A caste system in Europe

We know the pictures by heart. A catastrophe later, we sign more petitions, loosen a euro or two, gather in the streets loudly, armed with signs and screaming our throats sore that we have space. People drown, are victims of illegal pushbacks, helpers become perpetrators and some, squatting in their warm nests, offer their unfounded opinions. I have stopped discussing with them, it has become too idle for me to explain the world to those who believe in a different view of humanity. Those who made it to Europe's external borders are being held in open-air prisons for years with no prospects of moving forward or backward. Places burn down, new ones are built, otherwise people die. Human bodies and psyches get sick by the thousands, offended by the hypocritical idea of ​​a free Europe. The ink in human rights treaties hypocritically fades onto the charter papers. I understand the complexity of the right to asylum in theory, but this consensus never finds room in my ethical, ideological view of life. For me, people should live where and how they please. In return, I only demand that this idea is also lived. 

The borders are closed. I find out almost every day how many refugees have made it to the Federal Republic. The day before yesterday there were 29 new arrivals in NRW, compared to just one person each day. After registration, the categorization of people continues. How and where to proceed is initially a wheel of fortune: east or west, in the city or in the country, showcase integration project or container construction with common rooms. However, how long this state of affairs will be maintained is no longer arbitrary, but a matter of political calculation. After endless, grueling asylum procedures, a decision is made as to whether or not you are entitled to strive for a free, better life. A political chessboard with squares from safe or unsafe countries of origin and residence permits as game pieces. And those who, according to European asylum law, shouldn't behave like that are just tolerated. Endured, endured, first accepted. Dislike attested on ID card.

Since entry into Germany is currently almost impossible, the federal government has been targeting a certain population group for some time: people from the Balkan countries, many from the Roma community. A never-ending loop of stigma that often culminates in intergenerational tragedy. Then as now, persecuted and rejected, here and there. In the Balkans, many Roma have been subjected to structural and institutional discrimination and racism for decades. Passports and citizenships are often not issued, and documents are difficult to obtain. The "statelessness" assigned on paper decrees them to stay away from social life. No clear citizenship - no registered address, no registered address - no authorization to rent living space. Many are pushed to the outskirts of the city and live isolated in collapsing settlements from the socialist era or tent settlements without access to water and heating. School visits and work permits are denied. A caste system in the middle of Europe. It is understandable that many want to break out of this circle and hope for a more self-determined life in the states of Western Europe, the dignitaries of equal opportunities, at least for future generations. The painful reality is served to the Roma refugees on a silver platter: they are tolerated, often for life. Farewell to equal opportunities. This residence permit only entitles you to stay here and not have to leave immediately: Duldung - temporary suspension of deportation . Temporary is an uncomfortably flexible term when you finally want to start a new life. A spur to integration feels different. In the meantime, tolerated children are allowed to go to school, and children just spark some kind of dismay in most people. People over the age of 16 have almost no chance of finding their way into the system. A Duldung does not entitle you to take part in integration or German courses, which are more long-term and not temporary. The few offers that exist are financed by foundations or other educational funds. A German course is often not enough. The marginalization that has taken place in their countries of origin prevents access to education, so that many cannot read and write. Finding a literacy course for people with a temporary deportation status is a very, very difficult task. Integration and social participation are once again carried out on the backs of voluntary civilians and committed, networked, needs-oriented social work. Those who dare to get a job and are willing to engage in underpaid work must withstand the slow grind of bureaucracy. Anyone who has found and been promised a job must first obtain a work permit from the immigration authorities explicitly for the job: Institutional racism par excellence. This can take a few months, and that’s how long employers rarely keep a vacancy, despite good intentions. It's just not meant to be. No access to education, no access to the labor market and the intervals between extending the toleration status are getting shorter and shorter. Instead of every three months, they have to run to the immigration office every month to extend their tolerance. If this pattern emerges, deportation is already lurking behind the turnstiles of the immigration authorities. Deportations are frowned upon, at least by most people. The stories of families who are roused from their sleep at night, have to pack their bags in a few minutes and are deported to the airport by a police convoy, even in the most unworldly, most privileged tolerance refusers, who otherwise only grant people who come from bombed war zones a right to stay, a spark of empathy. At least when children are involved. That's why the European Union came up with something very special: voluntary return. Good for statistics and peaceful sleep. Tolerated persons are formally asked to go to the Immigration Office to have their documents renewed, but the assigned office space on the letterhead has changed. It is loaded for return management. In the furthest chambers of the immigration authorities, those seeking protection are forced to sign their consent to leave the Federal Republic. Completely voluntarily. With slips of paper in hand, they are then stranded with social workers in shelters or integration counseling. Many do not know what they have signed, even though an interpreter provided by the state is present. Specially organized translators or even lawyers are not so welcome. And since the intention of the invitation is not transparent for non-German speakers, support cannot be organized in advance. A pitfall that calculates with fears and helplessness. People report being pressured and threatened. If they refuse to sign, the police will fetch them at night to forcibly deport them. Another trauma they would like to spare their children. People are too tired to resist. Once the signature has happened, there is hardly a way back. However, there are a few reasons that allow suspension: An apprenticeship or job that needs to be found quickly - rivets. Good integration efforts, which can be proven by acquiring the German language - failures or health reasons that prevent a transfer. A glimmer of hope that is clouded by further structural racism. Certificates are rarely issued. What for some just requires picking up a pen, decides on the further life of others. It's about power, about intolerance and stigmatization, about "that's not possible", it's about racism in healthcare. When certificates are issued, they are half-hearted and not meaningful enough. Heavily pregnant women, traumatized children who have finally started to lead a normal life, accepted and supported in German day-care centers and schools, grandparents who leave their families behind and voluntarily return on their own. Who's turn is a Russian roulette. Incomprehensible reasons as to why and when they are asked to leave the country. Maybe because the employees have finally managed to tidy up their files, dust off files or the satisfaction of crossing an item off the to-do list is so great that the decision about livelihoods is not proportionate to it. Some stay, others are not. Worn out nerve cords, tortured by constant uncertainty. Those who are initially spared because their file is too far down are subject to the so-called chain tolerance. Extended identity papers are collected like circles of life in family trees. Tolerances are inherited, many families with a Roma background live in the second or third generation, born and raised in Germany, eke out a life in refugee accommodation for decades because the system has been discriminating against, stigmatizing and marginalizing them for decades. Migration dogmatists say that they should integrate themselves, but it takes more than just strong will and strong motivation to work out an economically independent existence. While most of my generation have been struggling a lifetime to reconcile adulthood with the inner child, and do a little yoga here and some life-changing travel there, the Roma are being asked to sometimes overcome intergenerational trauma as well, to integrate as kindly as possible and to finally acquire collective resilience. Trauma for which our great-grandparents are partly to blame. 

We can never reverse the Roma genocide that claimed the lives of over half a million people, but we have a lifelong obligation that these scars can finally begin to heal. The recognition of the crime against Rom*nja and Sinti*zze is a farce. It was not until 1982 that the genocide of Rom*nja and Sinti*zze was recognized by the federal government, and in 1992 it was suggested that a memorial should finally be dedicated to those executed in the Holocaust. The discussion about the need for one lasted 20 years. A point of contention here, too, is the textual omission of the Z word. 20 years of fighting for a well and a few plaques, the very lowest and most basic form of recognition and admonition. And now maybe a subway line has to be built after all, the monument is in the way. A symbol of the emotion that Roma refugees feel over and over again: Somehow being in the way. Somehow there, but never really recognizing one's own needs. I didn't learn anything about Rom*nja at school, I know little about their ordeal, I don't know any songs or great artists, but I do know the SpiegelTV reports about crime, mountains of rubbish and begging mafias. I am the child of a guest worker from the Balkans and I was naturally born with clichés and stereotypes. Anyone who has parents from the former Yugoslavia knows that at times it was difficult to understand who didn't trust whom and why. But the aversion to Rom*nja was at least a common denominator. I first came into contact with the realities of life of the Rom*nja during my studies and concentrated in my professional context. Outwardly I take after my German mother and lead the life of a blond, blue-eyed woman. I am part of German history. I feel affected by what happened and responsible for what is to come. I also recognize the prejudices of the social workers in my area and the restrictions of the authorities towards Roma families. Tones become sharper, the fronts hardened. We are heading towards a dark abyss. Thought structures become increasingly solid and the cat continues to play with its tail until it eventually bites it off. Will our society lose its balance? I want out of this circle. What helps? Extending tentacles, understanding and networking connections, questioning prejudices and last but not least education, conversations, education and conversations. The suffering that the Rom*nja have shouldered for centuries must be compensated! The right to stay and unrestricted access to education, housing, health, integration of all kinds seems to me to be the lowest form of recognition for the lives we have taken. And the reality in Germany? Narrow-minded humanity lethargy who are not even willing to change their language. 

#noforgivennoforgotten#never again fascism#stopdeportation#humanrights4all#socialjustice4all