I was there (Steenrock Festival) and I cannot forget

I was there (Steenrock Festival) and I cannot forget

by Oriol Josa

We were led by a band of horns and drums, and voices and dance, walking with groups of people who would say the simpliest things that one should always accept: no person is illegal; equality…is for everyone; human rights are… for everyone. I will confess you this: I was extremely happy to be part of that day, to feel that I was going to be present in an event that was worth, shared with activists, many activists, many looking like having been born in any corner of the world, like all of us, like me, coming from Barcelona, but always travelling, always travelling. Story image

Yes I was happy. Because usually we don’t understand the depth of the truth that we are going to stare at when we are still about to get involved in something relevant.

The path was enjoyed by many of us, who unconsciously arrived to a green field, cut by high and green barriers, fences, which, like in prisons, would have two lines: you know, like making sports, the game is not only to jump one barrier, you have to jump two… if you are considered a criminal and you want to be free.

At least 50 metres beyond the barriers you could only see those open windows in those brown, perfectly designed buildings to retain. Retain, detain. Are you someone who desperately needs to have a future; are you able to risk your life several times in the sea, in the borders, because you are convinced that there is a place for you in the world? Show me your passport. Let me see; well, no, you see…how much money do you have? How good are you for my country. You know: it’s mine, we build those walls to keep our privileges. We call them rights. Yes borders, walls: i have the right to sell arms to your country, and I have the right to support both dictators and civil wars, for the interest of the civil privileges of my white, green people. Shhhhht. They don’t want to know, that we are (at least, at least, co-) responsible for the tragedies that led you here. We are tararáaaaaa! A democracy! We are…tararáaaaaa! Solidary. And you are a criminal, you deserve to be in prison.

You see, I escape from explaining what I saw right away. It is too hard. It is too unfair. From those windows, equipped of course with bars, hands and arms would wave at us. Screams that I heard, they would arrive just like wispers, I would not understand a word. There, with no GPS adress, a no-place of the world, a prison for those who don’t have the right to a trial. Because they commited no crime; why would they be judged for? The people around me were shouting: liberté, liberté! Solidaritéeeee!!! My soul is nailed in front of those fences, the Detention Center 127bis. I, who have difficulties to shout in demonstrations, started to shout: liberté! liberté! liberté! That day, music bands played hard so that they, whom I don’t have the right to ask their name, and us, outside the fences, would be united in words of liberation, in an athmosphere of melodies that could unite our hearts with common emotions and a common speech. Yes, I was able to enjoy the festival, to hug a lot of people, to smile. That was it: being deeply touched, we also want a better world, where we people from all over the world have the right to enjoy, to hug each other with no policial prosecution.

Just for you to know. There are detention centers in Brussels, there are detention centers in Rome, in Barcelona, in Rennes, in…Probably in the country you live, there is one detention center. A detention center is a place where people who committed no crime (they are bureaucratically in an administrative irregular situation) are in jail, without a trial. Maybe during a year or more. Usually with insufficient medical attention, with most of their rights denied. Many of them are people who seek for asylum, all of them just want to build their own destiny, and this is according to human rights. Now you should know, like I understood, that a country which denies the most basic human rights to some people, like freedom to live a life, it is not a democratic country; that a state which denies the right to medical attention, to a trial, it is a country that violates any European national Constitution (they all integrated the principles of human rights), where therefore there is no rule of law or legal security. If I want an Europe with democracy, I cannot accept this present Europe. If I want an Europe with values, I have to deny this present Europe. And I think that if your children or brothers deserve to have guaranteed human rights, you should confront the existence of the Frontex policy, and the existence of detention centers anywhere you live in Europe.

On the 15th of June there will be an International Day for the Closing of All Detention Centers. Express your solidarity then. It is being solidary to what makes you human.

For more information, visit:

la crer, collective in Belgium that promotes the festival: https://fr-ca.facebook.com/crer.regularisation

blog for the events of June 15th to close all Detention Centers: https://15jdiacontraloscie.wordpress.com/

CIE’s NO! spanish group against Detention Centers: http://www.ciesno.wordpress.com/

@tanquemelsCIES, Catalan movement against Detention Centers

gettingthevoiceout, network for the rights of all people who migrate: http://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/


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