesh ifølge de seneste nyheder havde overtaget styringen over flere skoler i det område, hvor de regerede brutalt. ”Der er kaffe på kanden,” sagde min bofælle. ”Hvilken slags uddannelse kan disse kriminelle mon give børnene?” Spørgsmålet kom fra en af mændene, han skoddede sin cigaret i askebægeret. ”Assads regime slår vores børn ihjel, og Daesh gør dem til ekstremister og terrorister,” tilføjede en anden.

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Alle nikkede, og ham der havde sagt at børnene bliver gjort til fanatikere, tilføjede: ”Bøsserøvene bliver nævnt i Koranen som Luts syndere, vi havde ikke hørt om sygdommen før vi kom til Sverige; om de sygelige tilbøjeligheder, som nogle flygtninge får, når de kommer til Europa.” De viste ingen sympati for de myrdede homoseksuelle, og jeg indså pludselig at mareridtet var reelt, nærværende rundt om bordet her i køkkenet på asylboende. Jeg kiggede på dem, hvordan de sad der og røg; det så ud som om der steg en bitter os op fra deres hoveder. Min tunge føltes frossen, lammet. Er jeg tavs, selv i Sverige? Jeg gik tilbage på mit værelse med en følelse af nederlag. Siddende der på sengen, i den lillebitte bås af et værelse, blev min krop overtaget af en overvældende tomhed. Alligevel besluttede jeg mig for at tage kampen op mod det tungsind, der var blevet min trofaste følgesvend. Jeg greb per refleks min notesblok og gik for første gang i flere måneder i gang med at skrive: ”Fra nu af skal det ikke længere være en hemmelighed. Jeg læste engang et sted, at der ikke sker nogen rigtig forandring før vi selv kan bestemme over vores egne kroppe. Det er dét jeg må kæmpe for ved at fortælle om en usynlig verden, der for længe har været gemt væk under jorden.” Hammam Ammouneh På en smal gade i nabolaget Alamara, som er en del af den gamle by, ligger den beskedne hammam Ammouneh. I den osmanniske æra var Ammouneh et udbredt pigenavn. Indgangen var en lillebitte dør gemt under en buegang i nærheden af den Store Moske. Jeg var den yngste besøgende og blev budt velkommen af ejeren, der af samme grund havde givet mig kælenavnet ”killing”. Jeg rakte ham min pung, som han lagde ind i en boks, hvorefter han gav mig et nøglearmbånd. Jeg var alene i barranien, omklædningsrummet, som blev oplyst af to lysstofrør. Jeg klædte mig af og svøbte håndklædet rundt om hofterne. Mit hjerte hamrede afsted. Jeg så på de ansatte, der lagde håndklæder sammen og smilede til mig, og det virkede af en eller grund beroligende. Jeg glædede mig sådan til at træde ind i refugiet; min

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unge krop skælvede af forventning til hvad der ville møde mig. Jeg tog et stykke laurbærsæbe og en svamp for så at åbne døren indtil wastanien, et lille rum med en nøgen pære i midten. En rådden stank fra toiletterne rev i næsen; på en bænk til venstre for mig sad en gruppe mænd med skæg, også de havde håndklæder om livet. De stirrede på mig, og da jeg var for forlegen til at gengælde deres blikke, fortrak jeg til aljowanien, dampbadet. Dampen var ikke så voldsom, og duften af laurbær fyldte rummet. Bagerst i rummet fik jeg øje på to yderligere rum, hvor der i stedet for døre hang håndklæder, der gjorde det ud for forhæng. To mænd ude foran så ud til at stå vagt og holde folk på afstand. Jeg fandt et hjørne i nærheden af en vandhane med varmt vand. Fra min plads på gulvet kunne jeg gennem hullet under forhænget fange glimt af to sæt robuste ben der bevægede sig. De behårede ben knælede langsomt ned på det våde gulv. Min unge krop var fuldstændig opslugt af denne nye fornemmelse og brændte af lyst til at smugkigge, samtidig med at være for genert til at blive set. Pludselig dukkede en mand med overskæg op og spurgte i en krukket tone: ”Er det din første gang her?” Jeg nikkede mens jeg kiggede på hans overkrop. Hans hud var usædvanlig hvid og glat, og jeg skød ham til at være omkring de fyrre. Jeg lagde mærke til den mærkelige måde han havde bundet sit håndklæde på, det så nærmest ud som en kort nederdel. ”Jeg hedder Sahar,” hviskede han samtidig med at han pegede på tatoveringen på sin venstre skulder. Jeg var overrasket over at der manglede et bogstav, så der i stedet stod Sahr, hvilket er et pigenavn. Han spurgte om jeg gerne ville tiltales som kvinde, hvilket jeg frabad mig. Han grinede højt af mit svar: ”Det siger alle, der besøger stedet her for første gang,” fastslog han, mens han stirrede på mig med sine store øjne, ”og senere skifter I mening. Det er i al fald bedre at være topmand i det her forbandede samfund... og det er ikke nemt at være Sahar,” konkluderede han og lavede en høflig bevægelse med hånden og rørte ved sit bryst. Jeg kunne mærke hans ånde, så tæt lænede han sig op ad mig. ”Abu Imad vil gerne have sex med dig i et af de små rum,” blinkede han. ”Sig ja og du vil ikke fortryde det.” Det føltes som om blodet i min krop frøs til is, da jeg forestillede mig hvordan mine fødder skiftede position inde bag forhænget. Sahar sprøjtede vand i mit ansigt: ”Hey, vil du have Abu Imad eller hvad? Han har travlt.” Jeg var nysgerrig efter at se hvordan Abu Imad så ud, så jeg sagde ja. Abu Imad var i slutningen af trediverne. Han

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havde en flot krop, skæg i ansigtet og grånede en smule. Han lignede en af disse typiske mænd fra oplandet omkring Damaskus. Jeg havde ret, for mens han tilbød mig en cigaret fortalte han mig, at han kom fra Douma. Han virkede som en rar mand, og jeg følte mig afslappet i hans selskab. Han fortalte mig, at han arbejdede som taxachauffør, var gift og far til en femårig dreng. Det føltes underligt at få så meget at vide lige inden vi skulle have sex, men jeg forsøgte at bevare fatningen. Så spurgte han, om det var i orden at han gik ud for at bede i omklædningsrummet – han undskyldte sig med at skulle nå dagens fjerde bøn før det blev for sent. Han efterlod mig alene og forvirret. Hvorfor alle disse personlige detaljer? Forlod han mig så pludseligt fordi han havde fortrudt? Måske kunne han ikke lide mig? Måske var han politibetjent og ville være sikker på at jeg var homo, inden han snart ville komme tilbage med forstærkning og arrestere mig? Med ét føltes hammamen som en fælde... Abu Imad vendte tilbage med et sexet smil på læben. Han bad mig blidt om at gå med ham hen i dampbadet. Vi gik ind sammen, og han tog sit håndklæde af, hængte det på døren og opfordrede mig til at gøre det samme. Jeg vendte tilbage til Ammouneh mange gange efterfølgende. Jeg fandt ud af, at Abu Imad ikke var den eneste gifte mand i hammamen - de fleste besøgende fra Damaskus’ opland var gift. Selv Sahar havde kone og børn. Han fortalte mig, at de fleste gæster besøgte Ammouneh for at have sex med mænd, fordi de ikke kunne mødes med kvinder før ægteskabet. Nogle af dem fortsatte med at komme også efter de blev gift. Resten så man aldrig igen. For mit eget vedkommende kunne jeg godt lide ideen om at mødes med homoer for at snakke frem for at have sex. Jeg foretrak at have sex med heteroer. Jeg følte mig altid hjemme, når jeg besøgte Ammouneh. Jeg havde vænnet mig til den dårlige hygiejne og fokuserede i stedet på menneskerne, kød og blod. Efter et besøg gik jeg igennem de smalle gyder og følte mig fri, og jeg havde lyst til at synge og hoppe med visheden om at der var mange, der havde det som mig. Jeg følte mig ikke længere alene. Min ældre bror, som jeg delte en lejlighed med, plejede at bemærke hvor ren jeg så ud hver gang jeg kom hjem fra Ammouneh. Hammam Alemareye I 2003 studerede jeg engelsk litteratur på tredje år på universitetet i Damaskus. Det var blevet en fast fredagsvane at slå vejen forbi et offentligt bad. Ved at vise mig nøgen over for fremmede i hammamen

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fik jeg mere selvtillid og et mere afslappet forhold til min krop. En aften gik jeg hen ad den smalle gade Alemareye, under de ovale buer og jasminrankerne, som dækkede den travle gade fyldt med cafeer, bagerier og butikker, der solgte køkkengrej, tøj, tryk... Jeg gik forbi hammamen, da en gruppe mænd kom ud derfra, mens de snakkede muntert; det var tydeligt, at de var homoer. Hammam Alemareye var en smule dyrere end Ammouneh. Stedet var for nyligt blevet renoveret, godt oplyst med skinnende marmorfliser, der dækkede gulvet og de nederste vægflader. Ejerne var altid venlige over for klientellet, som også inkluderede turister. De ansatte forsøgte at pejle sig ind på førstegangsbesøgendes seksuelle orientering og på hvorvidt de var egentlige kunder eller hemmeligt politi på jagt efter homoer. Om morgenen var badene kun åbne for kvinder, så om aftenen fandt de mandlige besøgende ofte glemte kamme, hårnåle, tørklæder og endda lingeri, som de muntrede sig med at iklæde sig. Stemningen var afslappet og mændene virkede mere dannede og mindre konservative end i Hammam Ammouneh. Sommetider var personalet i et særligt muntert humør og slukkede lyset, så stedet forvandlede sig til et dark-room, hvor kroppe mødtes i skjulte seksuelle udvekslinger. Flere år senere mødte jeg en flot homoseksuel mand fra Irak. Han fortalte mig, at han var flyttet til Sverige i 2005 og boede i Malmø, men han kom en gang imellem til Damaskus for at besøge sin mor og søster, som han tidligere var flygtet til Syrien med. Jeg var ivrig efter at høre om homomiljøet i Sverige. Vi sad i dampbadet på en diwan af marmor. Han mente ikke, at homomiljøet i Sverige var lige så spændende som i Dasmaskus. Jeg var overrasket over hans vurdering, da jeg altid havde forestillet mig Sverige som et land, hvor homoer kunne være åbne omkring deres seksualitet. ”Hammam Alemareye er et fantastisk sted for homoer at mødes,” fastslog han, ”se dig omkring, i dag har der været mere end hundrede mænd forbi, på en hverdag. De er allesammen afslappede og hyggesnakker med hinanden. Det er umuligt at finde sådan et sted i Sverige.” Han smilede af min vantro mine og fortsatte: ”Homosaunaer er næsten ikkeeksisterende i Sverige.” Han vedkendte sig dog hvor heldig han var at bo i Malmø, hvorfra han let kunne tage til København og gå i Amigo Sauna. Jeg så på hans krop, veltrænet og muskuløs. Så fablede han videre om hvordan han fornemmede, at homoseksuelle svenskere ikke ville være sam-

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men med arabiske homoer, undtaget meget få. ”Måske er de bange for os fordi vi er fremmede, men af erfaring kan jeg fortælle dig, at de fleste af dem betragter mig som en sexmaskine. Nogle gange har jeg oplevet at blive samlet op på en natklub af en fyr der ville bolle mig, og den næste morgen skulle jeg smutte uden tid til så meget som en kop kaffe. Nogle gange har de ikke engang villet hilse på mig, når jeg efterfølgende mødte dem på gaden.” På den anden side tilføjede han, at ”nogle arabiske homoer ikke kan lide at være sammen med svenskere - de kan ikke lide, at de ikke er omskåret, de synes det lugter dårligt og er uhygiejnisk.” Jeg spurgte ham, om Sverige er sikkert for arabiske homoseksuelle. ”Mange arabiske homoer er bange for at springe ud, fordi de bor med deres familier i forstæderne. De føler sig stadig flove og usikre i et samfund, der er konservativt indstillet.” Efter en pause bad han mig om at holde op med at snakke så politisk om emnet som om det var et interview i radioen, og så fortsatte han med at snakke om sin yndlingssauna i København, darkrooms, S&M, fetish-steder og pornobiografer. Al-Hamra Street Om sommeren var hammamerne næsten tomme og meget lidt besøgt af homoer. De foretrak at tilbringe tiden i parkerne, på torvene og ved swimmingpools. I de varme nætter var der mere gang i homomiljøet omkring de åbne områder ved AlHamra Street og i Shaalan-kvarteret. Denne bydel opstod i en genopbygningsperiode. Kvarterets opståen havde været tæt forbundet med den koloniale epoke, også kendt som det franske mandat, såvel som den lokale og regionale modstand mod Folkeforbundets opfattelse af, at Syrien endnu ikke var klar til fuld uafhængighed. Indbyggerne i dette kvarter afspejlede disse historiske omstændigheder i form af velhavende muslimske og kristne beboere, der boede dør om dør med ambassader, konsulater og andre internationale institutioner. I løbet af epoken skød mange butikker med vestlige eksportvarer op i gaden, hvor de blandede sig med tømrere, detailhandlere og falafelboder. Her kunne man finde det sidste nye inden for vestlig mode, hvilket tiltrak mange både lokale og udenlandske kunder. Den livlige trængsel, der fyldte gaden, veg for andre besøgende efter mørkets frembrud. Biler begyndte at køre frem og tilbage i en lind strøm på den dobbeltsporede Al-Hamra Street. Imens gik fodgængere under gadelamperne og ventede på signal fra bilerne til at blive samlet op. Det var farligt at standse, så alle holdt sig i bevægelse samtidig med at de kiggede og skimtede sig ftrem

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til de andres udseende igennem mørket. Der var ikke rigtig noget sted hvor man kunne have sex, så når det lykkedes at finde sig en fyr, tog man enten hjem eller i en hammam. Min tante boede i Shaalan, og en aften i 2002 efter at jeg havde været på besøg hos hende, besluttede jeg mig for at spadsere hjem gennem Shaalan og Al-Hamra med et eventuelt, tilfældigt stævnemøde for øje. Mens jeg gik, holdt en taxa ind ved siden af mig, og to mænd steg ud. Den ene kom imod mig mens han løftede hånden, så det så ud som om at han ville hilse på mig, og min første indskydelse var at gøre det samme. Han greb brat om mine hænder med et sæt håndjern og skubbede mig ind i bilen. Så tog de mit ID-kort og begyndte at håne mig ved at sige, at jeg var pervers og vild med pik og at min mor og søstre måske var endnu mere liderlige end mig. Jeg havde ikke haft tid til at reagere, før jeg pludselig brød ud i gråd - der var aldrig nogen der havde talt sådan til mig før. Politimanden slog mig i nakken og taxachaufføren spurgte: ”Hvad foregår der her?” Jeg var rædselsslagen for at de ville afpresse mig. ”Jeg besøgte min tante,” lykkedes det mig at sige. ”Er din tante prostitueret ligesom dig?” spurgte den anden mand. Jeg kunne ikke bevæge mig, da de også havde mine skuldre i et fast greb. Jeg fortalte ham, at min tante var tv-vært og gav dem hendes navn. De stoppede bilen, og jeg forklarede dem, at jeg havde besøgt min tante, og at de havde arresteret mig uden grund. ”I kan ringe til hende” sagde jeg udfordrende. Dét lukkede munden på dem. Taxachaufføren krævede, at de gav mig mit ID-kort tilbage og løsnede håndjernene, så jeg kunne gå. Det gjorde de, og jeg løb hjem. Jeg kiggede på mine blødende håndled og tænkte på hvad der mon var sket, hvis ikke min tante havde været en kendis? Jeg blev hjemme i en uge efter episoden, jeg turde ikke engang tage på universitetet. Hver gang telefonen ringede, begyndte mit hjerte at slå hurtigere. Jeg kom i tanke om en sætning, jeg havde hørt nogen sige i Ammouneh: ”Hammamer er sikre, fordi det er normalt at finde nøgne mænd der, det er ikke mistænkeligt.” I december 2005 læste jeg i avisen, at regeringen havde lukket Ammouneh-hammamen, fordi bygningen var for gammel. Men da jeg mødte Sahar på gaden, fortalte han mig, at det hemmelige politi havde ransaget området og arresteret ejerne og

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de besøgende gæster. ”Jeg var heldig ikke at være der den dag,” tilføjede han. Det var første gang jeg mødte Sahar på gaden efter så mange år, og han virkede næsten hjemløs nu hvor Ammouneh var lukket. ”Men der findes et interessant sted med en stemning der minder om den, der var i Ammouneh, Cinema Byblos,” sagde han og forsvandt i den travle gade. Telefonsamtale med min sagsbehandler Alt hvad jeg havde skrevet indtil nu, forvandlede min lillebitte seng til et flyvende tæppe, der førte mig tilbage til Damaskus. Jeg kunne fornemme lugten fra gaderne i den gamle bydel og lytte til samtaler mellem mændene i hammamerne - jeg kunne endda mærke det varme vand flyde imellem mine fødder. Jeg mærkede et nostalgisk sug for hver af de steder, som jeg så levende kunne genkalde. ”Kan det passe at min bofælle og hans venner ikke ved noget om hvordan mange mænd faktisk lever? Eller benægter de det bare for at beskytte sig selv? Hvorfor viste de i det mindste ikke en lille smule forståelse?” Det var skræmmende. Jeg tog dem for bare at være uoplyste mennesker og ofre for uvidende samfund. Jeg tænkte: ”Hvordan kan jeg overbevise dem om, at homoseksualitet er noget helt særligt og ikke en synd?” Jeg tog min mobil og gik over mod vinduet, der havde udsigt over Åsedas lille kirkegård. Jeg ringede til min sagsbehandler og spurgte om der var noget nyt i min sag, nu der var gået tre måneder siden det sidste interview. ”Desværre er der intet nyt,” beklagede hun. Jeg spurgte hende, om hun vidste, at Daesh havde dømt en homoseksuel mand til døden ved stening efter at have smidt ham ud fra en bygning anklaget for ’sodomi’. Det vidste hun ikke, og jeg blev skuffet. ”Homoseksuelle mænd blev også slået ihjel af Assads regime i det skjulte, fordi de nægtede at gå ind i hæren og deltage i krigen,” sagde jeg. Mens jeg talte, kunne jeg mærkede et spirende tungsind presse sig på. ”Er du klar over, hvor svært det er at bo sammen med heteroer, der taler åbenlyst dårligt om homoer?” tilføjede jeg. Hun lovede at gøre sit bedste og lagde på. Jeg lukkede vinduet, havde lyst til at kigge mere på kirkegården, jeg ville ikke mindes om døden. Jeg var kommet til Sverige for at overleve den rædsel, som jeg havde været omgivet af de sidste år... en rædsel som jeg først nu var begyndt at forlige mig med. Jeg vendte tilbage til min notesblok og så, at det sidste ord jeg havde skrevet var Cinema Byblos.

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Cinema Byblos ”Gå igennem Almarja Square i retning mod Alnaser Street,” fortalte Sahar mig, ”når du ser Restaurant Siddiq på din venstre hånd, skal du fortsætte ligeud indtil du ser udstillingsvinduet med et stort billede, der reklamerer for en film; det er Cinema Byblos.” Da jeg krydsede torvet, følte jeg at alle omkring mig vidste hvor jeg var på vej hen. Jeg fandt biografen og stod foran plakaten for en kendt syrisk film: Jeg ville dø to gange for at elske dig. Den havde premiere i 1976 og var med skuespilleren Ighraa. På plakaten kiggede hun på kameraet med et blik der emmede af begær. Ighraa var igennem hele sin karriere blevet betragtet som et symbol for en åbenhed, der udfordrede grænserne for hvad der var tilladt at vise i arabiske film. Jeg blev stående og kiggede på hendes øjne, en blanding af sårbarhed og begær. Et kraftfuldt billede, som har prentet sig ind i min hukommelse siden den dag. Jeg betalte 25 syriske lire til den gamle mand ved kassen og gik ind i biografen. Jeg gik langsomt og var mere drevet af nysgerrighed end af seksuelt begær. Indgangshallen var malet i strålende pink og dækket af skrigende plakater og fotografier af vulgært opstillede kvindekroppe. De var fra gamle syriske film fra halvfjerdserne med meget ejendommelige titler som Sommerpiger, Vinterpiger, Danser på sårene, Bruden fra Damaskus. Der findes et syrisk ordsprog, der lyder ”helvede har brug for brænde”, og jeg havde følelsen af, at Ighraa personligt inviterede mig ind i en forbudt verden. Jeg så to gamle mænd der sad og røg. De smilede til mig, og mens jeg gik forbi dem og videre ind i biografen, undrede jeg mig over, hvornår de var blevet opslugt af denne haram eller forbudte livsstil, det hemmelige rige regeret af guden Ighraa. ”Jeg vil gøre min krop til en bro, som den syriske filmkunst kan gå hen over,” erklærede hun i 1972. ”Jeg elsker Ighraa,” sagde jeg til mig selv. Cinema Byblos havde en stueetage og en øvre etage med ekstra sæder. Der var mørkt i stueetagens forhal, hvor den eneste lyskilde var en flimrende skærm, hvorpå der blev projiceret gamle sort-hvide film. Stedet var betydeligt mere beskidt end Ammouneh-hammamen. Sæder og gulvtæpper udsendte en stærk nikotinlugt. Jeg forlod salen mens jeg holdt vejret med hånden for munden og forsøgte at holde kvalmen tilbage. Ude i gangen så jeg toiletskilte på min venstre hånd og gik ned af trappen. Jeg bemærkede lyden af skridt, der be-

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vægede sig op af trapperne fra toiletterne og en ildelugtende dunst. To mænd stod ved det ødelagte pissoir og rørte ved hinanden. En tredje mand dukkede op fra båsen ved siden af, knælede og gav sig energisk til at sutte den ene mands pik mens den anden så på. Jeg gik med det samme igen, da jeg var bange for at det hemmelige politi hvert øjeblik kunne finde på at storme stedet. Efter den ulækre stank på toiletterne var lugten af nikotin næsten blevet udholdelig, så jeg gik tilbage til forhallen. Da jeg havde vænnet mig til mørket, fokuserede jeg på formerne, der blev projiceret op på væggen. Filmens arabiske dialog var den eneste lyd som fyldte det ellers tomme rum. Jeg forstod hvorfor lugten var så rædsom, da jeg fik øje på skæret fra noget flydende på gulvet. Jeg besluttede at gå op på balkonen. Da jeg kom derop, greb hånd hårdt fat om min arm. Jeg kunne skimte de store øjne og han introducerede sig på den facon, som jeg kendte så godt: ”Det er mig, Sahar,” og han fortalte mig om biografen, hvordan de besøgende kom for at strejfe rundt i mørket. Pludselig forsvandt han lige så hurtigt som han var dukket op. Jeg var ladt alene tilbage med spørgsmålet om, hvorfor han altid var at finde på homostederne, hvorfor han ville kende alle - og alligevel var han ikke i Ammouneh-hammamen under politiets ransagning. Jeg kunne ikke lade være med at tænke på, om han alligevel var hemmelig politiagent. Med ét blev lyset tændt og i et par sekunder blev jeg blændet. Så så jeg stedet for første gang. Rækker af rådne sæder, hvor der lå mennesker og sov så tungt, at selv ikke lyset vækkede dem. Der stod også nogle mænd ude i siderne, som ud fra deres jallabiyaher, traditionelle klædedragter, at dømme lignede fattige landsbyfolk. Det forbudte paradis forvandlede sig til faldefærdigt slum for fattige homoseksuelle mænd. En mand kom ind med to plastikkopper med te. Jeg væmmedes ved synet - hvordan kunne nogen købe og drikke te i sådan nogle ugæstfri omgivelser? I den korte pause mellem filmene bragede meget høj, rytmisk musik ud af højtalerne. Jeg kunne høre Sahars stemme nedenunder, så jeg bøjede mig ud over balkonen, og kunne se ham danse mavedans for et nu vågent publikum. I det øjeblik så jeg ham i et andet lys, hans grin virkede suspekt, og jeg kunne ikke slippe denne fornemmelse, da han igen tog min hånd og bød mig op til dans. Jeg besluttede mig for at forlade stedet. Det var ikke slut, jeg vendte tilbage til Byblos mange gange. Efter i så mange år at være kommet i hammamerne, gav denne biograf mig mu-

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lighed for at tale med en anden gruppe homoer. Beskedne folk i tresserne, som tilbragte aftenen med at sludre og bare hænge ud i biografen. Jeg var nysgerrig efter at høre om hvordan deres liv havde set ud i halvtredserne og tresserne. I takt med at mine besøg tog til, følte jeg mig mere og mere tryg i denne usynlige verden, det forekom mig at være en slags hemmeligt broderskab. Senere indså jeg, at jeg på trods af megen modgang fandt ud af at overleve og på samme tid fik erfaring og blev stærkere. Homoer på nettet Ny teknologi spredte sig vidt og bredt i Syrien, selvom det stadig var dyrt: smartphones, laptops og 3G-forbindelse var nu tilgængeligt. I 2007 havde Assads regime flere gange forsøgt at blokere sociale netværk som Facebook. Alligevel forblev sexsider og homo-netværk som Manjam åbne med mere end tusind medlemmer i Damaskus plus flere hundrede fra andre syriske provinser. Manjam var mit virtuelle vindue og gav mig mulighed for at snakke med homoseksuelle mænd fra andre arabiske lande inklusiv Egypten og Golfstaterne. Jeg slog også et smut forbi Europa og chattede med homoseksuelle europæere. Jeg var interesseret i at høre om deres liv og homokulturer, homoægteskaber og homosteder. Jeg fandt samtidig ud af, at europæiske homoer, som kontaktede mig over de sociale medier, kun var interesserede i sex. Ud fra vores chats kunne jeg se, at de havde denne her orientalistiske fantasi om mørklødede, skæggede og hyperseksuelle, mandlige kroppe. På et tidspunkt chattede jeg med en østrigsk homo, som fortalte mig at han var på udkig efter en arabisk mand, der kunne behandle ham som sin hustru. Det var hans fantasi. Jeg for min del fortalte ham hvor meget jeg længtes efter bare at være mig selv. Østrigeren fortalte mig om en libanesisk homo, som arrangerede ture for vestlige homoturister til Syrien og Mellemøsten. Han satte mig i forbindelse med fyren gennem Manjam, og jeg begyndte at chatte med libaneseren. Han fortalte mig om sit job og medgav at Damaskus var blevet en sexdestination for mange homoer fra Europa og USA. Han tilføjede at homoturister blev mere og mere interesserede i Damaskus fremfor Beirut, da syrerne virkede mere autentiske og arabiske end de vestligficerede, libanesiske mænd.

aftalte at mødes på torvet og jeg viste dem rundt i den gamle bydel. Vi stoppede ved en turistet cafe der hed Alnoufara tæt på Ummayad-moskeen. De havde allerede været i en hammam og var imponeret over antallet af homoer i de offentlige bade. De lod ikke til at forstå, at dette var det eneste sikre sted for homoseksuelle mænd i Syrien at mødes og være sig selv. At der ikke var nogen homobarer, men kun hemmelige åndehuller som Saray, Murmur, Matador, alle beliggende i Bab Touma og Bab Sharqi. En aften tog jeg dem med til filmaften i Murmur, hvor filmen Dreamgirls med Beyoncé blev vist og vi dansede til kl. 3 om morgenen. Da vi slentrede hjemad forbi byens gamle mure fortalte jeg dem, at jeg var glad for at bo i Damaskus på trods af de udfordringer og farer jeg stod overfor i Syrien. Revolution fra undergrunden Historien slutter aldrig, andre steder gemmer der sig stadig mange hemmelige historier. Men for en homoseksuel fra Syrien ser det ud til at et liv med udfordringer og kamp for egne rettigheder fortsætter selv i Sverige. Jeg skjulte min seksuelle identitet for min familie og mine nære venner efter krigen, fordi jeg var bange for at komme i fængsel, for at miste mit job og endda mit sociale liv og respekten fra min omverden. Jeg genkaldte hvert et sekund af min egen kamp og blev styrket, gjort tapper og inspireret af børnene fra Daraa, som startede den syriske revolution i marts 2011, da de skrev budskaber om frihed på murene på deres skole. Jeg tog min kuglepen, gik ned i under jorden, i vaskerummet i kælderen på asylboende og begyndte at skrive på væggene: ”Her har homoer rettigheder! Homoer er mennesker! Homoseksualitet er ikke en sygdom! Overfald ikke homoer, støt dem! Elsk din søn, også hvis han er homo! Er du offer for uvidenhed, så læs! Homoer kæmper mod samfundets uvidenhed, ikke mod Gud!” Kapitlerne er uddrag fra en kommende roman

Flere måneder senere ringede han til mig for at sige at han kom til Damaskus med en gruppe homoer fra Finland. De fem blonde fyre skulle bo på Oriental Hotel i nærheden af Bab Touma. Vi

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At holde varmen i et koldt klima af Kristian Vistrup Når man kommer op fra metroen på Christianshavn Torv, ser man en række statuer, der tilsammen udgør Grønlandsmonumentet. De blev lavet af bornholmsk granit af den danske billedhugger Svend Rathsack, efter han havde tilbragt seks uger i de nordatlantiske kolonier i 1931. På omtrent samme tid havde der været en del kontroverser omkring Danmarks tilstedeværelse i Grønland (Norge havde også koloniale ambitioner), og det bidrog måske til kommunens beslutning om at sponsorere værket. Midt på pladsen på en høj, slank piedestal i monumentets centrum står en jæger med sin kajak, stolt og rank. På hver side af ham, længere nede og tættere på jorden, står to grupper arbejdende kvinder: én flår en sæl, andre renser torsk, fanger små laks med net og holder vagt. En oppustet svineblære hviler på kajakken. Svend Rathsack var billedhugger af den neoklassiske skole. Under denne ædle vilde befinder sig det postkoloniale sociale tilfælde. Hjemløse og ofte berusede grønlændere har her fundet et sted at samle sig, en statue at læne sig op ad. Føler de sig fejret af disse statuer? Beærede over denne anerkendelse i hovedstaden? Kommer de her, fordi de føler sig hjemme under kajakken, eller for at gøre indsigelse mod frækheden? Som delvist animerede dioramaer legemliggør de en vold, der sjældent tales om. Vi – danskere – kender kun grønlænderne sådan: berusede eller mytiske, mytisk berusede, eller af omveje fra den lille figur hugget i stødtand eller i ben på dronningens skrivebord under hendes nytårstaler. Somme tider rejser de små prinser og prinsesser derop for at gå i kamikker og farverigt broderede kraver og lege med slædehunde. Det koloniale forhold bliver stadig ikke tilstrækkeligt adresseret, og det forbliver utilstrækkeligt post – pinligt, fornærmende. Det er belejligt for os – danskere – at Grønland og grønlændere forbliver ordentligt indpakket mellem disse to poler. Men mellem statuerne og menneskene på Christianshavns Torv foregår der noget mere. Noget både uforløst og trodsigt; en tilstedeværelse, der nægter at glide i baggrunden. Som kunne gnidningerne mellem kroppe og granit tænde ild. Qivittoq, “Den som går til fjeldet”, betyder det på grønlandsk, et mørkt og mystisk omrids mod den hvide is. Men det bruges også i betydningen: Lad være at gå qivittoq. Vil du ikke nok? Lad os love hinanden aldrig at gå qivittoq. Det sker når man får knust sit hjerte, når kærlighed ikke gengældes eller

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når man taber ansigt. Man rejser simpelthen fra sin landsby for at leve på fjeldet, indtil man dør (og af kulde dør man ret hurtigt). Ifølge myten vil han – for det er altid en mand – som går qivittoq, med tiden blive ét med naturens ånder og vende tilbage til landsbyen med vinden for at søge hævn for den uretfærdighed, der førte til hans afrejse. Qivittoq er udvandringens appel som politisk strategi, en gestus et sted imellem trods og nederlag, såvel som en slet skjult kommentar til selvmordet, det er et andet navn for den, der ikke længere er ønsket. Den første roman, der blev skrevet på grønlandsk, var Sinnattugaq (Drømmen) af Mathias Storch i 1914. Selvom han ikke var uddannet i Danmark, blev Storch til sine danske kollegers forfærdelse den første grønlænder, der blev udnævnt præst. Han boede i Ilulissat på øens vestkyst, hvor en af verdens største gletsjere i dag er ved at smelte væk. I sin samtid blev han anset for at være en af de vigtigste stemmer i den grønlandske, politiske debat. I Sinnattugaq indgår de to venner Pavia og Silas en pagt: De lover hinanden aldrig at gå qivittoq. Men da Silas mister sin elskede til sin bror, er Pavia under uddannelse i Nuuk og kan ikke gøre indvendinger. Silas går til fjelds. Knust over nyheden er Pavia selv ved at gå qivittoq. Han falder i søvn over sine bøger og har en drøm om, at Grønland 200 år senere er oplyst, uddannet, tosproget og uafhængigt. Der får ham til at indse, at der må gøres en ende på den koloniale ydmygelse. Fra da af dedikerer Pavia sig til sagen. I introduktionen til den danske oversættelse, der blev udgivet i 1915, advares læseren imod at forvente nogen litterær finesse af romanen – “thi da vilde man stille for store og uberettigede Fordringer til en grønlandsk Autor” – men, medgives det, Storch havde heller ikke skrevet romanen til danske læsere. Snarere end at være et spørgsmål om litterær finesse, går problemet måske nærmere på litterær uafhængighed. Oplysningen af Grønland foregik ikke helt, som Storch havde forestillet sig. Under den tyske besættelse af Danmark gik kolonien i forfald som et sommerhus om vinteren. Efter en voldsom tuberkuloseepidemi kom den danske regering i starten af 1950’erne under pres fra FN for at bevise, at de stadig kunne forvalte den store ø. Dette pres udsprang også af USA’s interesse i territoriet og forårsagede desperation hos den lille kolonimagt. Som en del af et eksperiment blev en gruppe børn fjernet fra deres familier i Grønland, så de kunne lære dansk skik og brug. De skulle glemme deres modersmål og få deres hud bleget under skarpe lamper, før de omhyggeligt skulle geninstalleres i det grønlandske samfund. Lysere, mere civiliserede, skulle de

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fungere som forbilleder for de andre børn. Her, i et af de mørkeste øjeblikke i den danske kolonihistorie, bliver det klart, at oplysning aldrig bare er en metafor, det er en procedure. I samme periode blev Storchs roman filmatiseret i en fri fortolkning med Poul Reichhardt, 1950’ernes filmiske førsteelsker, i hovedrollen, og med et rigt mål af racistiske stereotyper. Qivitoq, som filmen hed – der er nogen uenighed omkring stavemåden – var et storslået skue af kolonial eksotisme og blev som den første danske film nogensinde nomineret til en Oscar. Som denne æresbevisning indikerede, var FN’s skrupler, tilskyndet af USA, om det danske styre i Grønland blevet sat i bero og qivittoq’ens arm vredet om i processen. Lektor i kulturstudier ved Københavns Universitet, Kirsten Thisted, har foreslået, at brugen af qivittoqmotivet i Storchs roman kan læses som et modsvar til den præcedens, der var blevet sat i skandinavisk 1800-talslitteratur om Grønland. Faktisk har grønlændere igen og igen kritiseret qivittoqmotivet som overtroisk udtryksmiddel for ondsindet sladder om formodede selvmord. Ifølge Thisted har brugen af dette tema i dansk litteratur været konsekvent helt op til Peter Høeg i 1990erne. Hans roman Frøken Smillas fornemmelse for sne blev internationalt anerkendt og filmatiseret i 1997 med den britiske skuespiller Julia Ormond i hovedrollen som Smilla. I romanen er Smilla egentlig af grønlandsk afstamning, men måske ville det have været at stille “for store og uberettigede Fordringer” til en grønlandsk skuespiller, eller måske var der bare ikke tid til at finde de skarpe, afblegende lamper frem igen. Det er let at se qivittoq’ens tiltrækningskraft for det koloniale underbevidste: den mystiske indfødte, besat af naturens utæmmelige kræfter. I øvrigt: qivittoq’en går jo! Smider håndklædet i ringen, giver op, og så i kulden – man kan ikke være sikker på det med ånderne, men kulden kan man regne med; den vil slå ihjel. Udvandringen er måske nok en stærk gestus, men som politisk protest er den impotent. Impotent og mystisk, sådan som danskerne bedst kan lide deres grønlændere. I sådan en grad, at problematikken omkring de fulde, hjemløse grønlændere ofte læses som en slags “moderne qivittoq”. Men går vi tilbage til scenen på Christianshavns Torv, er jeg uenig. Husk, der er gnidninger. Disse grønlændere går jo ikke til fjelds, de er netop fast besluttede på at blive i byen.

dansk. Hun skrev den til andre unge mennesker i Grønland, sagde hun til Danmarks Radios P1, hun skrev den til de grønlandske queer-fælleskaber, ikke for at sige noget om naturen eller alkoholisme. Den forbliver trodsig i sin kontekst, i seksuelle møder, i ophedet politik; i HOMO Sapienne findes ingen afkoblede observationer, ingen qivittoq, der går rundt derude og fryser ihjel. Her er opskriften på at holde varmen i et koldt klima: bliv ved ilden. En af Korneliussens karakterer skriver i sin dagbog: “øen er løbet tør for ilt, øen er betændt”. Så han tager til København. Ikke fordi han synes om danskerne, ikke for at være som dem eller få dem til at kunne lide sig – han synes ikke, de er sjove – men fordi han som ung queerperson ikke kan gøre andet. Han fortsætter: “vores land, som er oldgammelt, gå til bjerget og kom aldrig tilbage, hold op med at være så fucking prætentiøs.” Hans afrejse er en afvisning af qivittoq-motivet. I en form for konfrontation bryder han pagten; lader landet kollapse deroppe på bjerget, hvis det vil, men han har intet andet valg end at håndtere, hvad der allerede findes dér mellem husene og menneskene. Det er igen værd at bemærke, at qivittoq’en altid er den stærke mand, altid jægeren med kajakken på den højeste søjle midt på pladsen. Med sine statuer af kvinderne med fiskenet refererer Rathsack også til en helt bestemt form for fiskeri: angmagssak, en lille, næsten gennemsigtig type laks, der kommer tæt nok på land til at kunne fanges fra kysten. Ikke fjeldet - men kysten, byen, centrum, der hvor man kommer op fra metroen, det er det bedste sted at være, og at blive set som tilstedeværende, antagonistisk. Bliv tæt på, bliv ved med at holde vagt, bliv ved med at gnide op imod strukturen, for hvad kan man ellers gøre for at holde sig varm?

Ligesom Storch udgav Niviaq Korneliussen først sin roman HOMO Sapienne på grønlandsk, men i modsætning til Storch oversatte hun den selv til

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Fra Udrejsecenter Sjælsmark

side. Uniformer overalt. Det er et meget langt hegn.

Den følgende tekst er sammensat af transskriberede uddrag fra lydoptagelser produceret af The Bridge Radio. Gennem udtalelser fra beboerne beskrives omgivelserne og dagligdagens vilkår i udrejsecenteret. Tidligere blev stedet brugt som kaserne, men i 2015 blev det taget i brug som udrejsecenter og drevet af Kriminalforsorgen. Dog har det danske militær bevaret deres øvelsesplads, som i dag grænser op til centeret.

Folk i Sjælsmark bliver lige nu tvunget til at flytte fra Udrejsecenter Sjælsmark, beliggende 30 km fra København, til Kærshovedgård Udrejsecenter, tæt på Ikast i Jylland.

sammensat af Paula Duvå og Nicoline Sylvest Simonsen Det er meget grønt overalt. Der er mange marker og bakker blandet med skud fra soldater der træner. Personligt har jeg ikke engang ord der kan beskrive hvordan jeg har det eller hvad jeg ser. Jeg har ikke flere ord for det. Arkitekturen består af et hegn, en fysisk barriere, en port, mere eller mindre overvågning af trafik ind og ud af centeret og en bestemt højde på en bygning, en kasernes. Og denne mand i receptionen, hvem er han? Han er en betjent fra Kriminalforsorgen. Hvis de ser at du optager, vil de sige at det ikke er tilladt. Det her sted er ikke et sted for liv. Det er meget underligt at der er de her bygninger, og at bygningerne har en have, men haven er omgivet af et stort hegn. Det er som om vi ikke må bruge græsset. Så faktisk, hvis hegnet ikke havde været her, kunne vi gå direkte over til ham, men nu må vi gå i en stor cirkel udenom for at komme ind. Jeg ved ikke hvem græsset er for. Jeg har boet her i ét år og fire måneder nu. Jeg tror at Dansk Flygtningehjælp og Røde Kors er i den der bygning. Hvad er det de laver her? De kommer bare. Ingenting, ingenting, ingenting. De gør ingenting. Der er et stort hegn på venstre side. Ja, og højre

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Vi mister vores værdighed, vi mister vores håb.

Jeg tror langsomt jeg er ved at dø. At eksistere er at eksistere politisk. At eksistere politisk er ikke kun at stemme. At eksistere politisk er ikke kun at være medlem af et parti. Det er vigtige ting, men de er ikke de eneste ting. At eksistere politisk er at have retten til at have rettigheder og at have indflydelse på udformningen af rettigheder. Lejrene forhindrer folk i at eksistere politisk. Den tvungne overførsel af folk fra Sjælsmark til Ikast er blot endnu et eksempel på, hvordan den danske stat forsøger at forhindre folk i at eksistere politisk. Rum og politik er uadskillelige. De presser os til at tage væk herfra, men hvor kan jeg tage hen? Tager jeg afsted, kommer jeg alligevel tilbage igen. Det skal du vide. De presser mig til flygte, men der er ingen steder at tage hen. De har mine fingeraftryk. Det er problemet. Det eneste vi har er: du kan tage afsted og du kan komme tilbage. Hver uge at fornye nøglen og hver anden uge at skrive under. Først skriver du under på at du er her, de giver dig tandpasta, sådan noget. Du kvitterer: 00 kr. Livet i Sjælsmark er ikke til at leve. Det er nærmest umuligt at overleve her uden at blive hjulpet af mange mennesker, eller næsten blive tigger. Vi anbefaler alle at tage til flygtningelejrene og se hvordan den danske regering styrer andre menneskers liv, hvordan folk i lejrene møder systematisk dehumanisering. Ved du hvad man laver når man bor her? Man har sit værelse, man har sit toilet, man har sit cafeteria. Går bare den samme runde, frem og tilbage. Der er skud og eksplosioner om natten. At flytte folk fra et sted til et andet er bare endnu en måde at gøre folk ude af stand til at slå sig ned og komme videre med livet.

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Maden her er mad hunden ikke kan spise. Hør, tænk ikke på mad. Vi er unge. Lad os ikke klage over hundemaden.

Deja-vu, ekkoet, stemmen.

Jeg føler det er som et fængsel her. Jeg kom til Danmark som asylansøger. Jeg er ikke en kriminel. Da jeg kom til den her lejr føltes det som et fængsel. Jeg har aldrig i mit liv været i fængsel. Jeg var en forretningsmand i mit hjemland, og det gik rigtig godt med min forretning.

The Bridge Radio er et uafhængigt radioprojekt, skabt af mennesker med og uden borgerskab, som producerer radio om migration, asyl og menneskers bevægelser. Radioen stræber efter at støtte selvorganisation blandt mennesker, der lever uden borgerskab, og at skabe en bred gruppe af rapportere.

Vi er ikke problemer, vi er ikke numre.

For mere information om The Bridge Radio, besøg:

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Lucky Day by Liv Nimand Duvå

1. I’m standing in a room with my partner at the Swedish Migration Agency. We’re here to hand in our application for a Swedish residence permit, which should then allow us to apply for family reunification in Denmark. We’ve been in line for four hours and finally it’s our turn. A man our age looks up from behind the counter. His hair is neatly combed. There are no chairs on this side. He is the one sitting; we stand. We stand and sway, walking in place. Behind the door, the waiting room is still full. It’s stuffy out there and since there aren’t enough seats, people are waiting outside the red brick building to get some air. Through the window behind the counter, you can see people impatiently pacing back and forth. The waiting doesn’t seem to have an effect on the man. I place our application on the desk in front of him and he asks me, am I sure, is this really what I want. Yes, I am sure, I reply, and remind him that we already live in Malmö and that my partner understands Swedish quite well. I ask him to check that the form is correctly filled out, that we haven’t missed anything. Again, he looks reluctantly at the application and repeats, well, if this is really what you want, then yes, the formalities seems to be in order. As he leafs through the form, he asks my partner in English, where are you from?, and before he can reply, interrupts him and says, Iraq, prolonging the word, tapping his finger on the Place Of Birth field. Switching back to Swedish, he looks up at me and says, I hope you know what you’re signing up for, continuously looking me in the eyes.

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My cheeks burn, it’s another form of flushing. I’m about to burst out crying or yell something careless that could harm our case when my partner gives me a nudge. He’s not worth it, he whispers. I take a deep breath. I’m just trying to help, says the man and shrugs his shoulders, a girl like you, that’s all I’m saying. But this is not the help we have asked for. We are not the ones he is interested in helping. The man behind the counter can’t relate to my partner, and as long as we’re married, he can’t relate to me. This places him alone. He is the one he needs to see as an object of desire, and now he is trying to win me back, or perhaps he is trying to win himself back, to scrape the foreign off of me so he can make his way in to himself. Three weeks later we receive a letter. The application is incorrect. It was filled out with pencil, not with pen. It’s invalid. We need to go back to the Migration Agency and submit a new one.

2. I realize that my passport has expired. It has lots of blank, unstamped pages, but now it has expired. I cannot travel. Temporarily, I am invalid. Two weeks later, I’m issued a new one at Citizen Service I open it to see how I look in the photo that was taken the last time I was here. You can smile, the woman that led me into the little photo booth had said, but not open your mouth. A blue laser beam mapped out the different parts of my face and adjusted the angle of the camera, according to size and shape, in order to capture any identifying features. The laser beam made me uncomfortable, pressed my lips together in a skeptical smile.

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Congratulations, a voice says. I look up. A young woman is waiting for her number to be called; that is, the number on the little slip of paper that comes out of the red number machine by the entrance. She points at my passport and smiles. She holds a filled-out application form for an Immigrant Identity Card in her hand. I must have looked nervous. Congratulations, she repeats, it’s your lucky day. A hot flash rises through my neck as a gasp. I blush. Something in my body language must have expressed that there was more to this than plain vanity. Yes, very lucky, I reply, it’s a very lucky day.

In the street, I look at the passport again, making sure that all the information is correctly filled in. It has a strange appearance - name, nationality, place of birth, date of birth, gender - printed onto this thick paper, fresh out of the printer, almost as if it were me, created in a new and better, an updated version: my objective features, my identifying traits, a gift to myself. In the photo I look just like myself, or my self is starting to look like the photo. Close your mouth. Smile to the nation. It has been decided that I’m very fortunate. Very lucky. I’m becoming my own living image.

ICARH og LGBTpersoners kår i Nigeria

Organisationen har også et menneskerettighedskontor. Her møder jeg mine to kontaktpersoner: homorettighedsaktivisterne David og Ibrahim. Over skrivebordet på det beskedne kontor, hvor menneskerettighedsadvokaten Ibrahim sidder, hænger et lille, stolt svensk flag. Da jeg spørger dem, hvad flaget betyder, er svaret klart: Menneskerettigheder. Det svenske flag har på sin vis erstattet det velkendte regnbueflag – som ikke er let at finde på disse kanter – som symbol på stolthed og lige rettigheder, da den svenske ambassade tidligere har støttet organisationen. Der er selvfølgelig ikke mange af aktivisterne, der nogensinde har været i Sverige. De er måske derfor ikke bevidste om, at hverken Sverige eller Europa generelt er et forjættet land for LGBTpersoner. De kender ikke til den fortsatte diskrimination af LGBT-personer i hele Europa, og heller ikke til de systematiske krænkelser af asylsøgende LGBT-personers rettigheder, der foregår i de selvsamme lande, der støtter organisationen i Nigeria.

Nigeria har vedtaget en række love rettet mod LGBT-personer. Men en nigeriansk organisation forsøger at konfrontere den vanskelige situation ved at tilbyde LGBTpersoner sundhedsydelser, rådgivning og beskyttelse. af Loke Bisbjerg Nielsen Skjult for nysgerrige blikke på en sidegade bag en stor, sort ståldør i et stille kvarter i centrum af Nigerias hovedstad, Abuja, findes et fristed, hvor menneskerettigheder er i højsædet. Her kan kvinder, mænd, transpersoner, interkønnede og alle former for queers finde plads til at være sig selv. Det er hovedkvarteret for International Centre for Advocacy on Rights to Health (www.icarh-ng.org) – en organisation, der arbejder med sundheds- og menneskerettigheder for seksuelle minoriteter og kønsminoriteter. Driften af en sundheds klinik udgør kernen af organisationens arbejde. Der er to konsultationslokaler, hvor folk uden andre muligheder kan modtage behandling og rådgivning. Desuden er der lidt faciliteter til research og et kontor, der tilbyder juridisk rådgivning og fører kampagner. Et hovedfokus er udbredelsen og stigmatiseringen af HIV/AIDS blandt køns- og seksuelle minoriteter. Ved siden af klinikken findes et fællesrum, hvor møder bliver afholdt og folk kan hænge ud, se film og møde hinanden. Her er det muligt at flirte i trygge omgivelser eller prøve en ny kjole uden at blive mødt med vold eller mistro.

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Men fra deres perspektiv er de penge, organisationen modtager, noget der kommer fra verden uden for Nigeria - ligesom alle pride paraderne, drag shows’ene og de film og den porno, de ser på nettet og bruger som eksistentiel og daglig inspiration. Det understreger, hvor klaustrofobisk en situation, de lever i – fanget i deres eget land uden ret meget lokal støtte. Over for det svenske flag, i symbolsk kontrast, er det nigerianske flag nærmest kastet, som en grøn klud. Da jeg spørger aktivisterne hvorfor trækker de på skuldrene og siger: ”Hvad har Nigeria gjort for os?” Og svaret er: ikke ret meget. Naturens orden I 1990 vedtog den nigerianske regering en lov om, at enhver der har ”kødeligt kendskab” til en anden

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mod ”naturens orden”, eller som tillader en anden ”kødeligt kendskab” mod ”naturens orden”, kan idømmes fjorten års fængsel. I 2014 gennemførtes en ny lov, der foreskrev syv års fængsel for alle, der tilhører homoorganisationer, støtter homoægteskab eller offentligt udviser følelser for en af samme køn. Desuden tillader Nigerias føderale system de enkelte delstater at vedtage deres egne love. Det betyder, at LGBT-personer i tolv stater i det nordlige Nigeria bliver dobbelt straffet på grund af indførelsen af sharialov, der blandt andet påbyder ”sodomi” at blive straffet med pisk og endog stening. Ifølge Amnesty International er denne lov dog heldigvis endnu ikke blevet håndhævet. Loven fra 2014 førte øjeblikkeligt til anholdelser af adskillige LGBT-personer i Nigeria. Desuden har loven øget LGBT-personers sårbarhed betydeligt og gjort dem til ofre for ”gadens domstol” ved at give selvtægtsforbrydere det indtryk, at de håndhæver loven, når de angriber LGBT-personer. En måned efter loven blev indført, angreb en folkemængde – der efter sigende gik efter at ”rense samfundet” for homoseksuelle – adskillige LGBTpersoner i Abuja, slæbte dem gennem gaderne og slog dem med sømbeslåede køller og piske. Selvom loven ikke håndhæves nøje, er konsekvenserne af denne direkte kriminalisering af kærlighed og identiteter katastrofale for LGBT-miljøet. Som David fortalte, kan LGBT-samfundet ikke regne med politiets hjælp, hvis de bliver angrebet, da de kan risikere at blive arresteret eller simpelthen bliver mødt med ligegyldighed. Transpersoner nævnes ikke som sådan i den diskriminerende lov, men de er stadig ofre for de rigide kønsnormer, som loven fremmer. Det kan tvinge transpersoner til at optræde som tilhørende det køn, de tildeles af det omgivende samfund – i modstrid med deres egen identitet - for at undgå angreb og udstødelse, hvad der kan medføre alvorlige psykiske traumer, depression og potentielt også selvskade. Konstante trusler Da folk i hans nabolag ved, at han er homoseksuel, har David personligt oplevet voldelig chikane. En gruppe ”area boys” (bander af unge mænd, der

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strejfer om på gaderne om natten) kendt som ”vikingerne” brød en nat ind i hans hjem. Heldigvis var han ikke hjemme og havde ikke meget, de kunne stjæle, men gerningsmændene vidste, at han på grund af sin seksualitet ikke ville vove at melde dem til politiet. De kan derfor handle straffrit. Det var tilfældet, da de vendte tilbage en nat og truede med at angribe David i hans hus. Mens ham og hans kæreste lå i sengen, holdt vejret og bad til at ståldøren ikke ville give efter for gerningsmændenes vold, gav natten genlyd af råbene: ”Homoseksuelle! Homoseksuelle! Kom ud!” Den følgende dag gik David til markedet og købte en gammel, rusten machete, som nu ligger under hans seng. Hvis det en dag lykkes dem at slå døren ind, har han lovet sig selv, at han ikke vil give op uden kamp. David har oplevet sine venner blive brutalt angrebet og forsvinde. Han frygter, at de forsvundne er blevet dræbt og måske ligger begravet et ukendt sted. Den mest almindelige form for chikane mod LGBT-personer i Nigeria er dog afpresning. Manglende støtte og organisationer Ud over ICARH i Abuja er der kun få LGBTorganisationer i Nigeria, et land med 190 millioner indbyggere. Det prøver David at ændre på, og han er i gang med at etablere en organisation, der svarer til ICARH i Nigerias sydligste region. Denne organisation fokuserer også på sundhedsydelser, men forsøger desuden indirekte at promovere menneskerettigheder og beskytte regionens LGBT-personers interesser. Alt i alt lever LGBT-personer i Nigeria en skjult og afsondret tilværelse, hvori kærlighed, sex og personlig identitet kun kan udtrykkes med allestedsnærværende fare for vold, afpresning, forsvinding og måske endog død. Nigeria oplever en dobbelt udvikling af økonomisk vækst og stigende ulighed. Landet står over for sikkerhedstrusler fra voldelige oprør i nordøst, separatistiske bevægelser i sydøst og et politisk system delt mellem syd og nord, kristne og muslimer. Under disse omstændigheder bliver LGBT-personers vilkår let overset. Artiklen er skrevet i samarbejde med en aktivist fra ICARH. Personernes navne er ændret. Forfatteren er bekendt med de rigtige navne.

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LGBT-personer og asyl i Danmark Danmark giver i princippet asyl til folk, der har en velbegrundet frygt for at blive forfulgt i deres hjemland grundet tilhørsforhold til en bestemt “social gruppe”. LGBT-personer kan udgøre en sådan gruppe. Desuden har enhver asylansøger, der kan risikere tortur, dødsstraf eller umenneskelig behandling i sit hjemland, ret til beskyttelse i Danmark – på papiret. Men i virkeligheden er det ofte langt fra tilfældet. Som gruppen LGBT Asylum blandt andre har påpeget, lader behandlingen af LGBTpersoners asylsager meget tilbage at ønske. Flygtningenævnet er blevet kritiseret for ikke at tilbyde tilstrækkelig information fra begyndelsen

Impressions from the Border Between Serbia and Croatia In the no man’s land between Serbia and Croatia September 2015 by Beata Hemer, Frederik Johannison, Kirstine Nordentoft Mose, Lise Olivarius, Nanna Hansen and Paula Bulling The afternoon sun shines on the road crossing the little Serbian village of Berkasovo, a few hundred meters away from the Croatian border. Buses full of migrants arrive at regular intervals. The Red Cross, UNHCR and other organisations have set up stalls on each side of the road, working with local as well as international volunteers to provide water, bananas, biscuits, and bread to the newcomers. Some come directly from the SerbianMacedonian border, others have been through Belgrade. After getting off the bus, people are escorted towards the border. No one tells them what will happen next. At the roadside, two abandoned border posts are situated. A metal bar stops cars from moving forward. It marks the beginning of the no man’s land between Serbia and Croatia. In this area, thousands of migrants are detained every day, caught between the Serbian police on the one side and their Croatian counterparts on the other. At this officially closed border crossing, the general rules are turned upside down: If you have a passport, you cannot pass. As a part of the cooperation deals between Greece, Macedonia, Serbia,

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af asylprocessen og for at placere for stor en del af bevisbyrden på asylansøgeren. Hvis en hvilken som helst del af en asylansøgers historie bliver dømt ”utroværdig”, kan hele sagen afvises, også selv om det centrale asylmotiv er seksuel orientering eller kønsidentitet. Det skabte en del røre, da det danske asylsystem i 2016 afviste tre lesbiske kvinder fra Uganda. Uganda er internationalt berygtet for sine diskriminerende love mod homoseksualitet, og dødsstraf har flere gange været på tale, uden dog endnu at være indført. Mange andre stater, deriblandt den nigerianske, opererer med lignende strenge love og diskrimination af LGBT-personer.

Croatia, and Hungary, known as the ‘humanitarian corridor’ to Europe, the Berkasovo crossing has, as an exception, been opened to migrants. Political decisions are constantly opening and closing the different border crossings. Nights of Not Knowing During daytime, aid workers, volunteers, and journalists flock to the border post along with the many migrants. The latter hurry onward along the road after having been provided food and water. Children, adults, young and elderly people run, laden with fresh provisions, toward the border post, without knowing what they are running towards or what awaits them on the other side of the border. At night, only the migrants remain. The stalls are dismantled, and the many humanitarian workers and volunteers go home. A wall of darkness and uncertainty stands in front of the many groups of migrants that arrive in a steady stream all night. None of them know that they have a 17km walk to the closed detention camp Opatovice in front of them. State-Controlled Migration Croatia is a member of the EU; Serbia is not. Thus, the Serbian-Croatian border constitutes one of the entrances to the EU. Being unable to stop this migratory flux, Serbia and Croatia have, in an attempt to at least control it, agreed to coordinate a passage for migrants – albeit not without a great deal of diplomatic difficulties between the two states. Through this state-controlled route, migrants can continue their voyage into the EU. The migrants are driven in buses or shepherded by the police whilst they travel on foot along the country roads.

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Buses full of migrants run from the border between Serbia and Macedonia to the SerbianCroatian border. After their names have been registered and their pictures taken, people are transported onwards to the border between Croatia and Hungary. When they have crossed it, they are driven to the Austrian-Hungarian border, which they walk across. Here, the state-coordinated transport stops. This road to the EU may be open; however, it is also long, winding, and uncertain. Both the Serbian and the Croatian authorities detain large groups of migrants for up to several days – at the border crossings, in camps like Opatovice, or at arbitrary spots on the route, creating so-called ‘bottlenecks’. The route between the two countries changes all the time. One day, thousands of migrants are stopped at the open border crossing between Sid in Serbia and Tovarnik in Croatia.

The next day, the buses are directed to the little country road at Berkasovo, 10 km away. According to the Dublin Regulation, it is only possible to request asylum in the first EU country where one has been registered. State-coordinated transport appears to happen with neither Croatia nor Hungary registering people’s fingerprints in the Eurodac database. Consequently, people are apparently not registered in the Dublin system either. However, fingerprints are not the only proof that can be used in a Dublin asylum application. The police can also use bus and train tickets as evidence, leading to deportation to other EU countries according to the Dublin rules. It is, therefore, impossible to know how the Dublin system will be put into practice in the future, especially in the light of the many new challenges the European asylum system has to confront.

GRÆNSE – et kollektivt digt

Jeg ser ikke grænsen mellem denne nationalstat og den i himlen

Jeg lever på grænsen mellem jeg’et og vi’et Jeg kan ikke lide grænsen mellem mig og min kone – min kone er i Somalia og jeg er i Danmark Jeg ser folk blive mere ensomme fordi de bygger flere mure end broer Jeg håber at grænser vil blive slettet fra verden, lad os åbne grænserne så alle kan blive forenet med dem de elsker, og det vil med sikkerhed bringe lykke til alle på denne planet

Jeg passerede grænsen mellem Danmark og Sverige på rulleskøjter i min drøm, mens andre gravede huller Jeg drømmer om at grave tunneller dybt under grænserne Jeg drømmer om en dag, hvor grænserne bringes til ende og folk genforenes med hvem de vil, men jeg ved ikke hvor lang tid det vil tage – med sikkerhed, hvis vi arbejder hårdt, så kan vi gøre det Jeg ved at grænsen mellem mig og min familie er det største problem jeg har mødt i denne verden – grænserne forårsager adskillelse og isolation

Jeg ser grænserne blive symboler på forskelligheder

Jeg lytter til grænsen mellem luften og vandet

Jeg erkender grænsen mellem mig og den jeg ønsker at være, og jeg ved at jeg ikke kan krydse den

Jeg drømmer om grænsen som noget mere konkret, et fastere materiale, så den ville være lettere at bryde

Jeg lytter til grænsen mellem lejren og markerne udenfor Jeg lever på grænsen mellem fantasi og virkelighed

Skrevet af deltagerne i en serie af skrive-workshops, der blev holdt i Trampolinhuset i foråret 2016.

Jeg ser ikke grænsen mellem denne nationalstat og den i vandet

Samlet af Liv Nimand Duvå.

Jeg erkender grænsen mellem at ville have og at behøve

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ANBEFALINGER / RECOMMENDATIONS John Steinbeck: Vredens druer Roman, 1939 Jeg vil gerne dele en bog, der efter min mening er en af de mest betydningsfulde bøger om migration: Vredens druer af John Steinbeck. Det er den første roman, der i en barsk og smertelig tone fremstiller det virkelige liv, som det formede sig for folk på bunden af samfundet. Da denne chokerende virkelighed ikke var blevet beskrevet før, troede den tids læsere ikke, at sådanne frygtelige ting kunne finde sted i deres amerikanske virkelighed. Men bogen er i sig selv et uigendriveligt bevis. Historien har en speciel, nærmest mystisk begyndelse, som noget taget ud af Bergmans univers. Den tidligere straffefange Tom vender tilbage til sit hjem i Oklahoma og opdager forfærdende forandringer: Jorden er fuldstændig øde, vinden bøjer træerne, vakkelvorne døre, faldefærdige huse uden mennesker. Folk har revet deres rødder op og er udvandret i massemålestok. Under et træ sidder en præst, der har mistet troen, og i Toms hus gemmer en af hans tidligere naboer sig – en galning ved navn Ford. Ford fortæller ham, hvad der er sket i hans fravær og maler et komplet apokalyptisk billede. Interessant nok er årsagen til apokalypsen på sin vis gud – maskinernes gud, metallets, plastikkens, de gigantiske skyskraberes gud, og gud af de magtfulde og upersonlige multinationale selskaber og banker. Toms store familie er fordrevet fra deres jord af drømmen om det solrige Californiens forjættede land, hvor de er blevet lovet sol, appelsiner og arbejde. Vredens druer forvandler sig til en deprimerende roadtrip: Toms familie sælger alle deres ting for at købe en affældig lastbil at køre til Californien i. På den svære vej mister de slægtninge og venner, og Californien viser sig at være helvede på jord: ingen mad, intet arbejde, ingen venlige mennesker. Og vi ser historien gentage sig i vor tid: Folk, der flygter eller følger deres drømme ender i situationer uden håb. I sidste ende påpeger Steinbeck, at individet kan reddes af kollektivet, da Tom og hans familie finder et fællesskab, der arbejder og lever sammen. De hjælper hinanden med glæde. Det bliver nærmest til prosocial propaganda: Som individ har man ingen chance mod kapitalismens uhyre. (Patrick)

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Fuocoammare: Havet brænder Dokumentar, 2016 Denne italienske dokumentar viser os Lampedusa set dels gennem migranter, der ankommer fra havet, og dels gennem hverdagslivet blandt fiskersamfundets familier. Gennem separate handlingstråde introduceres vi til øen. En klassisk radioudsendelse strømmer fra radioen i et italiensk køkken, et barn med en slangebøsse bevæger sig gennem stenet grundfjeld og lav bevoksning på jagt efter migrerende sangfugle. Det traditionelle øliv stilles over for kystvagtens radio og migranternes ankomst, når det mod alle odds er lykkedes dem at krydse havet i fartøjer, der ikke er tæt på at være sødygtige. Med en tålmodighed, der vækker minder om den iranske filminstruktør Kiarostami, portrætterer Fuocoammare dem, der befinder sig på øen: En fisker kommer gående ned ad klipperne ved daggry, de nyankomne går frem og tilbage i detentionslejren svøbt i guldfarvede termotæpper, ufortalte historier om flugt, indespærring og om at fortsætte. Et sjældent og anbefalelsesværdigt vidnesbyrd om en kompleks virkelighed. (Adam Qvist) Shadi Angeline Bazhegi: Vingeslag (Fluttering of Wings) Poems, 2015 In Vingeslag, Shadi Angelina Bazhegi’s poems delve deeply into the burden of war and displacement and what this means for the life and literature that follows. The poems present a chaotic and therefore precise depiction of a time of trauma. In the beginning of the book, Bazhegi writes: ”I stop / or I seize up / like an old watch / that can’t bare to / count more / bloodthirsty / seconds”, and proceeds to cross-cut between memories of war, romantic relationships, doctor’s visits, lectures, mathematical equations and soccer. Fleeting memories can unexpectedly emerge at any given time and while the past has a constant hold on the present, the present keeps altering the past. These poems don’t explain the trauma or examine it from the outside. Through repetition and disruption, flashbacks and cross-cuts, they create a literary form that is one with its content. It’s a tough read that demands an equal amount of flexibility and willingness to change, from the reader, as is exhibited in the poems. The descriptions of PTSD aren’t served up as recognizable or easily digested tropes. The book is a form-conscious frontal attack; an indication of where Scandinavian literature might be headed in a continuing time of crisis. The poems are

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wide-ranging and include quotes from such different voices as: Jim Morrison, Forugh Farrokhzad, Sohrab Sepehri, Michael Strunge, Nima Yushij, Oscar Wilde, Albert Camus, Aldous Huxley, Inger Christensen, Mowlana Rumi, Roland Barthes, Mohammad Tagi Bahar and Archimedes. (Liv Nimand Duvå) CAMP – Center for Kunst og Migrationspolitik Galleri, Thoravej 7 CAMP er et galleri beliggende i Trampolinhuset i København. Det blev etableret i 2015 som en nonprofit institution med en professionel bestyrelse og med kunstnerkollektivet Kuratorisk Aktion som daglige ledere. Som navnet indebærer fokuserer galleriet på migrationspolitik og på nationalstatens dehumaniserende rum såsom flygtningelejren, asylcenteret og deportationscenteret. Gennem kunstens perspektiv tilbyder galleriet en anden tilgang til migration. I offentlige debatter lader det til, at migrationsrelaterede spørgsmål hovedsageligt diskuteres ud fra to aspekter: Det finansielle, hvordan migration påvirker økonomien. Og det politiske, hvordan migration påvirker tilpasningen af det politiske etablissement.

Med næb og kløer: I de fordrevnes fodspor, AthenKøbenhavn I november 2013 indledtes Med næb og kløer for vores rettigheder i Athen; en workshop, der udforskede grænser og rejser gennem performance-actions. Den fortsatte på galleriet YNKB i København i foråret 2014. Ved at kombinere tilgange fra moderne kunst, antropologisk teater og arkitektur forsøgte workshoppen at skabe et midlertidigt, fælles rum, hvor grænser kortvarigt forsvandt, og hvor deltagerne fandt flygtige øjeblikke af frihed. Teksten er skrevet mellem juni 2014 og november 2015. af Christina Thomopoulos og Eleni Tzirtzilaki (med citater af deltagerne i workshoppen) Fotos af Mahmoud Billy Haydar og Christina Thomopoulos

2016 • visAvis № 12

Vi lever i en europæisk virkelighed, hvor flygtninge bliver solgt til Tyrkiet og Afghanistan for enorme summer af penge. Med et økonomisk system, der er baseret på det, magthaverne dikterer, og hvor majoriteten af individer kun værdsættes som produktionsmidler, bliver folk gjort til genstande for direkte handel. I dette lys, mener jeg at CAMP spiller en vigtig rolle. Hvis vi vil ændre systemet, er folk nødt til at opnå mere viden om, hvad der foregår inde i en flygtningelejr eller bag tremmerne i et asyl- eller deportationscenter. Jeg mener, at CAMP eksemplificerer, hvordan et kunstnerisk perspektiv har et stort potentiale i forhold til at skabe bevidsthed. Ved første øjekast kan det måske se ud som, at dette blot er et eksempel på én stemme i ødemarken – systemet kan ikke besejres! Men inden for en relativ kort periode har CAMP formået at skabe offentlig anderkendelse for deres betydelige arbejde. Galleriets første tre udstillinger bliver nu præsenteret på Statens Museum for Kunst. Jeg vil varmt opfordre alle interesserede til at besøge #artandmigration. Eller endnu bedre, at besøge CAMP i Trampolinhuset. (Patrick)

Deltagere i Athen: Lia Giannakou, Gianos, Kostis, Abdul Nazari, Omar Rose, Rachyd, Sara Santoro, Vassilis Spyropoulos, Alphonso Thiaby, Christina Thomopoulos, Abdullah Tzavadi, Eleni Tzirtzilaki Deltagere i København: Eva La Cour, Stoffer Michael Christensen, Mahmoud Billy Haydar, Markos Karayannos, Rasmus Pedersen, Liv Nimand Duvå, Kirsten Dufour Andersen, Finn Thybo Andersen, Eleni Tzirtzilaki, Christina Thomopoulos Fra Athen… Mange rejsende kender Grækenland som en turistdestination – berømt for dets arkæologi og gæstfrihed. For andre rejsende er Grækenland Europas tærskel og kendetegnes af mange vanskelige grænser. På rejsen til Athen mødes migranten af både synlige og usynlige barrierer. Mange mister livet på vejen – i skibsforlis i Det Ægæiske Hav på vej fra Tyrkiet, eller på grænsen ved Evros (i det nordlige Grækenland), hvor en truende mur er blevet rejst. I Athen, en by i undtagelsestilstand,

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er mange som en del af Operation Xenios Zeus blevet anholdt og fængslet eller tilbageholdt i flere måneder i små lokaler på politistationer. Migrationsfængsler tilbageholder i øjeblikket et stort antal sans-papiers på ubestemt tid. Adskillige er døde i centrene, nogle har begået selvmord. Det er virkeligheden i Athen lige nu. I efteråret 2013 indledte vi workshoppen Med næb og kløer for vores rettigheder. Vi mødtes ugentligt på det frie og selvorganiserede Embros Teater. Gennem workshoppen forsøgte vi at finde måder at udtrykke, behandle og præsentere migration og fordrivelse på. Gradvist fandt vi i vores kollektive proces formen performance-actions, som vi optrådte med på Embros og på Monastiraki Plads i det centrale Athen. Vi fokuserede på to begreber: rejser og grænser. Workshoppens deltagere kom fra forskellige steder: Syrien, Afghanistan, Algeriet, Senegal, Italien og Grækenland. Vi forsøgte at samle forskellige udtryksformer og følelseskulturer og derigennem udforske potentialerne ved stemmen, kroppen og nedfældningen af personlige historier. Vi vævede antropologiske tilgange sammen med kunstneriske og rumlige. Digte og sange fra forskellige lande akkompagnerede vores arbejde. Vi skabte et rum, hvor stemmer kunne høres på forskellige modersmål: arabisk, farsi, fransk, fulani, italiensk og græsk. Vores udgangspunkt var historien om de overlevende efter et skibbrud ud for Lefkas. Den 20. november 2013 druknede tolv personer ud for ​​ Paleros på Lefkas. Femten mennesker overlevede forliset. Fire af dem fortalte os deres historie: Vi befandt os på en café i Athen, og der var en smugler. Vi gik hen til ham og fortalte ham, at vi ønskede at forlade Grækenland, og han fortalte os, at han og nogle andre smuglere havde en båd, og at vi kunne sejle til Italien [...]. Vi blev ført væk, vi vidste ikke, hvor vi var. De førte os til nogle huse, vi blev behandlet som dyr. De gav os kun brød at spise. Vi boede der i tre dage og sov på jorden. Der var 22 af os. [...] Det var en meget lille båd. En af smuglerne holdt fast i rebet og skreg af os, bandede af os. Båden kæntrede lynhurtigt. Vi begyndte at skrige. Den kæntrede, fordi der var for mange af os, og båden var for lille. Mange af os endte under båden[...] Klokken var fem om morgenen, og der var ingen at se. [...] Halvanden eller to timer senere dukkede politiet og kystvagten op. Vores medrejsende havde kæmpet for livet i meget lang tid, de hamrede på skroget, vi kunne høre dem. Børnene var dækkede af benzin, de var helt sorte. De kunne ikke redde flere mennesker, de var for sent på den. Stemmerne under båden var blevet stille.

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[...] De gav os hverken arbejde eller papirer. Selv om vi var krigsflygtninge[...] Hunde er mere værd end mennesker her. Det varede ikke længe, ​​før vi på egen krop oplevede det, vi drøftede under workshoppen. En af deltagerne i workshoppen blev anholdt i Monastiraki som en del af Operation Xenios Zeus: Det var en solrig dag ... Smukt vejr. Det var søndag d.19. januar 2014. En dag, der desværre endte helt modsat det smukke vejr. Klokken var 23:30, da en politibetjent standsede mig på Monastiraki metrostation. Der var fire politifolk. De behandlede mig meget nedladende. De fornærmede mig igen og igen. De havde hverken navne- eller politiskilte. Jeg kunne ikke gøre noget. Jeg var helt hjælpeløs. De satte mig ind i en politibil og kørte mig til Akropolis politistation... Jeg talte med mig selv. Jeg blev ved med at sige til mig selv, ”De vil lade mig gå, som de har gjort 19 gange før.” Desværre endte jeg i fængsel for anden gang i mit liv. Første gang var i Thessaloniki i 45 dage. [...] Her, i fængslet i Athen, løb der kakerlakker rundt over det hele, og den mad vi fik, var knap nok spiselig. Femten mennesker i en fængselscelle. Nogle gange talte vi om den frihed, som ikke kan købes for penge. Nogle talte om fængslets ubarmhjertighed, der er så uretfærdig. En far i fængsel, hans kone og barn alene, bare fordi han ikke havde papirer. Nogle gange vandrede vores blikke mod vinduet, og vi gav krummerne fra vores mad til duerne ... Det fyldte os med en midlertidig glæde. Efter at jeg blev løsladt fra fængslet, kørte politibetjenten fra immigrationskontoret mig til Omonoiapladsen og satte mig af. I det øjeblik jeg steg ud af bilen, åndede jeg frihedens luft ... Et øjeblik jeg aldrig glemmer. …Til København Omar kom ikke med. Hans rejse endte i receptionen på ​​den danske ambassade i Athen, hvor kvinden bag skrivebordet kiggede strengt på os bag sine briller. Ambassaden nægtede ham en rejsetilladelse. Hun var ikke interesseret i hans historie eller det CV, som han og Christina havde lavet sammen til hans visumansøgning. Omar fik ikke lov til at rejse med os til København for at deltage i vores performance, selvom Eva havde sendt ham en officiel invitation. Som Omar fortalte os, havde han for et stykke tid siden betalt € 3500 for at rejse mod nord. Han var taget til lufthavnen og var blevet sendt tilbage. Han ville i stedet tage med båd til Italien. Han ville blive i Rom. Måske ved Valle. Og så tage den derfra.

visAvis № 12 • 2016


Vi er her for at fortælle hans historie. I to uger i maj 2014 samarbejdede vi med YNKB, et selvorganiseret galleri på Nørrebro, for at udforske historier om migration og asyl i København i dag. Vi forsøgte at følge ruterne fra Athen til København, det ”idealiserede” nord, og at forbinde oplevelser af fordrivelse fra forskellige steder. Dag 1: Udvisning En mand på flyet var der sandsynligvis ikke af egen fri vilje. Jeg lagde mærke til ham, en afrikaner mellem to civilklædte betjente ved check-in-skranken. Ved gaten pegede en af ​​vagterne, nu var han den eneste, når han ville have manden til at flytte sig, sætte sig ned og så videre. Den afrikanske mand var helt rolig, velklædt på en hiphop-agtig måde, og han sms’ede konstant på sin telefon. Ingen syntes at lægge mærke til de to mænd. Dag 2: Besøg i Trampolinhuset Trampolinhuset er et sted i København, der forsøger at overvinde grænser. Her talte vi med mange mennesker, der havde været igennem Athen på deres rejse til København. Efter Athen fortsætter mange til Italien i tog eller lastbiler, ofte skjult. Nogle ønsker at krydse Kanalen for at nå til London, men når det ikke lykkes, fortsætter de mod Tyskland og Danmark. Andre når København med fly efter at have betalt store summer. Kroppe danser sammen ved festmiddagen der er en form for generthed først jeg kan se at folk venter men den næste sang er nogens yndlingssang! Forsagtheden bliver brudt! Når vi hører vores hjerters musik, nedbrydes genertheden musik vender ubehag til glæde. Dag 5: Kvindemøde i Trampolinhuset Her til morgen var der kvindemøde i Trampolinhuset. Der var kun kvinder i huset. I begyndelsen kun tre. Lidt efter kom der flere til. Khloud, sød og imødekommende, var fra Syrien. Hun havde foretaget en lang rejse, krydset grænser og boede nu i Avnstrup Asyllejr. Hendes mand var palæstinenser. Han døde i krigen i en alder af 42. Hun havde rejst fra Syrien til Jordan, derefter til Tyrkiet, Istanbul, Izmir, Chios, Athen, Nea Smirni, Syntagma, Omonoia, Venizelos Lufthavn og til sidst til København.

2016 • visAvis № 12

”Det er første gang, jeg er i Trampolinhuset. Mine tre børn er i Jordan. De er mellem 9 og 14 år”, fortalte hun. (Hun viser os billeder af dem.) Hun vil gerne have dem til Danmark, men hun ved ikke, om det vil lykkes. Hun sagde, at hun ville blive meget glad, hvis vi besøgte hende i Avnstrup. Dag 8: Avnstrup Asyllejr For at nå frem til lejren måtte vi tage to forskellige tog og to forskellige busser. Turen tog omkring halvanden time. Følelsen af ​​afstand, af at være langt væk, af isolation var i luften. Ironisk nok blev landskabet oplyst af vidtstrakte marker med lysende, gule blomster. Hvem har bestemt, at lejren skal være her? Nogen sagde til os; Ja, naturen er smuk, men hvad kan jeg bruge det til? Jeg vil bare leve et normalt liv, ligesom alle andre. Dag 10: Sprogets grænser En kommunikationsbarriere møder folk, når de først kommer til Danmark. Det gør sig især gældende i forhold til ”at få styr på historien” til asylinterviewet. En ung mand vi mødte fortalte os, at en oversætter havde lavet en fejl i hans historie, og da han forsøgte at påpege fejlen, troede man ikke på ham. Det var oversætterens ord over hans. Hvad betyder det at forstå? At tale samme sprog? Jeg kunne tale til dig på dit sprog, og du ville måske stadig ikke forstå mig. Fordi du ikke ønsker at lytte. Hvad vil det sige at have et modersmål, når ingen ønsker at høre, hvad man har at sige? Hvad vil det sige at blive oversat, når det føles som om ingen ønsker at lytte? Hvordan kan vi kommunikere med hinanden, når grænserne er overalt? Sprogets grænser. Andre grænser. Måske burde jeg øve mig på den historie, jeg skal fortælle, den historie, du vil høre, den historie, jeg er nødt til at fortælle, for at blive tildelt et trygt sted, hvor min krop kan hvile - for en stund. Jeg har så meget, jeg vil sige til dig, men ikke noget sprog at sige det på. Fra research til performance-action Vores oprindelige idé var, at vores performance-action skulle udgøre et rum, hvor deltagerne fra Trampolinhuset sammen kunne udtrykke deres historier og erfaringer med grænser. Det vurderede de imidlertid var for risikabelt under deres asylansøgningsproces, så vi anlagde en anden tilgang og inkluderede også dele af anonyme historier i vores researchdagbøger. Vi startede med at spørge: I en situation, hvor du får frataget stemmen, hvordan kan du så blive hørt, fortælle din egen historie? Som en del af processen læste vi

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uddrag af vores dagbøger på ’gebrokkent dansk’: Sammen med danske venner oversatte vi vores refleksioner fra græsk til dansk og stavede oversættelsen fonetisk med græske bogstaver, så vi kunne udtale det så ”korrekt” som muligt. Da vi ikke talte det lokale sprog, blev dette vores personlige oplevelse af andethed i Danmark. En konfrontation af sprogbarrierer og (mis)forståelser; følelser af det umulige og absurde ved kommunikation, men også bestræbelser på at overvinde det gennem leg, humor og samarbejde med vores danske venner. Sprog og oversættelse i sig selv som en rejse. Oversættelsen blev en måde at nå hinanden på – et fælles grundlag. Under forestillingen blev nogle tekster læst op på forskellige sprog - arabisk, dansk, engelsk og græsk. På den måde blev vi alle sammen nødt til at vente på vores tur til at kunne forstå, at fange velkendte fraser, at høre et sprog, der gav mening for øret. Men andre gange læste vi op på alle sprog samtidig - arabisk, græsk, dansk, engelsk. Nogle gange som en polyfonisk melodi, andre gange som en absurd kakofoni. Nogle gange lød det som et helt nyt sprog, sammensat af alle sprogene. Man vidste ikke, hvor man skulle kigge hen for at forstå, hvad der foregik, og nogle gange lukkede man bare øjnene og lyttede, som man lytter til musik uden at føle, at det var strengt nødvendigt at forstå. Indholdet af de tekster vi læste gav ikke mening alligevel, så hvad forskel gjorde det? Mange sprog, der tales på samme tid. Jeg kan ikke forstå, hvad de siger, de taler i munden på hinanden! Men det handler ikke om bogstavelig forståelse, snarere om at give plads til at lytte til et sprog, der ikke er ens eget. At bryde med hierarkiet mellem sprog, sætte spørgsmålstegn ved hvilke sprog vi kan og bør lytte til. At give hinanden ret til at blive hørt. Du er ikke et fremmedsprog. Hvis vores sprog kan eksistere side om side, kan vi måske også.

Gebrokkent dansk: Gad vide om de kunne høre, at min udtale var så dårlig. Gad vide om de kunne høre, at jeg ikke vidste, hvad hvert ord, jeg sagde, betød. Det var en prøve: Kan jeg ’bestå’ som dansk nok? Som europæisk nok? Som tilstrækkelig vesterlænding? Bevægelserne vi medtog i opførelsen udforskede følelser af indespærring, af udstødelse og fangenskab. Måske kan en performance være med til at synliggøre, hvad andre har forsøgt at holde usynligt. Vi kan ikke ændre en situation, vi ikke kan se. Derfor forsøger vi at visualisere, hvad nogle foretrækker at lukke øjnene for. Måske kan en performance at skabe en ny oplevelse af fællesskab. En bro i en grænsernes tid. www.menychiakaimedontia.wordpress.com


visAvis no. 12  
visAvis no. 12  

Voices on Asylum and Migration

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