Borders

A poem about the ability for European people with passports to cross a border with no trouble whatsoever, while people who seek refuge experience borders as an obstacle and is the cause for serious hardship. It was inspired by walking from Greece to Macedonia as a person from a foreign land.

 

cross lines without meaning

just one look

ahead without dreaming

that’s all it took

 

i get a pass

while others not so fast

we all foreigners to this land

to us all it is foreign, land

 

stressed they will tress

it’s such a mess around me

i am free because of what’s in my hand

they are trapped as it’s lost from their hands

 

walls put up, imaginary

fences and barbed wire

find a place for the dead to be buried

hopes crushed, barely living tired

 

borders taking shape

an unwelcoming sign

people following orders

media frenzy turns them blind

 

eyes opened to reality

difference between love and hate

accepting inhumane casualties

divided yet the same fate

 

all part of one kind or so I thought

your birth place identifies who you are

word association what we are taught

reached for non-existing stars

 

seek refuge in world you don’t know

not allowed to stay

get refused for what you can and cannot show

please go back the same way

 

while i freely travel

whole lives get unraveled

if only we would break down the borders

that we created to separate and keep order

 

by Jelle Wassenaar- Issues Without Borders member, former volunteer in a refugee camp

 




Life in the jungle

A poem about life in Calais and how it must’ve felt like before it got dismantled earlier this year and people were transferred to camps / centres in France.

 

A point near the sea

not where oceans but two countries meet

thousands stranded

human beings, they are just like us

politics inter fear, abandoned thus

 

where to go? this place is new

a jungle created right out of the blue

are we monkeys, trapped in a zoo?

 

I don’t see any forest around

so many people in tents on the ground

everybody’s up and have created a small town

try to stay sane as we are EU bound

 

kitchens, book clubs, our own economy

from Africa to Asia to the Middle-East

we have to survive together same ancestry

 

sure there’s some squabbles and fights

but we all under the same roof come midnight

there’s very little hope but we still have the light

 

darkness rules when nobody cares

we just trying to create a better life ain’t fair

maybe big expectations, but for this you cannot prepare

so close to my family, this I cannot bear

 

years of oppression, war and poverty in a state

I was born in, did not choose, but chose to escape

Did I have a choice, silenced when raising my voice

can you imagine it, can you relate?

 

go to Europe everyone said

no option to stay here, where you will end up dead

that’s what kept me going even in a sea of red

but this hole is what I found instead

 

there is water but it’s not running properly

an open sewer so you can just pee

showers forget about it

feces all around, inhumane basically

 

in amidst all of this, children get lost

yet people in power worry about costs

police arrives when it burns but will they learn

we only try to get warm coming frost

 

some even attack us, where is the protection

luckily we have volunteers who show affection

help us so much, there’s an instant connection

we are lost but we get some direction

 

after so much waiting you start to explore alternatives

cannot just stay here, something’s gotta give

should I get on the lorry or stay positive

 

many have tried but came back

some were less fortunate, lost track

how can we stay sane when we supposed to crack?

 

every now and then the media comes impressed

and while most carry on, some protest

it’s like talking to a wall, a fence at best

a life ended but the loss of revenue makes the press

 

together we made it work somehow

through all the grief, we laugh and dance now

because we are in a centre and made it out

 

where to go? we have to get on a bus

many are left behind, it’s created a fuss

sadly caught in between, staying a must

 

the jungle is still there, you see

we are stranded where two countries meet

trying to get to the UK

but we aren’t seen as equals unfortunately

politics interfered, stay in France, me?

 

by Jelle Wassenaar- Issues Without Borders member, former volunteer in a refugee camp

 

 

 




Impressions After CIFE’s Summer Programme On Migration

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I have just returned to Romania after a few days in Rome, Italy, where I was invited to share my experience on human rights law and European Union law in a summer/autumn programme organized by CIFE (for those who do not know about CIFE or CIFE’s summer programmes, please see http://www.cife.eu/fr/4/programme-universitaire-d-ete_6-1) in collaboration with Università La Sapienza and Centro Italiano di Formazione Europea. 

The programme organized in Rome (September 25, 2016 – October 1, 2016) had as topic Migrants in Europe: Borders, Human Rights and International Security, and it was really cross-cultural (reuniting students from Austria, Bresil, Germany, Greece, Italy, Kosovo/Albania, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, and lecturers from Italy, Estonia and Romania – actually my colleague Hamed has an incredible life story and is difficult to come under just one country – from Iran, settled in Estonia, working in Norway). 

My presentations have addressed the issue of human trafficking as a new modern form of slavery (where I have tackled the irregular migration issue) and EU’s commitments to solve it.

At the end of the programme, we have organized a role-play by dividing the students in four teams (migrants, activists, opposers and Italian authorities). I must confess that the role-play was great, the students have impressed me with their capacity of using the information received and getting into the skin of characters (I have to underline that some of them were actually graduate, with experience in human rights). I am so sorry they did not agree to record it – it would have been a great tool for other students (I attach however a few photos in order to have an idea – I hope my students and colleagues will not mind). 

Additionally, I have told them a few things about Issues Without Borders platform (who was created from the passion for human rights law) and showed them a video about it. The students were very interested in learning more and I really hope we will collaborate in the future.

As for the organizing team, I have to admit that I know Marie-France Perdigon, who is the manager of the summer university programme, for many years and our collaboration has always been great. I have also really loved our Italian host, Cristina Giudici, who is professor at the Unesco Chair in Population, Migrations and Development at Università La Sapienza in Rome and the President of Centro Italiano di Formazzione Europea.

After the summer programme, Marie France and Cristina have organized an alumni meeting that was great, giving us the alumni the possibility to reconect and to socialize (I am also an alumni of CIFE after attending different summer programmes – this was the manner I have discovered the CIFE). At this alumni meeting, I was invited to be part of a debate panel about BREXIT.

Marie France’s proffesionalism and thoroughness, the high level of the students and lecturers, as well as the partners and locations chosen, are arguments that make me each year to follow CIFE’s path and to deliver lectures in different parts of the world. I really hope that next year I will be invited again (in another summer programme or again in Rome, especially that I made a wish at the Trevi Fountain… and I have to get back to Rome again)!

Congratulations CIFE for doing such a spectacular work with your summer programmes! You should be really proud of your ambassadors! 

 

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