Last year on 8th of March Together we are Bremen was protesting in front of inner senator of Bremen to demand papers for all the babies. Remember and find impressions here. Many feminists came to support our fight. This year we decided to join the Sterndemo (demonstration where 5 fingers start at different points and come together as in the heart of a star) initiated by the f*streik Bündnis. We created a coalition with our sisters from Alarmphone because «Solidarity is our strength that no one can steal from us». This is actually the title of the «Women and LGBTQI+ Report 2021» by Watch the med – Alarmphone. Read full report here. Once we joined the preparation committee there were already 5 fingers. The Climate justice finger invited us to join in order to connect the struggles for climate justice with those of women on the move, crossing borders. This is where we arrived today. This is where we put our bodies today. We document here our speech that is presented at the heart of the star today. Find translation to German here and to French here.
so that one day
a hundred years from now
another sister will not have to dry her tears
wondering where in history she has lost her voice
The Alarm Phone is a 24/7 telephone hotline, run by activists in Africa, Middle East and Europe. It supports people on the move. They can call when they are crossing the Mediterranean sea. In June 2020, on the sea between Turkey and Greece, an Alarm Phone case comes in. Here, women are in the centre of the actions.
It`s 6.30 in the morning, the Alarmphone (AP) receives a distress call from a boat. There are 32 people on board, more than half of them are women and there are 11 children. They left from Afghanistan. The Alarm phone activists who are on shift are as well 2 women. The people on board send their GPS location and ask for rescue and asylum in Europe. AP alerts immediately the Greek coastguard. 7.30 in the morning, the people on board report that their boat has been attacked by a ship. They stole their engine, beat them and threatened to kill them. There is a woman who is pregnant in the 8th month, and at 5.30 in the afternoon, her water breaks. She starts having contractions. AP calls the Greek Coast Guard again and again, and urges them to rescue the people, but they do not do anything. Even though their ship is close to the travellers boat. One of the women on board has already given birth before. She assists the woman who starts to give birth. The Alarm Phone activists call another friend who is a midwife. She gives advice to them over the phone. This advise is translated to Farsi by another activist woman. These women from 5:30 in the morning until 10 at night assist their sister who is giving birth.
Even though water is entering the boat, even though the waves are getting higher, even though there is fear and panic.
Late at night, the people are rescued. Thanks to their strong will, thanks to the solidarity between women on the same boat and at both end of a telephone line.
Many of those who are crossing borders are women, following their own ideas and plans. But being on the move puts them under specific dangers. There is systematic violence like sexual harassment by chairmen, by their co-travellers, by policemen, by militaries.
Women and queer people are doing a huge part of the fight against borders. They are the ones who build up the structures and keep them running. They do the work on the ground. We must fight borders by all sides. At all times.
Together We Are Bremen is a collective of activists, who is fighting for papers for all, against transfer, for houses to live, for education and for staying in Bremen.
One of our sisters tells us about the journey from Africa to Europe:
“It was a terrible and hurting journey. In passing through Sahara routes, on the deserts and Mediterranean sea, many people because of suffering from the struggles, as lack of food, lack of protection, lack of everything, couldn’t make it and died. Some of them made it and arrived here. But unfortunately, even though that we are arrived, we are still struggling, as if we didn’t arrive at all!”
How to arrive? How to be accepted as we are? How to get our hopes, wills and basic needs? How much more we should match ourselves in the major society? How much more we should change ourselves to pass in any already made and practised structure? How to demand this society, how to demand the dominant structures and rules of this society to recognize us as we are? To recognize our own structures and rules as they are?
At the last rally one of the woman in the Together we are Bremen housing structure told us:
They asked me to transfer, to leave the camp, with my two children, and my baby is just one month, after having her with operation.
You white people you came to Africa to take what ever belongs to us, left us with nothing, now we come here for survival and you tell us no, you have to go! But why?!
We are not asking but demanding from them: let us stay here, let us stay and stop the transfer, let us stay, let us stay because black lives matter!
With considering all differences on our paper statuses, class, education, our colours, our genders, our ages and etc. and etc: Those who arrived, Those who won the fight for staying, Those who were born here with connections with families, who for years or generations were on the move. We are all living in a society, which doesn`t give us the feeling of arriving, we are living in a society that reminds us every day and in every situation: we are the second hand society, We are living in a society that remind us daily: we are still on the move!