Melilla: Eichmann at the border

… it is terrible to inhabit and know a world where eyes are no longer able to give a look – I do not say of love, but even of curiosity or sympathy.

Pier Paolo Pasolini, Petrolio

Have the moral horrors of our societies become so entrenched and so removed by a media induced alienation – and more – that we can no longer feel outrage at the violence exercised at those whom we would consider “foreign”? And is our security-managed narcissism so great that potentially everyone other than our-selves is foreign and therefore a menace, and accordingly undeserving of moral consideration?

On Friday, the 25th of June, 27 people – at the moment of writing – of sub-Saharan origin died trying to cross the moroccan-spanish border at Melilla, a Spanish enclave on the Moroccan coast. Hundreds more were injured. (El Salto Diario – 26/05/2022)

The video images recorded at the site (by the Association Marocaine des Droits Humains – Section Nador), of Moroccan police beating and piling bodies upon bodies, defy the imagination. And yet what they capture occurred, without indignation, without any sense of tragedy, without remorse. Increasingly, we seem capable only of grieving for our own pathetic selves, torn as so many seem to be between success and wellness, or failure; absurd words used without understanding.

We share below an article by Sarah Babiker, published in El Salto Diario (25/06/2022), and a communiqué (in french) signed by La Plateforme des Associations et Communautés Subsahariennes au Maroc (P. ASCOMS), Caminando Fronteras, ATTAC CADTM Maroc, Association d’aide aux migrants en situation de vulnérabilité- Maroc (AMSV), AMDH/ L’Association Marocaine des Droits Humains.

Eichmann at the border

Dozens of dying human bodies piled up on the ground. It’s not a movie. If it were a movie, at least the spectators would shed some tears, if it were a well-scripted fiction, with deeply developed characters, if we had seen flashbacks of the long journeys of those bodies lying under the sun in the original subtitled version, from the moment they decided that, despite everything, they had to try, a sharp pain would run through our bodies, activating our humanity. The scenes in which they hugged their mothers for the last time, planted a kiss on the head of a child, would be accompanied by a soft and emotional piano soundtrack, which would slowly fade away, while we see the characters move away from their home, back bent by the weight of the responsibility of supporting a family.

If we had been told of their struggle for survival, the clever ways in which they dodged well-funded security forces to stop them from passing at any cost, the thousands of miles they travelled across a huge continent, if we had seen them collectively decide that they were all going together to the border, that unity is strength, that their dignity is greater than the billions of Euros that irrigate the border industry, we would have applauded them in front of the screen, the moment they headed with determination and bravery towards the border fence.

The sacrifice and the effort, the resilience, so fashionable today, the courage, because it takes so much courage to climb a fence guarded on one side and the other by police who see you as a subhuman or as an enemy, these would be the principal themes, the universal human plot, of this film. Who could not empathize with the piled-up bodies of dozens of men slowly dying in the sun, after being tear gassed, brought down with stones and rubber bullets, dragged along the ground, beaten and abandoned, bodies sweating and crying and bleeding. What is the difference between the videos that the Moroccan Association for Human Rights has released and the Oscar-winning images of World War II movies that have made generations cry?

But it is not a movie; there is no place for empathy on the news or for progressivism when it comes to black people. The banality of evil is also to congratulate yourself in front of the press for the good work of the collaboration between police forces at the border, in an operation that has ended at least 27 lives. It is to be an Eichmann who does his job, even if you preside over a government. And it is this necropolitics that is the real government into which the logic of the institutional and democratic paraphernalia that wants to appear clean and free of guilt, oblivious to the beaten bodies and the lives lost, sinks its foundations. And so, suddenly, you find yourself turned into a Nazi bureaucrat, making possible with your efficiency and formality the death of others, signing agreements that are collective and summary death sentences.

Movies have the luxury of offering you an introduction, a beginning, middle and end. The news, by contrast, shows the consequences but does not show the causes. They do not speak about how climate change is raging against so many African countries, about the Sahel abandoned to violence, about the invading foreign companies and the European, American, and Chinese governments that unconditionally back them in their looting. The lives of millions of people become a threatening abstraction, language is conjugated far from everything human, and it is the lexicon of necropolitics that is imposed: an avalanche, a violent attack on the border fence, an invasion, defence, border control, illegal migrants. This is the language that allows you to come out well dressed before the press, congratulating yourself on a performance that has left dozens of young people dead, the language that hides something that should also be recognised before the cameras: that they are better off dead than in our territory, that their concrete and real death is preferable to feeding with their presence the phantasmagorical hypotheses of the extreme right about population replacements, chaos and crime.

What else can be done, ask those who are safe while shrugging their shoulders. We must defend our borders. It is always the death of others that is presented as, if not desirable, at least inevitable. And meanwhile, on social networks, we can experience the disturbing dystopia of seeing the Nazis of Second World War movies, the racists and haters of all life, spitting at us live, and with a few words, all of the ideological repertoire that has fed apartheids, concentration camps and genocides throughout history. Perhaps it is not necessary to call them Nazis, because the Nazis are just a very well documented episode of a constant in history, the fatal mixture of hatred, the banality of evil and the indifference from which mass graves are fed.



37 morts aux frontières européennes : L’accord Espagne-Maroc sur l’immigration tue!

Les 37 morts et les centaines de blessés du côté des migrants comme ceux du côté des forces d’ordre marocaines sont le tragique symbole de politiques européennes d’externalisation des frontières de l’Union européenne (UE), avec la complicité d’un pays du Sud, le Maroc. La mort de ces jeunes africains sur les frontières de la « forteresse européenne » alerte sur la nature mortifère de la coopération sécuritaire en matière d’immigration entre le Maroc et l’Espagne.

Les prémisses du drame de ce vendredi 24 juin ont été annoncés depuis plusieurs semaines. Les campagnes d’arrestations, de ratissages des campements, de déplacements forcés visant les personnes en migration à Nador et sa région étaient annonciatrices de ce drame écrit d’avance. La reprise de la coopération sécuritaire dans le domaine des migrations entre le Maroc et l’Espagne, en mars 2022, a eu pour conséquence directe la multiplication des actions coordonnées entre les deux pays.

Ces mesures sont marquées par des violations des droits humains des personnes en migration au nord (Nador, Tétouan et Tanger) comme au sud du Maroc (Laâyoune, Dakhla). Le drame de cette triste journée est la conséquence d’une pression planifiée contre les personnes exilées.

Depuis plus d’un an et demi, les personnes en migration à Nador sont privées d’accès aux médicaments, aux soins, voient leurs campements brûlés et leurs biens spoliés, leurs maigres denrées alimentaires détruits et même le peu d’eau potable qui est à leur disposition dans les campements, il est confisqué.

Ces expéditions punitives ont abouti à une spirale de violence des deux côtés. Une violence condamnable quel que soit ses origines, mais tout en rappelant la violence systémique que subissent les migrants à Nador depuis des années de la part des forces de l’ordre espagnoles comme marocaines. Des pratiques condamnées à de multiples reprises par des instances nationales, régionales et onusiennes.

Face à ce nouveau drame aux frontières, et compte tenu de l’ampleur du bilan humain qui sera amené, hélas, à être revu à la hausse, les organisations signataires de ce communiqué annonce ce qui suit :

• Nous exprimons nos vives condoléances aux familles des victimes, parmi les migrants comme dans les rangs des forces de l’ordre.

• Nous condamnons l’absence de prise en charge rapide des migrants blessés, qui a alourdit ce bilan. Nous exigeons qu’une prise en charge sanitaire adéquate et de qualité soit accordée à toutes les personnes hospitalisées à la suite de ce drame.

• Nous exigeons que les autorités marocaines procèdent à l’identification et à la restitution des dépouilles des victimes à leurs familles, en collaboration avec les communautés des migrants.

• Nous exigeons l’ouverture immédiate d’une enquête judiciaire indépendante du côté marocain comme espagnol, ainsi qu’au niveau international pour faire toute la lumière sur ce drame humain.

• Nous exigeons la fin des politiques criminelles financées par l’Union européenne et ses nombreux complices, les Etats, certaines organisations internationales et plusieurs organisations de la société civile qui assurent la sous-traitance de ces politiques criminelles.

• Nous appelons les représentations diplomatiques des pays africains, présentes au Maroc d’assumer pleinement leurs responsabilités en matière de protection de leurs ressortissants, au lieu d’être complices des politiques en cours.

• Nous appelons les organisations et les mouvements de défense de droits humains et de défense des droits des personnes en migration à se mobiliser dans ce moment critique où le droit de la vie est plus que jamais est danger.

Le 25 juin 2022, Rabat

La Plateforme des Associations et Communautés Subsahariennes au Maroc (P. ASCOMS)

Caminando Fronteras (text available in spanish)


Association d’aide aux migrants en situation de vulnérabilité- Maroc (AMSV)

AMDH/ L’Association Marocaine des Droits Humains

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